30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Feel Good Football

After last night's game between the Packers and the Bears, I was definitely not feeling good. If you didn't watch the game, the Packers lost to the Bears 17 to 20. As a Packer fan, the 2nd half was very difficult to watch. The majority of the Packer's 18 penalties took place in the second half and ultimately cost them the game.

No doubt Julius Peppers and the Bears won the game and definitely influenced all of the holding calls against the Packers, so they deserved the win. If I'm a Bears' fan I'm pumped and rightfully so. But, I'm not a Bears fan and last night was very frustrating.

The frustration carried over until today, because as expected my colleagues and students were less than supportive. But I took it like a man and admitted that the Bears were the better team, which was very difficult to do.

Then I came across this video and my spirits were immediately lifted:

It's a video of Snohomish High School junior, Ike Ditzenberger rushing for a 51 yard touchdown. I'm sure that hundreds of high school football players had long runs for touchdowns last Friday night. However what's unique about this situation is that Ike has Down Syndrome and this was his first touchdown as a varsity player.

Ike received a lot of great blocks and made some amazing moves, but the difference maker was definitely his opponents - Lake Stevens High School. I think this is the part I liked the best. When I read that Lake Stevens' coaching staff instructed their players to let Ike score, but to make it seem real... I was truly in awe.

Some people will argue that whenever you strap on the helmets and pads it's "Go Time" and you should always try your best. If you're one of those people, I agree with you if we're talking about professional players who are getting paid to play and show off your talent.

However, high school football isn't about getting paid. And it's not only about winning championships. It's about a bunch of other things, like: having fun, building character, developing friendships, following rules, learning to work with others, and practicing good sportsmanship.

Ike Ditzenberger, his teammates, and the Vikings of Lake Stevens High school demonstrated all of this on one play.

Congratulations goes out to Ike for his amazing 51 yard touchdown score. I'm sure you, your family, and your friends will remember this play for the rest of your life.

And a huge thank you goes out to everyone else who was involved in that play for showing the world that football isn't only about winning... it's also about having fun and putting smiles on people's faces... which is what you did to this grumpy old Packer fan.

Good night.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Cheap Cool Cards #4: 1999 Leaf R&S "Slide Show" Antonio Freeman

Card: 1999 Leaf Rookies & Stars "Slide Show" #SS-8 Antonio Freeman (#'d 010/100)
Beckett Value: $15
eBay Price: $18.79

In my 4th installment of my Cheap Cool Cards series, I chose this card it's one of my favorite insert sets from the 90's. It features an colored acetate slide with a cardboard frame. There are three variations of this set. The one pictured above is the red version and is numbered to 100. There is also a green parallel #'d to 50, along with a blue one #'d to 25. I've never seen one, but Beckett also lists a 1/1 parallel as well called the "Studio" version.

You can find these on COMC for as little as $5 for a Fred Taylor or $6 for a Jake Plummer. I saw the Antonio Freeman on there a while back for $5 and offered him $3. He accepted and voila, I now own one of the sweetest cards from the 90's. Too bad it's not a Favre, but if it was then it probably wouldn't be featured in this segment. Favre's card lists for $50 and it wouldn't surprise me if they sold for close to it.

So I'll settle for my Antonio Freeman, who was one of the Packers leading receiver during the 90's. Freeman's best season came in 1998 when he pulled down 84 catches and led the league in receiving yards. That year he made his only Pro Bowl appearance and looked to be destined for stardom. Which is probably why they inserted him into this set.

From that point on, his numbers slowly dwindled until he eventually retired in 2003 at the age of 31. Even though he wasn't an all-pro calibre receiver, he still managed to lead the Packers in receiving from 1996 to 1999. Here's a video of one of the sweetest catches I've ever seen:

So today's question deals with Beckett and their values. Almost all of the values in the price guides are inflated to some degree. My question is... Are there any cards, sets, or products that you know of that are constantly under priced by Beckett? For example... I was looking to pick up an Aaron Rodgers rookie autograph during the offseason and none of them went for below book. I can only imagine what they're going for now since the season has started.

Anyways... I hope everyone is enjoying their Sunday!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Hobby's Newest Soccer Fan... Me!

