Happy Sunday! Are you ready for some sports card posts?
I am fully aware that I haven't been very active in the blogosphere lately. In fact, this year saw a significant drop in the number of posts I published on this blog. But I'm hoping to bounce back in 2024. Cold starts have never worked for me, so if I have any hopes of getting back into a regular blogging routine, I'd better start now.
With blogger care packages, flea market finds, and even a few card show purchases piling up in my office... I was wondering where the heck I should begin. Then Ryan texted me over the weekend about Godzilla Minus One, which is the latest movie in the franchise. Not sure if I've ever seen any of the Godzilla movies in the theaters, but I'm hoping to change that this holiday season.
2006 Topps Topps Stars #TS-HM
His text reminded me of a stack of cards sitting on my desk with this Godzilla right on top. It was part of a care package that Dennis over at Too Many Verlanders sent me last December. Nope. That's not a typo. One year ago.
Since then he's sent me two additional packages and today... in honor of Godzilla being out in theaters (and the Ohtani signing yesterday with the Dodgers)... I'm going to show off the Japanese baseball players (and a few other items) he sent my way.
2021 Topps A&G #23
Dennis has a way of picking cards for my collection. My Ichiro cards are sorted by year in a binder and this is the first and only 2021 card in it.
He also sent me these three hits I didn't have:
2021 Chrome Update Autographs #CUSA-KA
Arihara only spent a couple of seasons over here and wasn't exactly a household name.
2010 Topps National Chicle Relics #NCR-KF
On the other hand, I feel like the majority of baseball fans around in the late 2000's remember Fukudome. He had one heck of a MLB debut and his first month in the Bigs was stellar. There was even a controversial t-shirt he was depicted on that made national news.
2018 Topps Player's Weekend Patch #PWP-MA
Tanaka was a two-time all-star and spent his entire seven season MLB career with the New York Yankees, so he should be a household name among baseball fans. Anyone else remember him going 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA in 2013 for the Rakuten Golden Eagles?
I'll round out the huge lot of Japanese baseball players with these two Hideo Nomo cards:
1995 Flair Wave of the Future #10
Nomo opened the door for guys like Matsui, Ichiro, Tanaka, and Ohtani and is still the MLB career leader in wins among Japanese born pitchers. And up until August, he was the career leader in strikeouts. Yu Darvish passed him up and ironically... Nomo (who works for the Padres) was at the game.
Anyways... getting back the card... at the height of Nomomania, this card was probably selling for $20 to $30. Probably more in LA.
1996 Topps BIG Topps #NNO
What you're looking at is a really cool insert from the 90's. C'mon... you know I like oversized cards. These postcard sized cards were inserted (like box toppers) into specially marked team sets that were sold at Walmart. I had never owned one of these until Dennis sent me this one.
In an effort to tie in some other items he sent me, here are some new Jake Cronenworth cards for my San Diego Padres PC:
One shiny card really stood out from the bunch:
2022 Topps Chrome Future Stars #FS-9
Those of you who are familiar with Dennis... know that he's a huge Michigan Wolverines fan/collector. Cronenworth was born and raised in Michigan and played three seasons with the Wolverines before entering the MLB Draft.
I'm super excited for Dennis as his #1 ranked Wolverines are headed to Southern California to play #4 Alabama in the CFP semifinals. I will totally be rooting for them as well as the Washington Huskies in the other CFP semifinal game.
I'll also be pulling for San Jose State University as they're bowl bound too. They play Coastal Carolina in the 2023 Hawaii Bowl on December 23rd. Let's go Spartans!
Here are a pair of Tyler Ervin autographs that Dennis added to my SJSU PC:
2016 Panini Classics Significant Signatures #233
2016 Panini Prime Signatures #212
Ervin was an absolute stud for the Spartans his senior year when he rushed for over 1,600 yards and 13 touchdowns. Although his NFL career was less than stellar, he did end up playing five seasons with three teams.
David Fales was another Spartan who shined in San Jose:
2014 SP Authentic Canvas Collection #C-30
He was a teammate of Ervin at SJSU from 2012 to 2013 and finished with over 8,000 passing yards during his two seasons there before entering the 2014 NFL Draft.
The Chicago Bears selected him in the 6th Round and his facial expression pretty much sums up his NFL career.
Dennis sent me a bunch of other things, but I'm already over three hours into this post and I'm guessing most of you have already checked out. But for those of you who stuck around, in honor of the Los Angeles Lakers becoming the first NBA In-Season Tournament Champions, here's one more Michigan native Dennis sent me:
Magic attended college in Michigan... but wasn't a Wolverine. He was a Michigan State Spartan. I've got no love for them... or the baseball team he has an ownership stake in. However I will casually root for the Lakers and of course Shohei Ohtani.
Well that's it for now. I'm going to try to write at least one post a week until the holidays... then fingers crossed... get back into the two to three posts per week routine in 2024.
By the way... thank you to those who left thoughtful comments on my Papa Fuji and buddy Mike posts. They lifted my spirits during that rough patch and were much appreciated. I'm very fortunate to be a part of this card blogging community.
Happy Sunday and sayonara!