30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Saturday, July 31, 2010

PC Spotlight #2: Tony Gwynn Promos

On Thursday, I blogged about how I felt that card companies should start handing out "promo" cards for people to review, instead of boxes that may or may not contain hits paying customers deserve to pull.

So today, I decided to post my Tony Gwynn promo card collection. I'm not positive, but I think Gwynn was a spokesperson for the Pacific Trading Card Company during the late 90's and early 2000's. It was during these years that I worked at a card shop in a local mall, which was located across the street from the school I taught at. After 10 hour days at school, I'd work 4 more hours to get discounts on cards. Those were the days.

I ended up giving away most of the promos away to students as prizes, but a few of them were tossed into a 3500 count box (which I discovered about a year ago). I pulled all of the Gwynns and Michael Jordans and have decided to create a promo card personal collection of these two players.

1998 Pacific Online Web Promo #Sample

1999 Pacific Aurora Promo #Sample

1999 Pacific Paramount Promo #Sample

1999 Pacifc Omega Promo #Sample

2000 Pacific Paramount Promo #Sample

2000 Pacific Crown Collection Promo #Sample

One of these days, I'll get around to posting my Michael Jordan promo card collection. I hope everyone is enjoying their weekend.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

My 2 Cents: Beckett's Topps Tribute Break

A couple of weeks ago, Hockey Card Heaven posted about the "negativity" floating around our hobby. I enjoyed reading his article and agree with him when he says, "I'm in the hobby for fun".

So today I promise not to add any additional "negativity" to the blogworld. Instead, I'm just going to throw down the facts and of course my 2 cents, while trying to be as positive as I can.

Shall we begin?

Yesterday, Beckett posted their box break of 2 boxes of 2010 Topps Tribute Baseball. If you haven't watched it and want to, click here.

One box contained a 1/1 red parallel of Albert Pujols and the other box contained a redemption card for an autographed relic card of Stephen Strasburg.

These results have rekindled the fire against Beckett, who have pulled a number of insane pulls out of their boxes on video box breaks (Sports Card Uncensored posted a longer list last October in his blog if you want to check it out). Here are just a few of the highlights of their pulls:

A. 2007 Exquisite "1/1 Autographed Patch" of Adrian Peterson
B. 2007 Exquisite "1/1 Dual Legendary Cut" autographed card of Walter Payton & Brian Piccolo
C. 2007 Topps Sterling "Cut Signature/Jersey" of Joe Dimaggio

As mentioned earlier, I promise to try to make this as positive as possible. I've been collecting cards for 30 years and will continue collecting until it stops being fun. These crazy box breaks are frustrating to some extent, but I won't let it break me.

I know that the card companies and Beckett will never read my little blog, but I have several friends (like Charles @ Hoopography, G_Moses @ The Basketball Blog, and fellow bloggers over at Sports Card Radio) who I want to share my opinion with.

I think that card companies need to go back to handing out promotion cards, instead of boxes to promote their products. Collectors are spending their hard earned money on boxes in hopes of pulling decent cards. When Topps, Upper Deck, Panini, Razor, Press Pass, and all of the other card companies send boxes to Beckett, different trading card forums, and bloggers it might be in the collector's best interest, since they're usually given away as part of contests or as freebies. In fact, I've been on the receiving end of some of these contests. But after putting some thought into the topic, I'm starting to think this is wrong. Card companies should not be sending out boxes that have even a single "hit" in them for promotional reasons. These hits should be pulled by collectors who are paying for their boxes.

Every time Beckett or anyone else pulls a "hit", whether it's a common autograph or a 1/1 Pujols, it's taken out of the hands of a collector who's spending their hard earned money. And in my eyes, that's wrong.

So who's at fault? Is it Beckett's fault? Is it the card companies' fault? Is it my fault for accepting these cards as prizes in contests? Personally, I think all three have played a part in the drama.

But, the solution is simple. Card companies... quit sending out boxes (loaded or not loaded) to people. Go back to the days of sending out promotional cards to people. Beckett Media has enough money to purchase their own boxes. They don't need free boxes even if all/most of the cards get back into collector's collections. Bloggers and forums who don't have enough money might be out of luck, but at least you'd be preserving the integrity of the hobby.