Just kidding... sorry Martyn & Gmoses for the shenanigans... I'm not really a soccer fan. Just a typical poser. I got a little into it during the World Cup... but honestly... I haven't watched a game since.

However, today I saw this clip and was truly amazed. I'm not sure when it took place, but this little lady has some skills:

Anyways... since she's from my ancestor's homeland... I figured I'd take the time to show off my 2010 Blue Samurai Panini team set:

However... all kidding aside... if anyone out there has any other 2010 World Cup cards of the Samurai Blue and are interested in trading, please PM me. I'm especially looking for cards of Keisuke Honda. That guy was awesome this summer.

Today's question of the day: Do any of you collect soccer cards? If not, do you collect cards of any sport outside of the big 3: baseball, football, or basketball?

I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Top 5: Ichiro Suzuki PC Possessions

I love hard working athletes. I love athletes who stay loyal to their teams. And in baseball... while many love the power hitters... I love players who are pure hitters. Regular readers of my blog probably know that one of my favorite players of all-time is Tony Gwynn... because he fits into all three categories. Ichiro Suzuki does too.

Today Ichiro collected his 200th hit of the season against the Toronto Blue Jays. He's the first player this season to do this, but probably won't be the last. What makes this feat special is that he's reached this milestone a record setting 10 years in a row. I am truly in awe when I see this guy hit. From the time he steps up to the plate... to the moment his bat connects with the ball it's a work of art.

So in honor of one of my favorite players of the game and his amazing feat... here are my top 5 PC items of Ichiro Suzuki:

#1: 2000 BBM #326

It's my favorite item for two reasons: I love the card design and it's from his playing days in Japan.

#2: 2002 McFarlane Rookie Piece

I love this item because it show's off his beautiful swing. This particular figure is his regular version (with black glasses). I also have the variant (silver glasses), but it's still sealed.

#3: 2005 Upper Deck Mini Jersey

I've always been a sucker for oddball items and mini jerseys are close to the top of the list. I'm impressed with the detail and the stitching on these jerseys. They're not worth much, but I don't have any intention of ever selling this bad boy.

#4: 2008 & 2009 Allen and Ginter Memorabilia Cards

I haven't busted a box of newer baseball cards in years. However if I ever start I can guarantee it'll either be Upper Deck Masterpieces or Topps A&G. Both sets have amazing designs and its for this reason that I picked them as my #4 favorite item.

#5: 2001 Upper Deck Play Makers

I actually have four of these, but I only busted these two because the packaging was damaged. They seem to be made out of the exact same mold (with the exception of the ROY sign and the color of paint. Bobble heads are another one of my favorite collectibles from my childhood. I have around 10 in my collection, but these are probably my favorite.

Honorable Mention: 2001 UD Victory Rookie (PSA 10)

If you can believe it... this is the only rookie card that I own of Ichiro. I can't afford his other stuff. Thank goodness UD produced products like MVP and Victory.

My Ichiro collection is pretty tiny. As of today, I only have 8 cards in all. Five of them are memorabilia cards, 2 are Japanese cards, and of course the rookie card mentioned above. I have a bunch of his base cards, but I don't really consider them to be part of my PC, since they're just sitting in 5,000 count boxes somewhere.

However, if you have any of his pre 2001 Japanese cards or any of his newer memorabilia cards and you want to trade them... send me a PM.

Now for today's question of the day: How many more 200 hit seasons does Ichiro have left in him? Remember he's no young buck... he'll be turning 37 in October.

I'll leave you with this little gem. We all know that this guy can hit (2,230 hits + counting with the Seattle Mariners). And we also know that he can field (9x Gold Glove award winner). But how many of you knew that he could pitch too. Here's a video of Ichiro pitching the final out of the 1996 Japanese all-star game.

Congratulations Ichiro!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Sports Card Bust #24: Pat Falloon

Another birthday... another bust. Today is Pat Falloon's 38th birthday. Mr. Falloon was the first player chosen by the San Jose Sharks in the history of their franchise. I can remember chasing down his 1991 Arena holograms (Limited Edition of 99,000) and thinking he was going to be the next big super-star.

