Sunday, March 26, 2017

Ripping Some Racing Cards

Has there ever been a product from a sport you don't necessarily collect that you've really wanted to get? That's the way it is for me with the 2017 Donruss racing cards. Now, I'm not an avid NASCAR watcher but I do watch a race from time to time, mainly the big ones like Daytona and what not. When Panini announced last year that they were getting into the NASCAR card business, I'll admit, I was a bit curious. I read some reviews of their initial offerings and the cards looked good but it wasn't anything to really draw me in to getting a pack or two. However, when I saw the preview and details for Donruss racing, I'll admit I was intrigued. Then, I saw two breaks over on the Sport Card Collectors blog and that sealed the deal, I had to get some packs for myself, which is what I did on my most recent card shop visit.

Here's the base design. It harkens back to the 1990 Donruss baseball cards with the name titled and written in script. Not only are there Monster Energy Series (aka Sprint Cup Series) drivers in the set, there are also drivers from the Xfinity Series and the Camping World Truck Series.

Here's some of the horizontal base driver cards. This is the only real negative on this set for me and the picture is horizontal but the name and nameplate are vertical. The photos are pretty nice though, especially the Kyle Busch card with the flag in the background.

The nice thing about this is that it's more that just pictures of drivers on cards in the base set. There are cards that show off the particular cards with a split screen type of effect for the standard design and an alternate design. This gives a casual watcher (like me!) an idea of what the car looks like for a particular driver.

There are also cards featuring the pit crews of certain drivers. That's pretty cool if you ask me as it gives the crews some recognition.

As is the case with Donruss, the inserts are plentiful. I'm not sure if these would be considered "cracked ice" or not but regardless, they are really nice, especially the Richard Petty card.

Another one of the insert sets are 84 Donruss throwbacks. Don't believe me that they're throwbacks? Just have a look at Kyle Petty's hair.

Here are the rest of the inserts I pulled. It's nice that Panini did Race Kings cards much like they do Diamond Kings for baseball, Court Kings for basketball, etc. Opening these packs was a nice change of pace and really left me wanting more. It's always nice to crack open some packs of cards of something new and I must say I'm definitely a fan of this product.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Baseball, Racing, and ... Freddy Krueger?

As you saw in my previous post, last weekend I attended the card show at the Nutter Center. However, that wasn't the only card related thing I did. After the show, I headed over to TCI Sports Fan, a card shop I've written about before in my "Card Shop Chronicles" series, that was about 10 minutes down the highway from the venue. I had my mind set on getting some newer packs to rip since I figured it would be my only opportunity to do so for a while but there were some other very specific cards I was looking for as well.

Last year when I went to the Horrorhound Convention, I grabbed a pack of the Topps Fright Flicks cards from 1988. Since then, I haven't seen hide nor hair of those anywhere so I figured if anyone would have them, it would be TCI, since they literally have every sort of sports or non-sports trading card (except for gaming cards) available. I asked at the desk if they had any and Terry, the great guy who runs the shop, winced a bit and said he remembered having some but wasn't sure if he did anymore. He pointed me in the direction of display case that had the bottom filled with 25 cent non-sport boxes. He said if there were any, they would be there. I took a gander and it didn't take long for me to find them. There were a bunch of duplicates but I did manage to grab eight new cards for the set I'm building.

Most of these are from the Nightmare on Elm Street films but there are cards here from other films such as Predator, The Fly, Alien, and Fright Night. I'm not particularly one for gross out creature feature films like The Fly but they are a necessary evil in a set like this. I'm more for the suspense/thriller/slasher type films like Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween, etc. The other attraction for this set is that this is the only set (well, until last year) that had cards from the original Ghostbusters movie. Unfortunately, there weren't any of the Ghostbusters cards from the set to be had in the box I found. Perhaps I'll dig a little deeper next time I stop in. I have a feeling though that those are going to be the toughest part of completing the set.

Fright Flicks cards weren't the only thing I was after though. 

My main reason for heading to the shop was to get some packs of some current stuff to tear into. One of the things I really wanted was some 2017 Donruss racing. Now, I'm not really into watching NASCAR but I saw the Beckett Box Busters video of this and thought it would be pretty fun to get. Plus, it's always good to spice things up with a bit of variety. I'll share how I did with these in a future post.