I know that nothing is "that" simple. However, I think it's a start in the right direction. If any of you have a better idea or can improve on mine, I'd love to hear your feedback.

This hobby is ours and it's suppose to be fun. Thanks for taking the time to read my 2 cents.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Sports Card Bust #20: Shelden Williams

Well it's been a few weeks since my last Sports Card Bust post... and since then one of my "busts" has been signed by a new team via free agency. The Denver Nuggets recently signed Shelden Williams to a one year contract to help back up Kenyon Martin and Chris Anderson, who are both coming back from knee surgeries.

Williams was drafted
5th overall in the 2006 NBA draft by the Atlanta Hawks, ahead of Brandon Roy and Rudy Gay. Since then, he's also played for the Kings, Timberwolves, and the Celtics. It's debatable, but it looks like his best season was his rookie year when he averaged just under 19 minutes per game, 5.5 ppg, and 5.4 rpg.

Some may argue that it's too early to call him a bust, but in my mind he was the 5th pick overall and he hasn't produced very much. Maybe, he'll turn his career around playing under Coach Karl. If not... I'd call him a Sports Card Bust.

Then again... at least this guy is still playing in the NBA. Shawne Williams who was drafted by the Indiana Pacers with the 17th pick in the same draft was recently charged with driving under a suspended license.

Which brings the question... which is the bigger bust? On one hand, Shawne is out of the NBA and Shelden is still playing. But on the flip side, Shawne wasn't a top 5 draft choice and Shelden was. It's these kind of questions that made C+C Music Factory create songs like, "Things That Make You Go Hmmmm".

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Set Showcase #1: 90/91 Fleer Basketball

I recently purchased a bunch of wax boxes off of Craigslist.org. Every single box was from the junk wax era, but I figured I can use some of them for a math lesson, others as classroom incentives, and even a couple for me to bust.

Last week, I taught a fraction and decimal lesson using some packs of 90/91 Fleer basketball. I used up a whole box and had 3 boxes left over.

As the kids were opening up their packs, I was thrown back in time when I noticed some of my students pulling cards fromt the all-star insert set.

Well, I grabbed the remaining 3 boxes and brought them home on Friday. Yesterday morning, I sat down and started ripping into packs. I figured I would need to open at least 2 boxes to complete that all-star insert set. After 45 minutes, I had busted all 3 boxes and began the process of sorting all of the cards.

I ended up with 5 complete sets of the regular base set and 1 set of the all-star insert set, along with a bunch of extras that I'll give out to my students this week.

So... without wasting anymore time. I introduce to you the 90/91 Fleer Basketball set.

Wax Box: 36 packs of 15 cards

Base Set: 196 players + 2 numbered checklists

Hall of Famers: 10.6% of the set (21 players)
Moses Malone
Dominique Wilkins

Larry Bird

Dennis Johnson

Kevin McHale

Robert Parish

Michael Jordan

Scottie Pippen

Adrian Dantley

Alex English

Joe Dumars

Isiah Thomas

Hakeem Olajuwon

Magic Johnson

James Worthy

Patrick Ewing

Charles Barkley

Clyde Drexler

David Robinson

Karl Malone

John Stockton

Rookies: 12.1% of the set (24 players)

Tom Hammonds

Blue Edwards

George McCloud

Vlade Divac

Dana Barros

Clifford Robinson

Sam Mitchell

Todd Lichti

Anthony Bowie

Jeff Grayer

Danny Ferry

Sarunas Marciulionis

Tim Hardaway

Pooh Richardson

B.J. Armstrong

Pervis Ellison

Stacey King

J.R. Reid

Sherman Douglas

Shawn Kemp

Sean Elliott

Mookie Blaylock

Glen Rice

Nick Anderson

Overall, I was actually pleased with set. The card design is simple and plain and the backs offers full career statistics, which cover all of the important categories. Since this product was way overproduced, it doesn't offer much value. My guess is the cost of shipping would match the cost of the actual 198 card set. However for the price of a few bucks, you get base cards of 21 Hall of Famers and rookie cards of Tim Hardaway and Shawn Kemp.

