Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Refractors Rule!

So, last week I wrote about acetate cards and how they're awesome. This week, I'm going to focus on my other 90's insert fixation... REFRACTORS! The first time I remember pulling a refractor was when I was in my local card shop back in 1994. I was busting a few packs of 1993/94 Topps Finest basketball in search for a Penny, Webber, Mashburn, or even a Vin Baker rookie... when all of a sudden I hit the jackpot... a refractor of Larry Bird. To be honest, I hate the Celtics and almost traded it away for a few more packs of cards... but luckily... another customer talked me into holding on to it. And... to this day... I still have it somewhere in my collection.

Since then, my love for refractors have come and gone. I've gone through stages where I traded them away... and I have even given some away. However, since I've entered back into this hobby... I'm on a mission to pick up some of the sets that I collected back in the 90's.

First up... the 1996/97 Topps Holding Court refractor set. Years ago, I had 6 or 7 (no Jordan or Shaq) of these and was scouring the AOL message boards trying to finish the set. A few years down the road, the set was quickly forgotten and eventually, I either sold or gave the cards away.

Well... last week I came across this set on eBay and I knew that I had to have it. So $47 later... and voila... here it is... in my PC. I know that a lot of people will probably feel that I spent way too much on this set. But I figure... it makes me happy and it'd probably cost a lot more for me to try to build it.

They were found in Series 1 boxes at a rate of 1:108 hobby/retail packs. That means collectors could pull them in 1 out of 3 boxes on average. The odds were a little better in jumbo boxes, falling into packs at a rate of 1 per 72 packs. Translation: 1 in 3 jumbo boxes. There's a total of 15 cards in the set, with Jordan and Shaq being the biggest names. There's also other major names like the Admiral and the Mailman. However, I'm not sure why they included Cedric Ceballos over Sir Charles. Either way, there are a lot more stars and superstars compared to scrubs.

I know that cards during that era were way overproduced, but still... I'm just stoked that I have finally added the first complete refractor set to my PC.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I Love Acetate!

There's something about the 90's inserts craze that I miss. I loved all of it... Finest refractors, Hoops Skyview, and of course those SP Game Film cards. When I think of it, I think I loved all of those acetate cards of the 90's. That's why when I got a hold of this 96/97 Fleer Ultra "Starring Role" insert of Michael Jordan, I was pumped. In fact, I didn't believe it until it was actually in my hands. These insert cards were really hard to pull... they came out at a rate of 1 in every 288 hobby/retail pack and since there were 10 cards in the set that means that the odds of pulling the Jordan was 1 in every 2,880 packs. But, it's not the rarity that makes this card special... I liked it before I found out how tough they were to pull. I liked the fact that it has a great design, a nice picture, and it's made of the greatest material a card can be made of: ACETATE.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Trade of the Century

What's the most lopsided trade in the history of mankind? The Babe for $100,000? Elway for Mark Hermann, Chris Hinton, and Ron Solt? How about 828,800 square miles for $11,250,000? Well earlier today, I pulled off a trade that will be remembered by me for the rest of my life.

Believe it or not, it doesn't involve cards... but it does involve sports. Today, I traded a $15 breakfast, a $4 bottle of water, and a $3.50 soft pretzel for a ticket to the first round of the NCAA tournament. My friend...I'll call her SB (that's her nickname... just in case some of my students are reading this or by some chance our boss is reading this) scored the tickets from her father and offered to take me. I felt bad that I was going to freeload off of their family, so I offered to pay for all of her food. Luckily for me, she's a lightweight. Anyways... it turned out to be an amazing day for basketball.

The first game was 4th seeded Vanderbilt vs. the 13th seeded Murray St. When I first found out we were watching these two teams on Monday, I was pretty bummed. It's not often you hear about Murray St. In fact, I didn't even know they made the tournament. However, by the end of the game... my voice was gone from cheering for the Racers. It wasn't the greatest game in the world (don't get me wrong, it wasn't terrible either... just nothing special except for the fact that a #13 seed was giving the #4 seed a run for their money. Anyways, the game was full of sloppy play... tons of missed free throws... and no crazy dunks or shots... except for the last play of the game. That's the play that made this trade memorable.

With 12 seconds left, Murray St. had a one point lead... until they fouled Jermaine Beal of Vanderbilt, which put him on the line. He quickly nailed both free throws, which surprised us... because both teams stunk at the line.

Murray St. quickly brought the ball across the court and one of the top scorers (B.J. Jenkins) threw up a crazy off balanced 3 point shot (at least that's how I remembered it) with 7 seconds left... and missed. Luckily they grabbed the offensive board and called a time out with 4 seconds remaining.

