Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Two Passions: One Collectible

There are few things I've been passionate about longer than collecting baseball cards.  Star Wars is one of those things.

Mama and Papa Fuji took me to the theaters when the movie came out in 1977.  And I immediately joined millions of kids around the world who became obsessed with their trading cards and action figures.

These days... I don't quite have the same passion for Star Wars trading cards and action figures like I did back in the day.  I briefly went through a Funko Pop phase, but that sort of ran its course after a few months.

I did recently pick up a Star Wars action figure that I've been wanting to add to my collection for awhile.  It's of Ello Asty... a Resistance pilot who was shot down during the attack on Starkiller Base in Episode VII: The Force Awakens.

I'm sure most of you have heard by now that director J.J. Abrams is a huge fan of the Beastie Boys and Asty's name pays tribute to their 1998 album, Hello Nasty.

A closer look at Asty's helmet reveals another nod to my favorite hip hop group of all-time:

At first glance, this writing on the Asty's helmet might just seem like mumbo jumbo.

But upon closer inspection, it actually says "born to ill", which refers to the Beastie Boys' first major album: Licensed to Ill.

Simply put... this figure is pure awesomeness.  Not because it's rare and valuable.  I picked it up on Amazon for less than $6 and routinely see these sitting on pegs at my local Target.  It's not because Ello Asty is cool looking.  Let's keep it real... he's no Boba Fett or Darth Maul.

It's because this figure represents two of my favorite things outside of collecting baseball cards:  Star Wars and the Beastie Boys.  Now that's something I never thought I'd see.

What about you...

Are you a fan of Star Wars?  The Beastie Boys?  Both?

What's your favorite Star Wars movie?  Beastie Boys song?

Happy Star Wars Day and sayonara!

Monday, May 2, 2016

O Captain! My Captain!

Another day.  Another sports card project.

The peak of my baseball career was playing for my league's 13 year old all-star team.  The coach had the players choose a team captain during the practice before each game and my buddy Chris always represented us.  Of course it was a personal dream to one day get chosen... but just like getting married to Phoebe Cates... that never happened.

That's okay... because thankfully I can live out that dream by collecting team captains for teams I collect.

2005 UD Origins #UD1

Unfortunately... this project got off to a rocky start.  In baseball, (according to Wikipedia) there is currently only one team who has named a captain... and it's not the Oakland Athletics or San Diego Padres.

2001 UD Decade 1970's GU Jersey/Auto #SJ-SB

But after a little digging, I discovered that Sal Bando captained the A's back in the 70's during their nice championship run.  A quick look at the Oakland Athletics franchise leader list would reveal Captain Sal's name in numerous categories including: games played, offensive and defensive WAR, RBI's, home runs, and base on balls.

2012 Topps Archives Fan Favorites Auto #FFA-CL

Carney Lansford also held the title during his tenure with the team for the better part of the 80's and early 90's.  His leadership helped the Athletics go to three straight World Series... although they only walked away with one title.

2001 Topps Golden Anniversary Auto #GAA-GT

In 1987, Garry Templeton was named the San Diego Padres team captain by his manager, Larry Bowa.  He held that position for four seasons until he was traded to the New York Mets in 1991.  Although he had much better numbers at the plate during his years in St. Louis, Jumpsteady was the everyday starter at short for almost a decade.  His veteran leadership helped jumpstart the Padres when they were down two games to none to the Chicago Cubs back in the 1984 NLCS.

2007 Sweet Spot Classic Signatures #TG

Ironically the greatest player in franchise history earned the nicknames "Captain Video" and "Mr. Padre", yet he was never designated team captain.

Let's turn to hockey, where captains are a little more prevalent.  I have been a diehard San Jose Sharks fan since their inaugural season and during that time only twelve players have worn the "C" on their jersey:

Doug Wilson (91/92 to 92/93)
Bob Errey (93/94 to 94/95)
Jeff Odgers (94/95 to 95/96)

Doug Wilson was the first team captain in Sharks franchise history and is currently the team's general manager.  

Todd Gill (96/97 to 97/98)
Owen Nolan (98/99 to 02/03)

Mike Ricci (03/04)
Vincent Damphousse (03/04)
Alan McCauley (03/04)

After Nolan was traded to the Maple Leafs, the Sharks rotated Ricci, Damphousse, McCauley, and Marleau... until finally the latter was named the permanent captain midway through the season.

Patrick Marleau (03/04 to 08/09)
Rob Blake (09/10)
Joe Thornton (10/11 to 13/14)

2011/12 UD Ultimate Signatures #US-JP

The past few years the San Jose Sharks have been going through some changes.  Veterans like Marleau and Thornton have started to pass the torch to guys like Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture.  This past fall, new Sharks coach Peter DeBoer named Pavelski the twelfth and current captain.  Hopefully Little Joe can finally help them over the hump.

Over on the gridiron... things proved to be a bit more challenging than anticipated.  First... during the regular season... the Green Bay Packers select captains on a game to game basis.  That means that they've had a fair share of captains over the years.  Luckily... back in 2007 they did begin selecting playoff captains.  There have been a total of twenty-four different players chosen (six are selected each year).  Here's who I have so far:

As for the Seahawks... well I couldn't find an actual list that contained the names of every captain.  However I was able to figure out a few of them through some internet research:




Finally... I thought I'd wrap this post up with another famous captain.  Only this guy wasn't known for his athletic talents.

Can you guess who this signature belongs to?

Here's a hint... I grew up watching him on television and the big screen commanding the starship Enterprise.  These days he's a Priceline negotiator.

Well there's my latest project.  I've also started collecting autographs of other MLB team captains which I'll feature in a future post.  Until then...

Happy Monday and sayonara!

Saturday, April 30, 2016

The Joy of Sorting on Your Office Floor

When I was a kid, one of my favorite things to do was pull out my box of baseball cards and sort through them.

My highest priority was to stack them by teams.

That way, I could easily find my favorite players and read their stats on the back.

After a few years... I became obsessed with collecting rookie cards of whoever was considered hot at the time.  This trend lasted throughout most of the 80's.

In the early 90's, I expanded my collecting horizons to other things such as comic cards.  Twenty-something years later... I'm still trying to complete those Marvel Universe sets.

Eventually I grew up and sorting cards became less of a priority.  Paying off my financial debt, focusing on my career, and buying a place replaced collecting sports cards.

Then in 2008, I was fortunate enough to be dating a girl who actually supported and encouraged me to collect cards, so I jumped back into the hobby.  At the time, cards of politicians were gaining popularity... which I thought was totally awesome.

Eight years later... I haven't looked back.

Over the years... I've shifted my collecting interests for the umpteenth time.  And these days... I mostly enjoy targeting a unique oddball, an on-card autograph, or a beautiful looking vintage card for one of my player or team collections.

But that doesn't mean I can't appreciate sitting down on my office floor on a Saturday afternoon... sifting through a few thousand trading cards that were generously sent to me by a fellow collector.

Thank you Woody for helping me take a stroll down memory lane.

Happy Saturday and sayonara!