By the way, if you're into busting boxes... you can find these for under $10 and it produces close to 2 sets. You'll also pull 6 to 8 of the all-star inserts, which was the best part of this break and will be featured in a future post.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

I love the 80's (Baseball Edition) #1 - Jack Morris

If you've followed my blog, you know that I grew up in the 80's and a big part of my card collection is focused on this decade. Whether it's vintage Star Wars figures or original Garbage Pail Kids, chances are if it was made during the 80's... I'm into it.

So when it comes to sports cards, it's no different. A huge part of my card collection are autographs of players I loved watching play in the 80's. After reading an article in last month's Baseball Digest, I decided to create a new series of posts dedicated to these players.

First up is Jack Morris. There's no special reason I picked Mr. Morris to begin this series. He's not my favorite player. The Tigers aren't my favorite team. He just happened to be mentioned in the magazine and I just happen to have his autograph, so voila... there you have it.

During the 80's, Jack Morris was one of the greatest starting pitchers. He had 22 more wins during this decade than any other pitcher (He had 162 wins, while Dave Stieb ranks 2nd with 140 wins). In addition to wins, Morris also led all pitchers in innings pitched during the 80's. Last, but not least... he had the 3rd most strikeouts during the decade. Can you guess who the top 2 (strikeout leaders of the 80's) are?

Here are just a few more cool facts about Mr. Morris:

- 5x All-Star
- 1981 The Sporting News Pitcher of the Year
- 2x Babe Ruth Award recipient (best World Series performance)
- 1991 World Series MVP
- has 254 wins (42nd all-time), 2,478 strikeouts (31st all-time), and started 526 times (36th all-time)

As of right now, he's not in the Baseball Hall of Fame. However, maybe one day Mr. Morris will find his way into Cooperstown. Until then, he'll always have a home in my collection.

By the way, if you're looking to add an autograph for your own personal collection... his autographs are really cheap. Beckett has over 15 different autographs under $10 ($5 is the cheapest). eBay also has a bunch of autographs in this price range as well.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Do you want to win a free Lebron James jersey card?

Charles over at Hoopography is having a contest at his blog. If you've never read his stuff, you're missing out. His articles and reviews are some of the most interesting and informative stuff on the net. So head over there now, read his stuff, and enter his contest.

The Prize: 2010 Cour
t Kings "Masterpieces Jersey" card of Lebron James

The Task: Guess the box score for Sunday's Cardinals/Cubs game.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Fuji's Flea Market Finds #2

Where: Capitol Flea Market
What: A bag of cards, a tub of cards, a bag of GPK, & a few Becketts
How Much: $12

I love Gorrilla BBQ! If you live in the Bay Area and you've never had it before, then you need to drive yourself to Pacifica right now! Their BBQ sauce is delicious and for under $23, you get three types of meat, two sides, and a drink.

My friend and I went on Thursday and I chose beef ribs, beef brisket, pulled pork, mac n' cheese, grilled zucchini, and a bottle of water. I was only able to eat about a third of my order, so I took the rest home. Yesterday, I finished off the leftovers and was left feeling like a fat pig.

So this morning, I decided to walk off some of the calories at the local flea market. I'm glad I did, because I walked away with one awesome PC additions, a few pieces of trade bait, and a ton of cards for my students.

Here's the breakdown of my purchases:

1st Purchase: Garbage Pail Kids - 104 cards for $2

I've mentioned before in a previous blog that I love these cards. All of them were pretty beat up, but I just couldn't pass up a brown paper bag filled with Garbage Pail Kids from the 80's.

2nd Purchase: Beckett Magazines - 4 issues for $2

A lady had a stack of early 90's Becketts and wanted 50 cents each, so I picked out these 4:

Jerry Rice/Jeff George (July 1991)
Barry Sanders/Derrick Thomas (August 1991)
Cal Ripken Jr./Bobby Bonilla (May 1991)
George Brett/Kevin Maas (February 1991)

I'm excited about seeing the change in values and trends over the past 20 years. These might not be collectibles, but they'll provide around an hour of toilet reading for me.

3rd Purchase: A Small Bag of Cards - a little over 400 cards for $1

In the bag were the following:

2005 Bowman Chrome Football - 19 rookie cards (1 red refractor & 1 copper refractor)

2006 SPx Football - 7 rookie cards (all #'d to 1299)

Plus there were a bunch of other cards that I'm putting into team bags. I'll give these away to my students this week.

