30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Monday, February 28, 2011

Crazy Cool Contest @ Hoopography

Do you like basketball?

Do you like free cards?

Do you like autographs?

Do you like inserts?

Do you like Blake Griffin or Kevin Durant?

Do you like Die-cuts?

If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, then I encourage you to head over to one of the greatest basketball blogs on the net:

Charles just busted a box of 2011 Panini Contenders Basketball and he's giving away the majority of his pulls to one lucky winner. Are you interested? If so... then all you have to do is the following:

#1 Become a follower of his blog, a fan of Hoopography on Facebook, or a follower on Twitter.

#2 Leave a comment on his contest post: click here

#3 If you'd like receive one extra entry, advertise his contest on your blog and leave a comment on his contest post: click here

It's that simple... but you'd better hurry up. The contest ends this Friday, March 4th at 12:00PM.

Here's some of the goodies you have the chance to win:

If your name is chosen on random.org, you'll receive everything except for the Blazers & Lakers cards. Check out his blog for an explanation.

So what are you waiting for? Head over to Hoopography... enter his contest... and start reading his awesome posts. I've been a fan of his blog for quite some time now... and he's one of the handful of blogs that I check on a daily basis. I promise you won't be disappointed.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Monday... enjoy the rest of your week & stay safe. Sayonara!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Nifty 90's Nostalgia #7: 95/96 Finest Gold Refractors

I dumped a lot of money during the 90's on sports cards... believe it or not... much more than I spend these days. And it no doubt peaked during the mid 90's... when I was chasing the gold refractors out of 1995-96 Finest Hockey.

I'm not 100% sure what I paid for wax boxes, but I'm sure it was close to $100... if not more. And guess how frequently these bad boys were pulled? One gold refractor for every 288 packs. In other words... one gold refractor per 12 box case.

Eventually... I saw the light... stopped busting boxes... and started buying singles. At one time, I had over 75% of the set. I owned a Wayne Gretzky, Patrick Roy, Ray Bourque, Mario Lemieux, Teemu Selanne, Eric Lindros, Pavel Bure, and Brett Hull. In fact... the only big names that I was missing were Martin Brodeur, Steve Yzerman, and the infamous Jaromir Jagr.

If you've never heard the story behind Patrick Englert and his Jagr gold refractors, I encourage you to read this article: Too much of a good thing...

Essentially... Topps originally announced that only 150 of each gold refractor was produced. But somehow Mr. Englert obtained 159 of the Jagr card. Hmmm... it doesn't take a math magician to figure out somethings wrong with that picture. Especially when Mr. Englert had spent over $50,000 on these Jagr gold refractors. Oh... don't feel bad for him... the guy ended up winning a lawsuit against Topps that paid him $177,000. Talk about making a killer investment.

Okay... back to me and my investment. Ummm... let's just say that I didn't fair so well. I sold most of my gold refractors several years later when interest in these cards had dropped and values tumbled. I have no idea what I received, but I'm sure it was less than 25% of what I spent.

Today... I have only three different cards left from that set:

1995-96 Finest Gold Refractor #41 Brian Leetch

1995-96 Finest Gold Refractor #123 Keith Tkachuk

1995-96 Finest Gold Refractor #140 Alexander Mogilny

Up until yesterday... these were sitting in my tradelist... but I was bored last night and decided to sift through my tradebait. An hour or so later... I had pulled out these and probably 25 other inserts that I've decided to keep for sentimental reasons.

These cards are a healthy reminder to myself that I should NEVER... and I mean NEVER collect sports cards as an investment. Some people are smart and/or lucky enough to make a living off of this hobby... but I'm not one of them.

Today... I look at collecting sports card the same way I look at gambling. It's a form of entertainment. I only spend what I can afford to lose.

So... today's your opportunity to brag about your best and worst card investment:

What's the best card investment you've ever made?

What's your worst?

I'll keep my best investment story for another day... but my worst is probably these gold refractors. Sure I invested a lot of money on Ryan Leaf and Michael Olowokandi, but nothing near the amount I dropped on 1995-96 Finest Hockey.

By the way... the photo at the top was ripped from Ebay... where you can purchase boxes of this stuff for around $80 shipped... so assuming people are paying close to this... I guess unopened wax of this product has "sort of" held its value.

Happy Sunday everyone! Tomorrow... I'm headed back into the classroom... so my streak of seven posts in seven straight days will probably be coming to an end sooner than later. Thanks for reading my blog. Sayonara.

Extra Edition

Mr. Engert read this blog post and was kind enough to email me some information I didn't have access to before:

The lawsuit against Topps cost him around $135,000 in lawyer fees and when you throw in the $10,000 spent on the Jagr refractors... it wasn't as much of killer investment as originally thought.  But money isn't the only thing that came out of this situation.