Also coming in a future post will be these packs of Donruss baseball. Even though Panini doesn't have the MLB license, I still enjoy the Donruss cards as you get a lot of fun stuff for a decent price. As of this writing, I haven't torn into these but stay close. I did pretty well when I bought some Donruss on a whim last year so perhaps my luck with this will continue.

Finally, since they were completely out of Heritage, I picked up four more packs of Series 1. While I've already opened ten packs of this, it never hurts to pick up some more. Plus, I really like the cards this year. I'll share these in a separate post as well. Since I bought so many packs, the shop owner was nice enough to throw in the Fright Flicks cards for free without me having to even ask.

And thus, another fun trip to the card shop concludes. Speaking of card shops though, while I was at the card show, there was a vendor there from a new shop (well, new to me). I plan on checking the place out this weekend and who knows, I might find something fun.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Nutter Center 25th Anniversary Card Show Recap

This past Saturday was the 25th anniversary of the monthly card show at the Nutter Center. Lately, this show has become my show of choice to attend simply because it's easy to get to and it's not overly crowded. A while back, I specifically earmarked this show to attend since it was the 25th anniversary show and I knew the promoter was going to go all out. For this show, he doubled the number of usual tables to 99, gave away some big prizes, and, as always, made sure to personally thank and chat with every person he saw come through the doors.

I've already sorted and organized my purchases so I don't remember what cards came from what table but these came from one of the first tables I visited. Along with a bunch of high dollar inserts and what not (which I wisely strayed away from), this particular dealer had a bunch of cheap vintage cards he said he picked up at an auction recently. A quick thumb through the box yielded these for about 25 cents each. 

These came from the same vintage box that the 75 Topps cards came from, again at 25 cents each. At that price, you really can't pass up names like these on 70s cardboard.

Continuing with the vintage, these were the only two cards I purchased out of a showcase all day, at a cost of $5 for the pair. This is my first card of Billy Williams and maybe only my second or third of Rod Carew in his prime. 

A few more bargain vintage cards. Robin Yount is severely under represented in my collection and an old school Fleer card will fit in nicely. The bottom two cards I just absolutely couldn't pass up. The dark blue card is a 1981 Fleer Star sticker of longtime Mets pitcher Jerry Koosman in a Twins uniform of all things. The other is a wonderful Drake's card of Gary Carter.

The bargain bins were not plentiful but there were still some decent deals to be had. I found a few that were nothing but Reds cards at various tables and also some good deals in a few dime boxes. The top three cards came from the same place the 75 and 77 cards from earlier did, the Foster Drake's card was from a 50 cent bin, and the Duvall and Morgan were dime box finds.

Some more Reds dime box finds. Two new cards for the Bronson Arroyo collection, some mid-90s action with Bret Boone and Jeff Shaw, plus Edwin Encarnacion and Dave Concepcion!

These Kellogg's cards were four of my best finds of the day and they only ran me a quarter each, since they suffered from some severe curling. As soon as I got home, I stuffed them in top loaders and penny sleeves to (hopefully) flatten them out. Curling issues or not, I just couldn't pass these up.

Last year's Diamond Kings cards have already found their way into the dime boxes as well. The Griffey Jr. card was going to cost me $4 last year, eight months later though? Purchased for mere pennies.

I'll wrap up the baseball portion with a bunch of random cards I purchased at various points throughout the show. My favorite of this batch just has to be the card of Metropolitan Stadium. I might have to consider putting together that whole subset from Allen & Ginter.

With the Blue Jackets doing so well this year, the number of vendors selling hockey cards was pretty much crazy. Last time I went to this show, the closest person selling hockey cards was probably in Kalamazoo. This time, every other vendor had something hockey related. These I picked up for a buck each from a guy who kept trying to push Blue Jackets relic cards on me. The top three cards are from the 1973-74 Topps hockey set. I just had to get them because they featured two defunct teams, the North Stars and the Golden Seals. The bottom two cards are 1972-73 Topps cards. While I'm not familiar with the players, they are definitely some fun looking cards.

Some more random hockey cards, including two from the 2015-16 SP Authentic line. All the cards on the top third are UD Canvas cards that were acquired again for a buck each from a 10-year old kid that was there selling cards with his dad.