3rd Purchase: A Tub of Cards - a few cards in top loaders, penny sleeves, plastic cases, and of course a bunch that were not protected at all - $7

This is by far the best deal of the day. When I first saw this, I noticed a 86/97 Fleer Michael Cooper card in a semi-rigid. I asked the gentlemen how much he wanted for the card and he said, 50 cents or $10 for the whole tub. I asked if he would take $5 for the tub and he settled for $7.

So here's what I found in the tub:

a. A bunch of commons, semistars, and star cards that I'll be giving away to my students.

b. 1995 Pacific Mariners Set - 50 cards (6 Griffeys & 2nd Year A-Rod)

c. 86/87 Fleer Basketball - 12 cards (Iceman, Bernard King, Michael Cooper,+ 9 Rookies)

d. Random Rookies - 69 rookie cards (including O'neal, Webber, Penny, & Hill)

e. Random Insert/Parallels - 82 cards

f. 2 Vintage Car
ds (1977 Hostess Joe Morgan & 75/76 Topps Rick Barry & Walt Frazier LL)

g. 1 Autographed Card (94/95 Classic Hockey David Sacco)

h. And last, but not least... my favorite card of the lot... A 93/94 Fleer Ultra "Power in the Key" #2 Michael Jordan

I had a blast sitting down for 2 hours sorting the following cards into stacks and putting everything into penny sleeves. Most of the stuff will be given away with the team bags mentioned earlier, but some of the stuff will be added to my tradelist. I was even able to find a few cards that will go into my personal collection (the 86/87 Fleer & the Jordan insert).

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Hobby Hero #3 : Colin Tedards (Sports Card Radio)

My definition of a hobby hero is a person who has a positive impact on the sports card collecting community. Colin Tedards and his brother Ryan produce one of the best sports card podcasts on iTunes, called Sports Card Radio. On the show, Colin discusses hobby news, scouting reports, product reviews, contests, and provides guest interviews.

In addition to this podcast, Colin and Ryan also run a online forum for collectors called, Sports Card Radio Fan Forum. I encourage all collectors to sign up on there if you're interested in meeting other collectors for discussions, trading, group breaks, or if you want an opportunity to win some free cards.

I think that both of these guys are great influences on our hobby, because they spend a lot of their personal time and finances into bringing collectors together. They're both always positive and their generosity is second to none. I've never seen so many free group breaks and card giveaways.

Here are just of few of the highlights from their box breaks:

Card #1: Seattle Mariners Franchise History (Free Topps Series 2 box break - Mariners)

Card #2: Antawn Jamison Panini R&S "Red Parallel" #'d 098/250 (Free box break - Wizards)

Card #3: Luis Durango on card autograph (Free 2010 Chicle break - A's, Padres, & Mariners)

Card #4: Alex Rodriguez Allen & Ginter bat relic #'d 8/25 ($5 box break - 3 team: Yankees, Mariners, & Tigers)

Thanks Colin & Ryan for everything you do for the hobby. You're heroes in my book!

Podcast: Sports Card Radio
Forum: Sports Card Radio Forum
Ryan's Blog: Sports Card Report

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Will Carlos Zambrano ever turn things around?

This morning I read an article on Cubbies Crib about Carlos Zambrano and it reminded me about two cards that I have in my collection.

I purchased these cards in January as a Valentine's Day present for a girl that I had been dating. Before you make fun of me, let me tell you that she's a die-hard Cubs fan and Zambrano was her guy. Long story short... we stopped seeing each other right before V-Day and now these cards are resting in my collection.

So, my question to all of you is... Will Carlos Zambrano ever turn things around?

If you look at his past, he's a three time all-star who consistently won 14 to 18 games a season. He frequently was in the top 10 in each of these categories: innings pitched, win-loss %, ERA, wins, strikeouts, and hits per 9IP.

Then in 2009, he had an off year. He posted a record of 9-7 with a 3.77 ERA, which wasn't terrible, but it wasn't typical of Mr. Zambrano either. In fact, he told the media that he'd quit if things didn't turn around in 2010.