Before I get to the last shot, you should know who was supporting who. SB was cheering for Vanderbilt, because she chose them in her bracket. I was rooting for the underdog, because I LOVE UNDERDOGS! Well during the time out, we decided to make things a little more interesting. We put tomorrow's lunch on the line.

Now back to the game... with 4 seconds left, Murray St. inbounded the ball and as you've probably heard already... Danero Thomas hit the shot of his lifetime... a fade-away jumpshot that hit nothing but net. Game over... Murray State moves on to play against Butler (who dominated UTEP in the 2nd game - it was close the 1st half, but a slow start for UTEP killed them)

So not only do I get free lunch tomorrow... I also got a ticket to one of the most exciting and memorable games I've ever attended. Thanks SB, you're an awesome friend!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patty Marleau Day

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I hope everyone is enjoying their holiday in a safe and positive way. Yesterday, I received a Patrick Marleau package from eBay. I have several Marleau autographs already, but this is my first "rookie" autograph.

By the way, I'm always looking for Sharks autographs and memorabilia cards. Let me know if you have any you'd like to trade.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Sketch Card Bonus Break

Happy Monday everyone! If you collect cards and you're on YouTube, then you've probably seen a bunch of group breaks. I've joined a couple of them here or there, but I'm starting to think that I'm getting addicted to them. I'm not sure why, since I haven't done well in any of them. Anyways... here are my results from TheBestCardSource's 6 box mixed NBA bonus break from last week.

Before I get into my results (by far the best break I've ever entered)... I want to give a shout out to Matt from TBCS. I like his breaks, because you get these cool sketch cards that he hand draws. In fact, his break are unique in the sense that you're buying a sketch card and not a spot in his break. The spot is a bonus for buying his sketch cards. Essentially, he does it this way to comply with Paypal's rules. In addition to his sketch cards, you receive fair prices and great customer service. So if you're new to YouTube, get on there and check him out.

Here's my very own sketch card:

Now, onto the results of the break. I purchased two sketch cards, so I received two bonus spots. I received the Pistons and the Hornets. The best card I received was a 09 SP Game Used "Four on Four Fabrics card of Chris Paul (& 3 other Hornets) & Tony Parker (& 3 other Spurs). It's numbered 29/65 and comes with a certificate of authenticity card.

I also received a C. Webber/R. Wallace Dual patch card, an A. Afflalo dual jersey card, a Julian Wright jersey/auto, a Tayshawn Prince dual jersey, and two numbered CP3 cards.

All of the cards are for trade... except for the Four on Four Fabrics card... I think I'm going to hold onto this one. I'm not a Spurs or Hornets fan, but I think it's pretty cool.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Thanks Priceless Pursuit & Number 5 Type Collection

Now that I'm actually blogging, I can give proper thanks to two other bloggers. It's a little late, but better late than never.

First off, I wanted to say thank you to Joe over at The Pricessless Pursuit for his donation of Topps Town cards to my classroom. I haven't handed them out yet Joe, but don't worry they will eventually make it into their my students' hands.

The other person I wanted to thank is Mathew over at Number 5 Type Collection. Matt had an awesome Valentine's Day giveaway and hooked me up with a bunch of Japanese MLB players for my PC.

Both of you guys are awesome and your generosity is much appreciated. Have a great weekend everyone.


Friday, March 5, 2010

I love my job (& the Sharks)...

Seventeen years ago, I made one of the most important decisions in my life and I'm happy to say... I have no regrets... not one. The same year that Nolan Ryan, Eric Dickerson, and Michael Jordan all decided to retire from their careers was the same year that I decided on mine.

Growing up, I always knew I wanted to be an computer engineer just like my father. Sure, I wanted to play second base for the A's, but I was realistic. I knew that my education was important so that I could go off to college and follow in my father's footsteps. Then in my last year of community college (Okay... so I was kind of a slacker after high school), I took a early childhood education course for some units and that changed everything. 1993 was the Year of the Rooster, but it was also the year that I decided to go against my parents' wishes and become a teacher.

I won't get into the little details about my job, but I'll just say that there's no job I'd rather do. I wake up 95% (well, sometimes I wish I could just sleep in) of the time looking forward to working with my students and colleagues. Plus... there are all of the perks: good benefits, Summers off, the sense of pride you feel in shaping a tiny part of our country's future, and of course the simple words of appreciation from current and former students.