Pat didn't disappoint his fans... his rookie season was amazing. He led the team in goals, assists, and points. Who knew that his rookie season would be his best. After breaking down his stats... some may argue the fact that he's one of the NHL's biggest draft busts. So check out the pro's and con's... and decide yourself.

The Pros:
1. He scored 25 goals in a season twice in his career (91/92 & 95/96)
2. He had three 50 point seasons.
3. He had 143 goals and 178 assists for a total of 322 career points.
4. He played 9 seasons on 5 NHL teams.

The Cons:
1. Umm... if that's all you accomplished during your career and you're the number 2 pick in the draft... then you're a bust.

Sorry Pat... you were one of my favorites since day one and you'll always be special to any serious Sharks fan. However... in the eyes of hockey fans... you are a bust.

By the way... here's one of the famous holograms that I bought back in 1991. I'm not 100% sure... but I think I spent around $10 a piece for them.

Speaking of holograms... here's your question of the day: How many of you were addicted to the "hologram" trend during the 90's? Do you have a favorite "hologram" card/set?

Three days down... two days to go!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Amazing Acetate Autograph: Stan Lee

My love for acetate doesn't stop with sports cards. I came across this 2002 Filmcardz autograph of Stan Lee on eBay a few months back and knew it had to be a part of my collection. I'm not a comic book expert, but I don't think you have to be to have heard of Mr. Lee. He co-created some of the comic book titles: Spider-Man, the X-Men, Hulk, Iron Man, the Avengers, and the Fantastic Four.

I never put a face to his name until I watched Kevin Smith's Mallrats in the mid 90's. Stan Lee plays himself in the movie, but since then has made cameos in almost every major Marvel movie in the last 10 years.

If you're looking to add a Stan Lee autograph to your collection, he has a bunch to choose from. However... this is by far my favorite one of the bunch. Seriously... what's not to like?
It features:

a. one of my favorite comic book characters: Spider-Man
b. an amazing card design the incorporates acetate (one of my favorite card technologies)
c. an on-card autograph of one of the most famous people in the comic book industry

Now... for the question of the day: Who is your favorite comic book character?

Good night!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Happy Birthday To Me!

Okay... so it's almost three weeks past my birthday... but I just had to post my present to myself.

It's the complete 2007 SP Authentic By The Letter set for Kurt Suzuki. I've been wanting to build this set for months now, since a YouTube buddy completed his in June.

However, I ran into two problems. First, the ones I found on the net were expensive ($20 or more... I saw that one just sold recently for $7.50 + shipping, but it was #'d to 75). Secondly, I was only able to find two letters.

So how do I always solve my set problems? Yep... you guessed it. I looked for a completed one. And wouldn't you know it... right around my birthday a guy from Hawaii posted his completed set.

I won't even go into my max bid, but luckily nobody else wanted it, so I won it for $50 + $5 shipping. Get your calculators out and tell me the per card breakdown. That's right... just over $9 a card delivered to sunny California.

I love the design of the card. It features a picture of Kurt in his catcher's gear. Then in the bottom lefthand corner of the card, it shows his position along with the serial numbering. I'm pretty stoked that I have one of the possible 50 sets out there. The only flaw with these cards is that he signed the letters with a thin gold pen and it's difficult to see the autographs unless you're holding them in your hands.

Which leads me to my dilemma and the question of the day: Should I display these bad boys on my shelf, knowing that mother nature will eventually fade these golden autographs? Or Should I tuck them away for safe keeping and take them out every September to remind me of my amazing birthday present to myself?

I'll be honest, I've already made up my mind. Originally, I put them into holders and placed the holders on my A's shelf. But within two days... I changed my mind, because I know how autographs signed with silver and gold Sharpies fade with sunlight. I personally want to appreciate these for as long as I can... so I posted them on my website, so I can enjoy them whenever I want. However... I'd still like to hear what you would do.

Have a great week!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Acetate + 90's Insert Set = Another Project

Thirteen years ago, I ripped into a pack of 1998 Playoff Momentum and pulled this beautiful card of Randy Moss. The die-cut card is shaped like an arrow and features some gold holographic print I slid the card into a penny sleeve and card-saver, then placed it in a shoebox to gather dust.

