30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Monday, May 31, 2010

Wanted: 2002 Fleer Fall Classic HOF Plaque Inserts

Does anyone have any of these laying around? I'm looking to build the 2002 Fleer Fall Classic "HOF Plaque" insert set. It's made up of 30 HOFers and are serial numbered between 1936 and 2002, depending on their induction year.

The first time I saw this set was around a month ago, while searching for deals on checkoutmycards.com. I thought they were cool looking and picked up 1/3 of the set for about $14. I just grabbed another 2 off of there, so that leaves me with 18 to go. I still need the following cards:

#1 Babe Ruth
#2 Christy Mathewson

#6 Cy Young
#7 Tris Speaker

#8 Eddie Collins
#16 Luis Aparicio
#17 Pee Wee Reese
#18 Willie McCovey

#19 Willie Stargell
#21 Joe Morgan

#22 Jim Palmer
#23 Tom Seaver
#25 Steve Carlton
#26 George Brett
#27 Nolan Ryan
#28 Robin Yount

#29 Kirby Puckett
#30 Ozzie Smith

If you have any of these, send me an email or leave a comment with what you're looking for (or how much you want to sell them for).

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Hidden Treasures #1: Roy Halladay

Last night, I saw the news about Roy Halladay's perfect game and didn't flinch. I was too into the Laker's playoff game to appreciate his work of art. Then this morning, I watched this YouTube video:

After seeing this, I was amazed. I remember Dallas Braden's perfect game a few weeks ago and I was excited. I've always known that a perfect game was rare and something special, but after watching him set down those 27 batters in a row... I was speechless. In fact, I had to watch it twice. After the second time, I searched the internet to see how much his autograph was going for. I figured that people were probably raising their prices, but if the price was right, I'd buy one. Then I came across his 1995 Signature Rookies Tetrad autograph and thought to myself, I've seen this card before.

I ran over to my autograph binder, which contains about 35 common autographs from the 90's. It's full of older BAP autos, Classic autos, and of course a few Signature Rookies cards that I've never added to my trade bait bin. Thank goodness for that, because low and behold tucked away in a 9 pocket page was this beauty:

I quickly slid it out... placed it in a penny sleeve, then slid the penny sleeve into a top loader... then put the top loader into a team bag... and last but not least... put the entire package into my personal collection. This was truly a hidden treasure and the PERFECT addition to my PC. Now, if I could only get my hands on one of Dallas Braden's autographs... maybe I'll start a Perfect Game PC.

I hope everyone is having a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day Weekend.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Stan Musial & The Facts of Life

I learned a lot from the boob tube as I was growing up during the 70's and 80's. Alex P. Keaton taught me the difference between Republicans and Democrats. Kevin and Winnie proved to me that fairy tale endings don't always happen. Macgyver showed the world how to save yourself with a gum wrapper, but more importantly he showed me that mullets are cool.

And last, but not least... Blair, Jo, Natalie, Tootie, and Mrs. Garrett told me "you take the good, you take the bad, you take them both, and there you have... the facts of life".

So today, I'm going to demonstrate how The Facts of Life affected the way I collect cards.

First, let's start with the good: A few years ago, I bought a pack of 1998 Donruss Signature and was fortunate enough to pull an autograph of one of the greatest pure hitters of all time. Mr. Stan Musial. I was so excited... for about two, maybe three seconds.

Next, let's take the bad: As I was telling my buddy (who worked at the card shop & picked the pack for me) what I pulled, I noticed that the bottom edge of the card had been embossed by Donruss. Now, I'm not talking about the special stamp that Proline put on their autos in the early 90's. Not the ones that Pacific used to use for their limited cards handed out at shows. Nope, this is quite possibly a rare, 1 of 1 job done by Donruss in their factory. Go ahead... see for yourself:

If you look very closely at the bottom of the card, you can see that the whole bottom edge is crimped. When Donruss sealed the pack, this card slid down and was caught between the wrapper and the machine that is used to seal these wrappers. Ironically, it was the only card that was damaged in the pack. All of the other cards alluded the dreadful sealing machine.

The scans don't do the card justice. It's kind of hard to see in the pictures, but it actually goes to the bottom edge of his name. The damage is obvious when you hold the card.

Well, finally... you take them both and there you have the facts of life. The facts are:

a. I pulled an autographed card of one of the greatest hitters of all-time.
b. The autographed card was damaged when I pulled it.
c. It's now the centerpiece of my Damaged Card PC.