Two new cards for the Brodeur collection. As soon as I saw that the one on the right was a National Hockey Card Day card from Canada, I knew it must come home with me.

Here's something pretty unique ... a six card set of the 2009-10 Dayton Gems. If you're not familiar with the Dayton Gems, it's quite alright. The Gems were a short lived team that replaced the long running Dayton Bombers. They debuted in the 2009-10 season as part of the original IHL and then played two more seasons in the Central Hockey League (CHL) before folding. In time, I'll go through these players one by one as these are just too unique to just gloss over here.

I don't really collect basketball cards but I couldn't pass these up, especially the Prizm cards, for a dime each. Old school players on current cards is always a winner.

More cards from the dime boxes, this time of the Bengals variety. I tried to focus on players from the 90s but the A.J. Green card was too good to pass up. I think my favorites were the Topps Finest cards of Darnay Scott and Corey Dillon.

Ok, moving on from the dime box cards now. This was my most expensive single card purchase of the day at five bucks. I'm not a soccer card collector at all and don't follow it but this is a big, yellow swatch and I just couldn't resist.

Now for my best finds of the day. First was this Martin Brodeur Starting Lineup figure for just a buck. That's right, this only cost me one whole dollar for a figure of one of my favorite players ever.

At one table, there was a box full of packs listed at two for a dollar. Did I comb through that box numerous times? You bet I did! There was all kinds of random baseball packs, mainly from the late 80s to the early 90s but I found some gems ... just look at this pile! There's a rack pack of 1989 Topps, a jumbo pack of 1983 Topps, a jumbo pack and a wax pack of 1986 Topps, a pack of 1986 Donruss, plus some random stuff from the mid 90s and 2000s. I plan on opening these one by one and sharing the contents of each on the blog.

Finally, my best finds of the day ... two WHA media guides for $5 each, which I managed to talk down from the asking price of $8 each. I haven't really had the time to dive deep into these but just flipping through them on the surface, there's all kinds of team rosters, stats, and lots more. There are two interesting tidbits on these you can see just by looking at the covers. First, one the 1977-78 guide, WHA MVP Robbie Ftorek wearing a Cincinnati Stingers uniform. Second, is the 1978-79 guide by itself. That season was the final season for the WHA as they merged with the NHL after that season.

While most dealers had lots of cool stuff, most of it out of my price range, I still think I managed to find some pretty good deals. Most of the cards I was able to get for less than a buck each and my biggest purchases were the media guides. After the show, I stopped by the card shop ten minutes from the show venue but that's another story for another day.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Forgotten Players of Pigskin Past

At one time or another, everyone has to do a card purge. That's what Colbey of Cardboard Connections is currently doing and he's offering up some quality pigskin cardboard currently to be claimed, no strings attached. While I'm not really a football collector and I'm trying to pare down my football collection, I couldn't resist some old school vintage cards. I laid claim to this lot and a few days later they landed in my mailbox. I've never heard of any of these guys so let's so through them one by one and see how their careers went down.

Bob Baumhower played his entire career for the Dolphins and was a 5-time pro-bowler and was a first team All-Pro in 1983. This is a 1978 Topps card and I really like the design with the team name down the side and the player name up top. Baumhower looks a bit disgusted or annoyed in the photo, not sure which, but perhaps he needs to go have a beer with Hank Hill and his buddies (and that's my obligatory Boomhower joke).

David Logan was a nose tackle for 9 years from 1979 to 1987 mostly with the Buccaneers and one season with the Packers. He was a three-time first team All-Pro and had 137 career fumble return yards. While I don't really consider 1987 Topps vintage, it's still a nice simple design. It's interesting that Topps didn't use the 87 baseball design for this, that would have been a really neat set.

Here's a 1973 Topps card featuring Mel Tom, who played 10 years for both the Eagles and the Bears. That's about all that can be said.

1975 is one of the more fun designs of 70s football with the color banner for the team name and the helmet featuring their position. Mike Tilleman was in the midst of his third season with the Falcons here, having joined them in 1973. He also played for the Vikings, Saints, and Oilers during a 10-year career.