Mr. Engert still owns 150 copies of the Jagr and has one helluva story for his grandchildren.  

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Blog Trade #7: Plaschke, Thy Sweater Is Argyle

It had been over a month since my last blog trade... so I was excited when Greg over at Plaschke, Thy Sweater Is Argyle emailed me about a couple of Sharks hits he had. A few emails and 7 days later and these arrived at my place:

Sharks PC Additions

If you collect Sharks... then you know a trade is awesome when you get a package that includes memorabilia cards of both... Big Joe & Little Joe. Thornton is the captain of the team, while Pavelski is a fan favorite and was the only Sharks player on the silver medal winning 2010 USA Olympic hockey team.

Lakers PC Addition

Pau Gasol is often referred to as "soft". But let's be serious... a huge reason the Lakers have made it to the NBA Finals the past three seasons is due to the all-star play of the Spaniard. He's still averaging a double-double this season... and hopefully he'll be able to help The Black Mamba and the rest of his teammates win their third NBA Championship in a row.

A Future HOF

Anytime I have the opportunity to pick up a National Treasures memorabilia card #'d to 99 of a future HOFer... I'm going to be all over it. Dirk is a 10x all-star and has averaged almost 23 ppg and 8 rebounds a game during his 13 year career. At 32 years of age, he's still one of the best power forwards in the game.

Canadiens Captain

I don't collect Gionta... but I just might start. This guy is pretty amazing. He represented Team USA in the 2006 Winter Olympics. Plus he's the current captain of one of the finest franchises in NHL history. And the thing that stands out the most is... he's the second shortest player currently in the NHL at 5'7".

Bonus Cards

Greg was also generous enough to send some Giants, Warriors, 49ers, and Raiders cards for my students. I'm headed back into the classroom this Monday... and I'm sure they'll be happy to see these.

So... Thanks Greg for the amazing trade. I hope you are as pleased with the cards I sent... as I am with the ones I received from you.

Everyone else... If you're a baseball card collector, then I encourage you to head over to Greg's blog: Plaschke, Thy Sweater Is Argyle.

Interested in trading? Please check out my trade bait links and wantlists to the left.

Have a great weekend... Sayonara!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Nifty 90's Nostalgia #6: Michael Jordan Broders

According to www.baseballcardpedia.com, a Broder is an unlicensed card with no investment value. According to what I've read on some blog posts, these are named after a photographer, Rob Broder, who produced some of these unlicensed cards.

So I realize that Broders have been around since the 80's... but I picked these up in the early 90's, when I worked at my local card shop. However after doing some research... the uniform Jordan is wearing in the fake Donruss and Fleer cards was worn by White Sox players during the late 80's... so my guess is as good as yours.

I remember that my boss had stacks of these sitting in the display cases and people would buy these all of the time. Unfortunately, I'm sure that a few of these people thought they were Michael Jordan's rookie baseball cards.

Every once in awhile, I'll still see one of these pop up at the flea market. I've never bothered to ask how much they want, but I'm sure you can grab these for less than a quarter.

What about you...

Do any of you own any Broders? If so... which ones?

Happy Friday everyone... I can't believe it. There's a chance we'll get snow in the valley... I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Sayonara!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Sports Card Trifecta #12: Patrick Marleau

Back to back Sharks posts? Yes sir... it's a rare event... but I need to give credit, where credit is due. And last night Patrick Marleau saved me from being sent to an insane asylum.

In a nutshell... the Sharks were beating the Pittsburgh Penguins 2 to1 with less than a minute to go when they allowed Tyler Kennedy to tie it up. Disheartening... frustrating... painful... can't really find the right word to describe how I felt... but a mixture of those three words is a good starting point.

Then in overtime
Patrick Marleau had a good chance to end the game on a nice breakaway, but Marc-Andre Fleury made an incredible save. The hockey gods must have been pleased with his effort, because with 4 seconds left in the game Marleau scored to help the Sharks win their fifth game in a row.

Marleau is the
San Jose Sharks all-time leader in games played (1,015), goals (344), and points (739). He has spent his full 13 year career in the NHL as a Shark and if it's up to me, he'll spend the rest of his career wearing Teal & Black.

To show my appreciation for everything that Patrick Marleau has done over the years... I present to you my Sports Card Trifecta of him:

Rookie Card: 1996-97 Upper Deck #384

Autographed Card: 2001-02 BAP
Signature Series "Autograph" #144

Memorabilia Card: 2000-01 SP Game Used
"Tools of the Game" #PM

Before I wrap this up... I just wanted to say that I really admire athletes who play their whole careers with one organization. I understand how difficult it is because of trades and free agency... but there's no coincidence that a lot of the players I collect fall under this category: Tony Gwynn, Steve Largent (he played several preseason games for the Houston Oilers, but all of his regular season games were with the Hawks), Magic Johnson, Kurt Suzuki, Devin Setoguchi, Kobe Bryant, Aaron Rodgers, Ray Lewis, and Ed Reed. Of course... several of these players will probably switch teams before their careers are over... but if it were up to me, they'd spend the rest of their careers with the team they're on.