I've written about it before on Sportscardforum in one of the threads, but just in case you missed it. I have a small, yet unique PC that I've been building. All of these cards are in one way or another damaged. There are creased cards, dinged cards, crimped cards, scratched cards, chipped cards, and even a few that were just mishandled by owners. I've obtained these from a variety of sources. Some were acquired from packs, others in trades, some in purchases (Beckett Marketplace, eBay, YouTube mystery packs, etc.), and a few were actually given to me. Unfortunately, I'm not looking to trade for anymore DAMAGED cards at the present time. If you're interested in seeing some of the major cards in this PC, click here.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Sports Card Bust #8: Rick Mirer

Two for the price of one. Last month, I picked up a Rick Mirer card for my Seahawks PC and quickly posted it HERE. Then yesterday morning a member on SCF posted a few suggestions to my sports bust thread and low and behold, Mr. Mirer's name popped up. I'm not sure why his name never occurred to me. It's probably because he played on one of my favorite teams and I was in denial. Well there's no hiding from the facts. Rick Mirer is definitely a sports card bust.

He was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks in the first round with the number two pick in the draft. Drew Bledsoe was the first overall pick and he went on to play in four Pro Bowls. In fact there were three other Pro Bowl quarterbacks chosen after Mr. Mirer: Mark Brunell (5th round), Elvis Grbac (8th round), and Trent Green (8th round). Other notable players chosen after Rick Mirer were Michael Strahan, John Lynch, and Jerome Bettis.

But let's get on with the show. Mr. Mirer played for five different teams during his 8 year tenure in the NFL. During those 8 years, he racked up the following stats:

Career QB Rating: 63.5
Career Passing TD's: 50
Career Interceptions: 76
Career Record (Starter): 24 wins - 44 losses

These stats will never earn him a spot in Canton, however Mr. Mirer has earned himself two different spots in my collection. The first spot is in my Seahawks PC and now thanks to jnuh (of SCF), he's part of my sports bust PC.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sports Card Bust #7: Curtis Enis

My newest Sports Card Bust PC addition has actually been sitting in my "trade bait" box for over 10 years. Luckily, nobody ever snatched this beauty from me. It's a 1998 Skybox Thunder "Chicago Convention Autograph" #NNO Curtis Enis.

If you're a Penn State fan, then you know who Curtis Enis is. If you're a Bears fan, then unfortunately you also probably know who Curtis Enis is.

Joe Paterno rewarded Curtis Enis with his first start against USC during his sophomore year. Curtis Enis rewarded Joe Paterno with 27 carries for 241 yards and three touchdowns in a 24-7 victory over the Trojans. Mr. Enis went on to rush for over 3,000 yards and 36 touchdowns in three seasons as a Nittany Lion. According to SI's War Room report, he had a body of a linebacker and the moves of a much smaller back. He was considered the most complete "big back" in the draft and was a lock as a top 10 pick.

So it wasn't too big of a surprise when the Chicago Bears drafted him with the #5 pick in the 1998 NFL draft. What is a surprise is that Mr. Enis only lasted three seasons in the NFL. Here are the stats I found for Curtis Enis on pro-football-reference.com:

Rushing Yards: 1,497 (his best year was in 1999, when he rushed for 916 yards)
YPC: 3.3 yards per carry
Touchdowns: 6 (4 rushing/2 receiving)

This wouldn't be too bad if they were from one season. Unfortunately, these are his NFL career totals. He played in a total of 36 games, 18 of which he was the starter.

According to a blog I read (written in 2009), he is currently a deputy with the Miami County Sheriff's Office in Ohio.

FYI - Here's a list of notable NFL players that Curtis Enis was drafted ahead of:
Alan Faneca (9 Pro Bowls)
Randy Moss (7 Pro Bowls)
Fred Taylor (11,540 career rushing yards & 66 rushing touchdowns)
Hines Ward (895 career receptions & 78 receiving touchdowns)

By the way, if you're looking to trade away some of your autographs of sports card busts, please email me at: sanjosefuji@yahoo.com

You can find my current wantlist here: Sports Card Bust Wantlist

Saturday, May 22, 2010

PC Addition - Ozzie Smith Autographed Baseball

At the end of April, Steiner Sports offered 3 autographed baseballs for $99. I chose two Ozzie Smith autographed baseballs and a Bob Feller autographed baseball. When all was said and done, I paid just under $110 and had them delivered to my doorstep. Steiner Sports even threw in three really nice wood/glass ball holders that they sell on their site for $24.99 a piece.

It's not my first autographed baseball (I had a baseball signed by former San Jose Sharks winger, Owen Nolan... but that's another story), but it is my first baseball signed by a baseball player. And I'm glad to say he's one of my favorite players of all-time.
The first time I saw him do his famous flip, I was hooked and a fan for life.

In his 19 year career he...

- was an all-star 15 times- won the gold glove 13 times in a row (from 1980 to 1992)

- collected 2,460 bases

- stole 580 bases

- won the 1985 NLCS MVP award

- played 2,511 games at SS (3rd all-time behind Omar Vizquel & Luis Aparicio)

- earned a spot at Cooperstown in 2002 (collected an amazing 91.7% of the HOF ballots)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

To Bust or Not To Bust...