I've flipped through this shoebox probably ten times over the past few years, but never thought twice about the Moss. Then a few weeks ago, I stopped to admire the card and decided to see who else was in the set. I went straight to COMC and found that this set was loaded with stars. Everyone from Emmitt Smith, Barry Sanders, Brett Favre, Dan Marino, John Elway, and Peyton Manning are in this set.

After seeing the checklist, I put the card aside and decided to see if I could find a complete set of these on eBay. I found one, but it was a little expensive (around $60), so I passed.

Then I found a guy who was selling a partial set with a bunch of extras included. He had put together 26 of the 29 cards in the set. After checking on COMC and eBay to see how much it would cost me to build the set, I decided to submit a best offer to this guy. I ended up pay $30 (shipping included) for the partial set, 13 additional die-cuts, and 19 of the retail versions.

Unfortunately, this also means that I have a new project for me to work on. I picked up one of the cards I needed (the Tim Brown) on COMC for a buck, but I still need the following:

#16 Drew Bledsoe
#20 Napoleon Kaufman

By the way, the retail version is also made out of acetate... but it's not die-cut. I'm building the die-cut version, which books for a little more than the retail version.

(retail version)

So if any of you have these cards for trade, PM me what you're looking for.

I'm excited about completing this set for so many reasons:

1. It's from the 90's.
2. It's expandable if I ever decide to build the retail set.
3. It's affordable, since most commons only sell for less than a buck.
4. It has a solid checklist. It includes Manning and Moss from their rookie season.
5. Best of all, it's made from acetate.

Now onto today's question of the day: Do you collect sets? If so, do you prefer to build or buy?

Oh by the way... I just realized... this is my 100th post. Damn how time flies by when you're having fun. Enjoy your Saturday!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Sports Card Bust #23: Patrik Stefan

Anyone who has collected hockey cards during the late 90's knows the name: Patrik Stefan.

In 1998-99, Stefan averaged over a point per game in the IHL for the Long Beach Ice Dogs when he scored 11 goals and had 24 assists in 33 games. Unfortunately, his season was shortened after suffering a concussion.

This didn't scare away scouts, who still put him up on a pedestal. One coach called him a cross between Mike Modano and Sergei Fedorov.

Looking back at his stats, I'm not sure what all of the hype was behind him... but regardless the Atlanta Thrashers decided to draft Stefan with the number one pick in the 1999 NHL entry draft. He was chosen in front of the Sedin brothers (#2 and #3 picks), Henrik Zetterberg (210th pick), and one of my favorite goalies in the league, Ryan Miller (138th pick).

When I looked at his career stats, the first person I thought of was Alexandre Daigle, because at first glance you might not call him a bust. He played seven seasons and had 64 goals with 124 assists for a total of 188 points. Obviously these are not Hall of Fame stats, but I've seen much worse.

However, when you flash back to 1999 and you think about how many collectors lost out on their Stefan investments... then you realize how big of a bust this guy was. I probably have over 25 of his Chrome, Topps Premier, and Gold Label rookies sitting in soft sleeves and Card Savers. These days any of those can be picked up for $1 to $2 on COMC. My guess is that you probably could get these cards for less if you submitted a best offer.

How much did I lose on my investment? Who knows... but it's safe to say I was paying a lot more than $1 or $2 for them. Don't worry... I'm not complaining. I understand that these are the risks you take when you decide to invest in cards.

These days, I make very few "investment" purchases. I've learned from my mistakes and I mainly buy things for my PC's. And this beautiful Stefan autograph happens to be a part of my continuously growing Sports Card Bust PC.

Which leads me to today's question of the day: Do you ever collect for investment purposes? If so, what's the worst investment you've made? If not, have you at least ever regretted a sports card purchase?

Oh... if you've never seen this clip... here's a highlight from his last season in the NHL with the Dallas Stars. I wonder why Dallas didn't resign him the following season?

Have a happy Friday!

Monday, September 13, 2010

I love the 80's #4: Kristi Yamaguchi & Tamlyn Tomita

Last year, some teachers and I were talking about who our childhood crushes were. The first people who popped into my head were Kristi Yamaguchi and the Japanese girl from Karate Kid II. That's right... I didn't know her name, but I knew that she was my dream girl.