Although my Mom accepted my career choice immediately, it took my Father almost 5 years to understand the decision I made. However, it was worth the wait. One of my fondest memories was the day my father (who is old school Japanese) apologized to me, then said that he was proud of me, was wrong (I can count on one hand the amount of times I've heard him say he was wrong), and that I made the right decision.

Anyways... if any of my students are reading this... I just want to remind you... choose a career that will:

a. make you smile when you wake up in the morning
b. make you be able to live in your comfort level
c. most of all, make you feel proud of yourself

Enjoy your weekend!

P.S. Thanks M.T. for the Sharks team set. The cards will be hanging up on our classroom wall. Have fun at tomorrow's game!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

My White Whale

The first time I ripped into a pack of 08/09 Topps Signature basketball, I was hooked. I was fortunate enough to pull a Sam Perkins autograph and it went straight into my PC. The next day, I scoured online and decided to go crazy and buy a case of this stuff. In the case, I pulled the following major autographs: Bill Russell, Dwight Howard, Derrick Rose, Elgin Baylor, Dennis Rodman, Jerry West, Dwyane Wade, and a O.J. Mayo. I was completely stoked and decided to go for the autograph set. A few autograph lots on eBay, a few trades on, and a few boxes later and I'm down to one card:

08/09 Topps Signature #TSAJJH J.J. Hickson autograph

If anyone out there has this card, please let me know if you're interested in trading it. It has popped up a few times on eBay, but I always get outbid. Thanks in advance!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Hobby Hero #1 : arfalc77

I was raised by my parents to always say "thank you" and to show appreciation for the things things we receive from others. Today, I plan to do just that. One of the reasons I started my blog was so I could throw down my two cents on some heroes in the "sports card" hobby. There are a ton of people who I plan to recognize, but today I'm going to only focus on one. I'm a man of routines and one of the things I do on a daily basis is check my YouTube subscriptions. Usually, I just skim through the ones that look interesting. Maybe it's a box break, or a mail day. Sometimes it's a rant and other times it's a contest. What I can say for sure is that I don't have enough time in my schedule to watch every video... because if I did, it would probably take a few hours each day (which is time that I don't have).

However, there is one person who never lets me down when I need some entertainment... and that guy is arfalc77 (aka 7's).
The thing that I admire about this guy is his "character". In short, he tries to be a positive role model for others in the hobby. He's honest, generous, and flippin' hilarious. If you get a chance, check out his videos. Here's one of my favorites:

eBay Dude

Anyways... with that being said... 7's you're the man! Thank you for being a positive influence in our hobby.

Now onto my newest Packers PC Pickup (actually my first on this blog):

On Monday, I bought this 2007 NFL Sweet Spot "Pigskin Sigs" autograph of Greg Jennings from the hobby hero mentioned above. I love how the autograph is nicely centered and signed on the fake pigskin. It's definitely my favorite Jennings autograph so far.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Do you remember having "current events" in school?

Some of my fondest memories from elementary school was "show & tell", weekly trips to the library, playing "two hand touch" football, and of course... completing those "current events" assignments. If you're not sure what I'm talking about, then I'll try to fill you in. My 5th grade teacher, Mrs. Miller would have us go home and find a newspaper article. Then, we would have to tell her:

a. who the article was about
b. what they did
c. when they did it
d. where they did it
e. why they did it
f. how they did it

Anyways, I thought that since I grew up to become a teacher... I should assign this assignment to myself to help all of you get to know me. So, here it goes:

Who: My name is Fuji and I'm a short, chunky, Japanese guy who enjoys collecting cards as a hobby.

What: I'm a middle school teacher, who loves his job and wouldn't change it for anything.

When: This is tough, because there's so many things I can answer. Well, I'll start by saying that I was born in the 70's. I started collecting in the 80's and began teaching in the 90's.

Where: I lived my whole life in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Why: Why what? I guess, I'll tell you why I collect cards. I think the main reason I collect cards is because I suffer from OCD. I've always loved sorting and organizing things and sports cards allows me to fulfill this desire. When I'm bored, I take out my cards and sort them. I know... I'm a loser.

How: So, I guess I'll tell you how it all started. I started collecting because a buddy of mine gave me a box of 1979 Topps baseball cards. The first thing I did was start sorting them into teams and then wrapping them up in rubber bands. After that I was hooked.

So there you go... my first blog entry. I'm not even sure if anyone will read this, but if you did, I hope you enjoyed it.

Feel free to contact me if you have any suggestions for this blog, or if you're interested in talking about cards or trading. Have a great day!