Some of my favorite autographs are from the Topps Retired series, which were produced in 2003, 2004, and 2005. All of them have on-card autographs and were encapsulated in holders with a Topps seal. Recently, I picked up a three of these autographs off of Beckett. The first one is a Dave Stieb autograph from the 2004 set. Next is another 2004 autograph of Wally Joyner. And last, but not least is a Joe Rudi autograph from the 2003 set. Since, I purchased these off of Beckett, I wasn't able to see what the cards looked like beforehand. And unfortunately, both of the 2004 autographs had scratched holders. Luckily, the Joe Rudi case was in decent (not perfect, but acceptable) condition. So that brings me to my first question. Would you bust these cards out of their holders if the holders are scratched?

I personally debated the issue for about 30 seconds, before I popped the Stieb and Joyner out of their scratched cases. Here's what went through my little brain:

Pros of busting:

1. They're part of my PC, so I want to be able to appreciate the autographs without looking at scratches.

Cons of busting:

1. They'
re no longer in their original holders.

2. If I decide to ever part ways with these, people may not want them since they're not in their original holders.

Well... that's it. Those were my arguments and so I decided to bust, but now I'm wondering if I made a mistake.

What would you have done? Does anyone have any other arguments either for or against busting these out of their holders?

By the way, I kept the Rudi in the original holder, since it was in decent condition. But I'll be honest, there's a part of me that wants to set him free too.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Sports Card Bust #6: Mike Williams

Some of you might be asking yourselves, what exactly is a sports card bust? This is something I had to determine before I started dropping money on this different type of PC. So far I've come up with two criteria.

The first thing I decided was that it had to be someone who was drafted with one of the top 5 picks in the first round. This would settle any debate on whether or not people had high expectations for the player, because anyone chosen that early is expected to perform. Plus, it would save me money in the long run, since there are a lot of #6 thru 20 something picks floating around out there. Multiply that by 4 since I'm focusing on the 4 major sports (baseball, football, basketball, and hockey) and there's lot of opportunities for busts to pop up each year. I'm not trying to chase down every athlete who has a sub par career, just the top 5 from each draft.

The next criteria for my collection would be purchase price. I cannot and will not allow myself to spend more than $10 on any sports card bust, and that includes shipping.

With that being said, after starting this project less than 30 days ago, I'm already breaking one of my rules. Allow me to introduce the most popular name in football history (actually, I'm not sure if this is true... but there have been 8 different players with this name to put on an NFL uniform): Mr. Mike Williams. I'm not talking about the offensive lineman from Texas, nor am I talking about the wide receiver out of Northeastern. Nope, the one I'm talking about is Mike Williams, the wide receiver out of USC.

Mr. Mike Williams from the University of Southern California is a wide receiver who was recently signed by the Seattle Seahawks. He was originally drafted with the 10th pick in the 2005 draft by the Detroit Lions. There he played two seasons, starting a total of 6 games. He caught 37 passes, two of which were touchdowns, but unfortunately had difficulty holding onto the ball. He was traded to Oakland before his third season, but was released after dropping a ball that would have given the Raiders a 1st down in red zone.

So, did you catch me breaking my own rule? Well, if you pointed out that Mr. Williams is not a top 5 draft pick, then you've earned yourself a big pat on the back. I decided to break my own rule for two reasons. First, Mr. Williams is legitimately a sports card bust. I remember people chasing his cards back in 2005, now they're sitting in common bins. The second reason is this card was generously donated to me by a member of Sports Card Forum (username: danielsweeney). There was no way I could pass up this opportunity of a lifetime.

So thank you danielsweeney for pointing out Mr. Mike Williams and for generously adding to my sports card bust PC. And thank you to everyone who's been commenting on my SCF thread and/or my blog. Your ideas are awesome and I'm in the process of tracking down more cards for this PC.

By the way, if you have any additional criteria you think I should consider... please leave some feedback.

Have a great week!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Deja Vu

On May 4th, a rare occurrence took place on our planet. It was if all of the stars were aligned ever so perfectly, which allowed 4 of my favorite teams to win on the same day. Well less than a week later, it's happened again.

Today on Saturday, May 8th 2010 the following events took place and made me one happy camper:

The Padres beat the Astros, 2 to 1.
The A's beat the Rays, 4 to 2.
The Lakers beat the Jazz, 111 to 110.
The Sharks beat the Wings 2 to 1.