1974 Wonder Bread
Paul Warfield is smiling. Heck, if I was featured on a Wonder Bread card, I'd be smiling too! At first I though this was any other standard run of the mill card from the 1970s but when I flipped it over, nope! It's from the 1974 Wonder Bread All-Star series! 1974 was Warfield's last season with the Dolphins, having accumulated 27 receptions for 536 receiving yards. He was also a member of the Pro Bowl that season (having also done so seven other times). All totaled, he played 13 years for both the Browns and the Dolphins.

By the way, here's the back of the card which I just couldn't resist showing off. I like the picture and instruction on showing the proper way on how to catch a pass. Also, note that the card number is in a slice of bread. How cool.

Anyway, thanks to Colbey for offering up these cards. I've definitely learned some new things about some otherwise forgotten players.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Mail Call!

A sure sign that spring has either sprung or is imminent is the fact that I start sending out mail again. Also, the first big card show of the spring is today too! By the time you read this, I'll already be sorting through cards at the show but before that, I stopped at the post office. If you see your zip code on the list below, expect something from me within the coming days ...


Thursday, March 16, 2017

Rediscovering My Heritage

I just noticed I haven't posted anything for nearly a week. There's a perfectly reasonable excuse for that however. Last weekend from Saturday through Tuesday, the family and I were on vacation in North Carolina visiting the in-laws (my wife's mom, dad, brothers, and sister). We left our house early on Saturday morning about 2:30 and made it there about noon, only stopping for gas and restroom breaks.

The first night we were there, we headed to Walmart to get some supplies for making a massive bolognese style lasagna the next day and a few other things. While we were there, I had a feeling it would be my only opportunity on the trip to get cards. I took a gander at the card aisle for Heritage and found there was only one hanger box and one jumbo pack left on the shelf. Naturally, I had to get them. 

A few days later, Tuesday to be exact, we left early in the morning again about 4:30 and headed home, just clipping the edge of the winter mega-storm that reeked havoc in the Northeast as we drove through the Virginia foothills and the West Virginia mountains. We got home about 3:00. The next day, I couldn't resist and cracked into them. I started with the hanger box.

First though, I want to talk about the design of each package. The hanger box has some really fun artwork on it with the green and the brown background and the design really grabs you. However, the the jumbo pack seems kind of bland with the generic pitcher and just the word "baseball" really big on it. So, definitely points go to the hanger box with the design element. Anyway, let's crack this open.

The first card of Heritage this year is Anthony Rendon of the Washington Nationals. My first impression is that these are really nice. Yes, as is standard with Heritage, there are lot of posed shots but I'm ok with that. The other thing is that these are based on the 1968 design, which I like a lot.

Look at that! I got a Dansby Swanson rookie card! Mind you, it's just the base card, not the variation but still, it's Dansby Swanson.

A couple other nice horizontal cards. I was really pulling for Cleveland last year but I happy for the Cubs. Maybe this year the Tribe can get back to the Series and win it all. Anyway, the World Series card is really cool because it's black and white and definitely has an old school, 60s feel to it. 

The thing I like about Heritage is that it provides lots of things to look for besides just hits and inserts. Case in point, this Jameson Taillon card. While it may look like just any unassuming card from the front, on the back it's a high numbered short print. It was the only short print or variation type card I received in either the hanger box or jumbo pack.

Here's the lone insert that came in the hanger box, a Kris Bryant New Age Performers insert. I like the orange, kind of funky background on it.

That's the highlights of the hanger box, time to move on to the jumbo pack.

This is a 1968 game style insert with Almedys Diaz. The one issue I have with these is that it's hard to read the players name with just the autograph on it. Other that that, it was nice surprise to pull this out.

I had a bit more luck pulling Reds out of the jumbo pack than I did the hanger box. Even though all the experts are picking the Reds to be dead last this year, I'm trying to stay positive and hope they won't be all that bad, especially with young stars like Jose Peraza ready to play every day and breathe new life to the team. The pitching will still be a bit suspect I think, but the bullpen definitely has improved. 

A few more cards, including another Indians card (if you include the World Series card) and another All-Star card.

Overall, I'm very pleased with Heritage this year and I'm planning on picking up on some more packs at the card shop eventually, perhaps even this weekend as I'll be going there after the big Nutter Center card show. I'm trying to lay off buying retail packs but this was an exception since I couldn't make it to the local shop in North Carolina and was a nice sampling of a fun product.