Eventually, I looked her up on IMDB.com and discovered that Kumiko was played by Tamlyn Tomita. She's been on several television shows like Stargate, Monk, Criminal Minds, Heroes, CSI: Miami, and General Hospital. I also learned that she had been in two movies I've watched within the past few years: Only the Brave & The Day After Tomorrow. However, I never put the pieces together and figured out that she was the girl me and Daniel-san fell in love with.

Last week, I bid on her autograph and won (paid $.99 + $2.50 shipping).

Later on down the road, another girl caught my eye. This time it was different because she wasn't only a crush, she was a hero. I've mentioned before that I didn't have a lot of Japanese athletes to look up to while growing up. Well, Kristi Yamaguchi was the diamond in the rough. Whenever I went to Japantown in San Jose, I'd see posters and autographed pictures of her. In fact, a few shops still have her pictures up almost 20 years later.

When she won the gold medal during the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, I remember how excited my family was for Kristi. Now before you accuse me of being a fraud... let me say that I (along with the rest of my family) have been following Kristi since the mid 80's when she was skating with Rudy Galindo. In fact, I hated that guy because I thought he was her boyfriend.

These days Kristi Yamaguchi is married to Bret Hedican, a former NHL player. They still live in the Bay Area where they are raising two kids. A couple of years ago she was crowned the Dancing with the Stars champion... but I wouldn't know anything about that.

It set me back a pretty penny, but earlier this year I added this card to my collection:

Now for today's question of the day: What famous people did you have a childhood crush on?

Have a good evening!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

It it Christmas already?

Remember that feeling you had as a kid when you just opened the final present... the big present... the one that your parents saved for last. It's the one you put at the top of you wish list... it's the one that made you the happiest kid in the world.

Well... that's the way I feel right now... because the Cowboys just lost to the Redskins. You're probably asking yourself... what's the big deal. The deal is... I can't stand the Cowboys. I've never liked them... and I never will. And honestly a Cowboys loss is almost as good as a Seahawks or Packers win.

Speaking of the Seahawks and the Packers... to make things even sweeter... both of my teams won today. For the past few months, I've heard over and over how the 49ers are going to win the NFC West. Well... that may be so, but today they had their tails handed to them by my Hawks.

It wasn't only that the Seahawks won... it's the fact that the 49ers lost. Ready for your history lesson of the day? I grew up surrounded by 49er fans. My whole family are Niner fans. As a kid... the 49ers dominated the NFL and that was very frustrating to me, because I had to be different. So much like the Cowboys... I hate the 49ers. With that being said... the Seahawks win was actually a two for one special.

On the other hand, the Packers almost let one slip away. Michael Vick single handedly brought the Eagles back to life... but came up 1 yard short. Whatever... I'm not going to let the Packers' defensive breakdown bring me down. A win is a win. The Packers & Aaron Rodgers are 1 and 0 and the Vikings & Brett Favre are 0 and 1.

Which brings up Mr. Favre. Anyone who knows me... knows that Brett Favre is my favorite player of all time. However... currently he's a Viking... and I'm a Packer Backer first.. and a Favre Fan second... so currently he's the enemy and I hope he throws plenty of 4th quarter interceptions.

After writing this post... I realize that there's a lot of negativity in it... and I apologize to my readers for showing you my dark side. If I could flip a switch and be rid of my hate for the Niners and Cowboys... I probably would. I'm not proud of it... but I am what I am.

So... let's go ahead and sum things up. I feel like a kid in a candy store, because:

a. The Vikings lost (on Thursday).
b. The Seahawks manhandled the 49ers.
c. The 49ers were spanked by the Hawks.
d. The Packers lucked out in Philly... but came away with a W.
e. The Cowboys made major mistakes that cost them big time... and in the end they lost.

In fact... I'm so happy... that I'm not even sad about the Padres loss to the Giants.

So here's today's question of the day (I actually think I've asked this before... but I'm on cloud 9 right now... so who cares): Are there any sports teams that you hate? If so, why?

When I say "hate"... I mean that you actually are happy when they lose.