How about you? Have any of your favorite athletes spent their entire career with one organization? If so... who?

I can't believe this week has flown by... only one more day until the weekend. Enjoy the rest of your week. Sayonara!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Are things finally coming around for the Sharks?

Now that football season is over... I'm finally able to devote more time to my beloved San Jose Sharks. And it seems like they're starting to live up to the expectations of their fans. The Sharks struggled for most of the first half going 21-19-5 in their first 45 games and some were beginning to wonder if they'd even make the playoffs.

To make matters worse... rumors started to fly about my favorite player, Devin Setoguchi being placed on the trading block. A few of my students even told me that the fans booed Setoguchi at a couple of the games they went to. Thankfully... things have started to turn around.

Since then... the Sharks have gone 13-2-1 and have moved into 4th place in the Western Conference. During that span, they beat all three teams (Vancouver, Detroit, & Phoenix) ahead of them in the rankings... which hopefully is a huge boost to their confidence.

Best of all... Setoguchi is starting to play like he did a couple of years ago when he scored 31 goals for the Sharks. Last Saturday, Devin had the first hat trick of his NHL career against the Avalanche. Check it out:

Last night... The Gooch added two more goals against the Detroit Redwings, which gave him five goals in two games. Hopefully... his streak will continue and convince Doug Wilson that Setoguchi is a valuable piece to this puzzle.

Setoguchi wasn't the only one celebrating last night. Joe Thornton became the 176th person in NHL history to score 300 goals. He's currently 17 points shy of the 1,000 mark... so hopefully he'll reach that milestone sometime this season.

More importantly... let's hope the Sharks can finally get over the hump this year and make it to the Stanley Cup Finals. The Green Bay Packers persevered and endured a rough season... and when all was said and done... they were the team carrying the Lombardi Trophy. It hasn't been pretty for the Sharks this year... maybe it's a sign of good things to come. Are they the Green Bay Packers of the NHL? I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

Today's question of the day:

Which team will be holding up
Lord Stanley's Cup at the end of the season?

Happy hump day! I hope all of you are enjoying your week... I know I am. I can't remember the last time I've golfed three days in a row... but I'm headed out to play 18 today. Sayonara!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Top 5: Beckett Covers

A few weeks ago, I went over to my buddy's house to play some video games on his brand new television. Unfortunately... we never made it into his house. As we entered his garage, I saw a pile of my boxes that he lets me store there. The boxes on top had cards I dropped off sometime in September or October... but underneath it were six bankers boxes that I've accumulated over the years.

Four of the boxes had Kenner Starting Line Ups with a few sets scattered here and there. One of these days I'll go back, take pictures and show off some of my favorite SLUs.

Another box had a few sets that I built and put into binders: 1990 Leaf baseball, 1992 Fleer Ultra baseball, and 1985 Topps baseball. I built these sets by busting packs and paid top dollar during the early 90's on these boxes. It's a little depressing to think about how much I spent on cards over the years. Oh well... on the bright side... I was glad to see that these sets weren't sold when I dumped my collection about 10 years ago.

The last box contained my collection of Beckett price guides from back in the day. It's funny because I recently picked up a few back issues from my local card shop and was wondering where my old issues were. I figured they were sold off, but I guess I was wrong.

Inside the box were over 15 back issues of Beckett stored in sleeves with backing boards. I must have thought that one day these were going to be collector's items. LOL... guess I was wrong. Because I picked up a few of the same issues for less than the cover price a few weeks back.

Anyways... today I'm going to show off my top 5 Beckett covers:

#1: Beckett Basketball Issue #24 (July 1992)

It was tough between this cover and my #2 cover... but ultimately I decided on this as my favorite because of my love for the original Dream Team. I mean... c'mon... how can you go wrong with a cover containing five HOFers?

#2: Beckett Baseball Issue #63 (June 1990)

Bo Jackson is one of the greatest athletes I've ever had the privilege to watch in person. There's no telling what this guy would have done had he not suffered that hip injury. He is one of the best two-sports athletes in the history of sports and this iconic photo celebrates those two sports.

#3: Beckett Basketball Issue #10 (May 1991)

This cover features the greatest basketball player of all-time before he ever played in an NBA game. I have a ton of Jordan memorabilia (cards, figures, and magazines) with him wearing our country's colors... but this is the only one from his days on the gold winning 1984 Olympic basketball team.

#4: Beckett Baseball Issue #66 (September 1990)

Rickey Henderson and I had kind of a love/hate relationship. Well... he doesn't actually know me... but when I was growing up there were times that I loved him... and times that I hated him. He was with the A's when this issue came out... so I was a fan of his. And I'm still a big fan of this cover, because he's doing what he did best... stealing bases.