Good night everyone!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Sports Card Bust #5: Akili Smith

First Tim Couch... now Akili Smith? Yep... 1999 was the year of the quarterback in the NFL draft. An amazing five QB's (#1 Couch, #2 McNabb, #3 Smith, #11 Culpepper, and #12 McNown) were taken within the first twelve picks. You're probably thinking that 1999 was a terrible draft year, but in fact out of those first twelve picks, eight have played in at least one Pro Bowl. Unfortunately, three of the four that haven't are QB's. I assume you've figured out the three, but just in case you haven't: it's my original sports card bust (Mr. Couch), my newest sports card bust (Mr. Smith), and possibly a future sports card bust pc addition, Cade McNown. Actually, McNown doesn't fit into my PC criteria since he's not a top 5 draft pick.

Well, back to Mr. Smith. Did you know that Akili Smith actually played baseball in the Pittsburgh Pirates farm system for three seasons? He eventually quit and focused on football. Akili was a junior college transfer student who football stud his senior year at the University of Oregon. As a Duck, he quacked his way to 3,763 passing yards, a 58% completion rate, and 32 touchdown throws in 1998. Although most considered Couch the top pick, there were some (ex. NY Times) who felt Akili could be the top QB. In the end, both are considered busts in my book. Akili started a total of 17 games in his four year career in the NFL. He threw 5 touchdowns, 13 interceptions, and was sacked 59 times. He threw for a total of 2,212 yards and has a career passer rating of 52.8.

It crazy to think that the Saints offered the Bengals nine draft picks for that #3 pick, but the Bengals passed on the offer. Unfortunately for the Saints, the Redskins didn't. However, that's another story.

Mr. Smith went on to play in the CFL, but only lasted one season. Recently, he was hired by UC Berkeley as an administrative assistant on their coaching staff.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Thank You Chase Headley!

It's 11:45pm and I'm getting ready to climb into bed. But before I do, I want to thank a few athletes tonight for making this day special.

First, I'd like to thank Patrick Marleau. Mr. Marleau scored the game winning goal in overtime help the San Jose Sharks build a 3-0 lead against the much despised Detroit Red Wings. I know it's no guarantee, but the Sharks are one step closer to reaching the Stanley Cup Finals.

Second, I'd like to thank Ryan Sweeney. Mr. Sweeney had 5 RBI's in the Oakland A's 7 to 6 win over the Texas Rangers. Unfortunately, I don't have an autograph of Mr. Sweeney in my PC. I guess I'll have to do something about that.

Next, I'd like to thank Andrew Bynum. Mr. Bynum dominated the paint against the Utah Jazz and helped the Los Angeles Lakers go up 2-0 in the series. He ended up with 17 points, 14 rebounds, and 4 blocked shots. The Lakers as a team blocked 13 shots against the Jazz.

Last, but not least I must give thanks to Chase Headley. Mr. Headley batted 2 for 5, but more importantly he had the game winning RBI to help the San Diego Padres beat the Colorado Rockies 3 to 2.

So, why is this night so special? Well, it's the first time in a long time that all of my favorite teams have won on the same day. The Lakers aren't a big surprise and the Sharks aren't major underdogs. However, to combine both of those wins with an A's win and a Padres win is well simply put: RARE.

So excuse me, while I drift off to sleep and dream about the Sharks winning the Cup; the Lakers repeating as champions; and the A's battling the Padres in the 2010 World Series.

Good night!

Hobby Hero #2 : Don West

Every once in awhile, the overwhelming stress of life gets me down (I'm exaggerating a little for dramatic affect). When it does, there's one person who can make things all better. No, it's not Mama Fuji. It's not even my best friend. My students? Yeah right. Nope, it's Mr. Don West.

Anyone who collected cards in the 90's and stayed up late to watch Shot at Home knows who I'm talking about. This guy is a hobby legend and one of the funniest entertainers on the planet. If you've never seen him and want a good laugh, check out this site that's dedicated to him: http://donwest.org You can also check out vintage Shop at Home clips on Youtube.

Now, he's not only on the internet... he's also in my PC:

Now all I need is an auto of the one and only... Mr. Ken Goldin:
owner of Scoreboard Inc. & Don West's partner in crime.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Sports Card Bust #4: Steve Emtman

In 1992, the Indianapolis Colts had the 1st pick in the draft. And with that pick, they chose University of Washington's Steve Emtman. If you look back at Emtman's college stats they aren't stellar and people who never watched him play would look at them and say they were good, but not great. Well, if you saw him play, you know better. Emtman was a beast. Teams never ran at him and always double teamed him. He was the most dominant defensive player on one of the most dominant defensive teams. Many people, including myself (and the Colts) figured this would transfer straight into the NFL.

Unfortunately, injuries to both of his knees limited his career to only 19 starts. He finished his 6 year career with 8 sacks, 121 tackles, 1 interception (which he returned for a 90 yard TD), and 3 forced fumbles. Ultimately, he's regarded as one of the biggest busts in the history of the NFL. He may never have been a
Beast in the NFL, but I still remember the good ole' days when he was a Huskie.