Well unfortunately for Cubs fans, he hasn't turn things around. In fact, things have gotten worse. Three weeks ago, Zambrano and teammate Derek Lee got into a heated confrontation in the dugout. Since then, he's been put on a restricted list and sent to some type of treatment program. Originally, I thought he was suppose to return after the all-star break... but it doesn't look like that's going to happen.

Up until this season, I didn't know much about Zambrano. In fact, I still don't very much except for the negative media exposure. I think it's great that he has passion for the game and it doesn't bother me when a player wears his/her heart on their sleeves (as long as it's in a respectful manner). However anger issues and tantrums are another story.

So... let's get back to his future and my cards. I ask again...

Will Carlos Zambrano ever turn things around?

I'm not sure what I'll do with these autographs. I think eventually, I'll trade them for some A's or Padres autographs. But, for now... I'll just wait to see if he can learn from his mistakes and get back to where he was at a few years ago.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Faithful Fish

The word "faithful" has multiple meanings. On one hand, it means "thorough in the performance of duty". It also can be defined as being "reliable", "trusted", or "loyal".

Derek Fisher fits both definitions to a T. The past few seasons, Derek has been a leader on and off of the court for the Los Angeles Lakers. His work ethic has never been questioned and he one of those players that consistently gives everything he has to his teammates. He's also one of the most "reliable" players on the court. He may not score 20 points, grab 10 rebounds, or even get 10 assists per game. But, when the game is on the line, Fish is about as reliable as it gets. In fact, he's so reliable that he's one of the few players that Kobe has "trusted" to make and take key shots at the end of the game.

Those are all traits that I value in my friends and family, but the one that stands out the most is the word, "loyal". Last week, Lebron and the Heat met with Derek Fisher in Miami. They had plenty to offer. How many point guards would turn down the opportunity to play alongside Prince James, Flash, and CB4 (now CB1?)? Well, Fisher did. So, most people assume he didn't sign with them because they didn't have enough money to offer. That may be the case in Miami. But there's a lot of money floating around the league this summer, but this Fish didn't bite. Instead, he stayed loyal to the team that drafted him in 1996. He stayed loyal to his teammates. And most importantly, he remained loyal to his fans.

Thanks Derek... You're a class act.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

I'm thankful for...

Well it's finally the all-star break and we're more than halfway through the MLB season. At the start of the season, I had little expectations for either of my favorite teams. Both the A's and the Padres lack any significant superstars (yes, they have some minor stars, but no major super stars... if they did, they would have been traded by now). Instead, they rely on their youth and their pitching. So after thinking about it for a few minutes, I've come to realize that I have several things I need to be thankful for.

#1: The Padres are in 1st place and have the 2nd best record in the National League with a 51-37 record.

#2: The A's aren't in last place. Okay, so there not playoff bound and they're nowhere near being great. But, they aren't bad either. In fact, they were in 1st place for a few weeks at the start of the season.

#3: The Padres have one of the best pitching staffs in baseball. They lead the league in ERA & WHIP, are 2nd in shutouts, and are ranked 3rd in strikeouts.

#4: The A's actually have decent teams stats. They're 8th in ERA, 9th in WHIP, and 10th in batting average. By the way, those statistics aren't just for the American League... it's based on all 30 MLB teams.

#5: Adrian Gonzalez is still with the Padres and has earned himself a spot as a reserve on the National League all-star roster. He's leads the Padres in runs, rbi's, and homeruns. Hopefully the Padres continue their hot streak, so they'll hold onto him.

#6: Trevor Cahill is having a sensational sophomore season. He has 9 wins and only 3 losses with a 2.93 ERA. These stats have earned him a spot on this year's all-star roster. Unfortunately he pitched today, which means he's unable to pitch in Tuesday's game. However this actually helped one of his teammates out (see #8).

#7: Both of my team's relief pitchers have been announced as replacements on this year's all-star teams. Heath Bell replaces injured Yovani Gallardo for the National League. Don't fret, he's no charity case. He currently has an 1.88 ERA with 24 saves.

#8: Since Cahill is unable to pitch (see #6), Andrew Bailey will step in for him. Like Cahill, Bailey is having a great sophomore season too. This is his 2nd all-star appearance in his short 2 year career. He has 18 saves and a 1.70 ERA.

So there you have it... halfway through the year and neither of my teams are in last place and both have at representatives on their respective all-star rosters. What about you... how's your team doing?