#5: Beckett Basketball Issue #3 (July/August 1990)

Byron Scott was my favorite basketball player during the 80's. Magic Johnson was a close second. He led the Lakers to 5 NBA championships during the 80's and he's one of the reasons I'm such a huge fan of the game today.

So there you have it... my top 5 Beckett covers. Here are some of my other favorites that didn't make the list:

Beckett Basketball #1, Beckett Football #1, & Beckett Hockey #1

Weren't these suppose to be worth thousands of dollars by now? LOL... you gotta love collecting for investment purposes.

And here's the rest of my collection...

What about you... did you ever save your old Becketts thinking that they might be worth something one day?

What's your favorite Beckett cover?

Happy Tuesday everyone... time to play another nine holes right now. Sayonara!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Set Showcase #10: 90/91 Fleer All-Star Set

Last summer I bought a bunch of "junk wax" boxes off of Craigslist, because I wanted to use them in my summer school class. Most of the cards were used as prizes... and some were used in math lessons... but my card collecting addiction overwhelmed me and I brought three of the boxes I purchased home for me to bust. What were the three boxes? None other than one of the most produced basketball products of all-time: 1990/91 Fleer Basketball.

After the pack busting mayhem was over... 5 complete base sets were revealed. If you're interested in reading about these beauties, check out my first set showcase post from last July.

In addition to the base sets, I was able to build one 90/91 Fleer All-Star set. I figured... today was the perfect time to post this set, because it marks the 20th anniversary of this set. Actually... this set features all-stars from the 1990 game... where Magic Johnson took home the first of his two NBA All-Star Game MVP awards.

So... I hereby deliver to you my 90/91 Fleer All-Star set:

#1 Charles Barkley
#2 Larry Bird
#3 Akeem Olajuwon
#4 Earvin Johnson
#5 Michael Jordan
#6 Isiah Thomas

#7 Karl Malone
#8 Tom Chambers
#9 John Stockton
#10 David Robinson
#11 Clyde Drexler
#12 Patrick Ewing

Set: 12 cards

This set was actually difficult to build, because of collation issues. I believe I pulled 6 to 8 of these per box, but I was barely able to build the set because I couldn't find a Patrick Ewing. I think I finally pulled him halfway through the third box.

Fleer showed the Western Conference a little extra love by producing seven cards for them, while the Eastern Conference was represented only by their five starters. On a side note... A.C. Green who started for the Western Conference that year didn't have a card made for him.

Hall of Famers: 91.6% (11 players)

This set is loaded with Hall of Famers. Eleven out of the twelve cards feature members of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Had Fleer decided to replace Tom Chambers with any of these Eastern Conference players: Robert Parish, Kevin McHale, Joe Dumars, Dominique Wilkins, or Scottie Pippen... this set would not only be an all-star set... it would be a Hall of Fame set as well.

Beckett Value: $21.50

The highest priced card in the set is Michael Jordan, who is valued at $12. Larry Bird is second at $2. Tom Chambers is the cheapest card in the set... valued at fifteen cents.

eBay Value: $2.98 to $5.98

A complete set of these sold for $.99 (+1.99 shipping) on February 20. Currently there are a few of these sets listed. The lowest BIN is set at $3.99 (+1.99 shipping). It amazes me to think how cheap sets go for these days. Then again... I guess they're only pieces of cardboard with photos on them.

Today's question of the day is...

How many of last night's players from the 2011 NBA All-Star game will eventually go on to make the HOF?

Here's the all-star rosters:

East: Lebron James, Derrick Rose, Amare Stoudemire, Dwight Howard, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Rajon Rondo, Joe Johnson, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Al Horford, Kevin Garnett

West: Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony, Tim Duncan, Pau Gasol, Manu Ginobili, Deron Williams, Blake Griffin, Dirk Nowitzki, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Love

I think the players I highlighted in light purple are definitely going to make it. In other words... if they retired today... they'd eventually get voted in. The players highlighted in dark purple will get in too... they may just need a couple of more seasons with at least average numbers (they might not even need average numbers). The remaining players have a chance... but for some they need several more years of good seasons, while others it's just way too early to tell.

Well that's it. I hope you enjoyed my 1990/91 Fleer All-Star set. I hope all of you have a great week. I'm headed out to play 9 with a buddy. Have I mentioned how much I love February break? If I haven't.... I'll say it right now: I love February break!

Oh... almost forgot... a huge congratulations goes out to the Black Mamba... for winning his 4th All-Star Game MVP award... tying him with Bob Pettit for the most in NBA history. That was a pretty cool game... loved how Lebron and the East stepped up their game and challenged the West in the fourth quarter. Luckily Kobe's Iron Will didn't give out and they were able to hold the East off.