30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Monday, May 30, 2016

Playing with the Enemy

Two hours from now... the San Jose Sharks will make their first Stanley Cup Finals appearance in franchise history and as a fan from the get go, words seriously can't describe how excited I am right now.  But I promised myself I wouldn't jinx them by writing about their journey until it's complete, so this post isn't about Team Teal.

It's actually a quick post about their opposition... the Pittsburgh Penguins.  Back in the early 90's, my friends and I enjoyed hanging out and playing games on the Sega Genesis.  One of my favorite games was NHL 93.

The problem?  The San Jose Sharks were the worst rated team in the game.  Each player was given a rating with 1 being the lowest (Shawn Chambers) and 95 being the highest (Patrick Roy, Jeremy Roenick, Steve Yzerman, and Ed Befour).  The Sharks best player is their current general manager... Doug Wilson who had a rating of 61.

To put this into perspective... the New Jersey Devils had 17 players on their roster with a rating of 60 or higher. The Montreal Canadiens had 15 players.  And the Detroit Red Wings, Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, and Washington Capitals each had 14 players.  The Sharks were the only team in the game with only one player in the 60's.

I enjoyed playing with the Sharks when it was just me against the computer.  Unfortunately... it was impossible to play against your friends with them.  That's why we all picked other teams to play with.  I chose the Pittsburgh Penguins.

***I just purchased this Stevens on COMC***

They weren't the highest rated team in the game, but they definitely featured one of the best lines.  Hall of famer... Mario Lemieux centered the line with Kevin Stevens and Jaromir Jagr as his wings.  Add Larry Murphy and Ulf Samuelsson as your blue liners and you've got one powerful scoring machine.

I haven't played NHL 93 in twenty years and probably never will again... but I'll never forget the amazing times I spent with my buddies and the early 90's Pittsburgh Penguins.

Sharks Cardboard Generously Donated By The Underdog!  

Okay... it's time to get myself mentally ready for some playoff hockey.

Cardboard Generously Donated By Woody at CCW!

But before I do, I'd like to thank all of those who have served or are serving in our country's armed forces and to remember those who have given their lives so that we can spend time with our friends and family, but more importantly so we can enjoy our freedom.

Happy Monday, go Sharks, and sayonara!

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Relaxing with Dime Packs

It's been over forty years since Topps baseball wax packs had a suggested retail value of 10¢.  In 1975... collectors were forced to pay an extra 5¢ for a pack of ten cards and the trademark stick of pink gum.

Fast forward to January of this year.  I drove up to Daly City to attend my favorite card show and as soon as I entered the mall, I found a guy with hundreds... possibly thousands... of dime packs.  I immediately began scooping up packs that were dime worthy.

In celebration of my highly anticipated three day weekend, I have decided to bust open a few stacks of packs.

Today's menu includes the following:  1993 Stadium Club Series 2 Baseball, 1992 Fleer Ultra Series 2 Baseball, 1992 Pinnacle Series 1 Baseball, 1993 Cardz The Flintstones, 1991 Topps Baseball, 1992 Pacific University of Washington Football, and 1994 Donruss Triple Play Baseball.

Here are the highlights from my break...

I kicked things off with Triple Play and was expecting some cheesy design or a product that catered to kids.  The result was a very pleasant surprise.  I actually like this design more than the regular 1994 Donruss base card set.

I was also fortunate enough to beat the odds and pull this Medalist insert featuring three popular National League first basemen at the time.

Next up...

I opened a ton of 1991 Topps back in the day and already own every card I could possibly want from this product.  But this set has several cards featuring outstanding photography and I was hoping to pull a few.  The Sandberg is a prime example.

I decided to take a break from baseball and moved onto the Flintstones packs.  Guess what?

I pulled a baseball card!  What are the odds?  I watched my fair share of The Flintstones as a kid, but don't remember this particular one.  I'll have to see if I can find it online.

Next up are a pair of packs featuring the University of Washington football program.  Back in the early 80's, I actively rooted for the Huskies because my cousin Keith went there.  He's actually the reason I became a Seahawks fan as well.

Eventually I attended San Jose State, so I started cheering for the Spartans instead.  But I still remembered a few of the names I pulled from the pack, including this Pelluer.

Okay... let's get back to baseball.

The problem with having high expectations is there's a higher risk of being let down... and that's exactly what happened with the 1992 Pinnacle and 1993 Stadium Club packs...

Back in the day, I enjoyed building the 1991 and 1992 Pinnacle baseball card sets.  I remember them being really nice cards, but for some reason... I just couldn't get into this product.  Maybe one of the reasons is that there weren't any A's or Padres in the pack.  It didn't help that Tony Pena was the biggest name... and he's not even in his Pirates uniform.  Insert sad face emoji.

Stadium Club was equally unimpressive.  The lone bright spot was this interesting insert featuring two Bay Area legends.  I took a break from the hobby back in 1993, which probably explains why I've never seen this insert before.

I saved the seven 1992 Fleer Ultra packs for last, because this was easily my favorite product of 1992.

Back then, I busted a ton of this product (both series) and ended up building a master set with all of the base cards and inserts.  They are still in the same binder from twenty-four years ago.  Damn.  I feel old.  Anyways... the second series mostly featured rookies, but I did manage to pull a few inserts including The Big Hurt you see above.

At the end of the day... I probably didn't pull $2.10 worth of cards, but I had a good time busting open packs... so that's got to be worth something.  I was also able to add the Medalists and Pacific Terrific inserts to my insert binders.  The rest of the stuff will be thrown into Super Trader packages or handed out to students this summer.

I still have a bunch of packs left from my card show purchase, but I'll save them for another day.

Happy Saturday and sayonara!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Life's A Beach

I have spent the past few weeks cleaning up my classroom, figuring out what I'm going to keep, giving away stuff to teachers and students, throwing away things nobody wanted, and packing fifty-six moving boxes.  I'm not quite finished, but at least I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

This weekend... I decided to reward myself with food and some fresh air.  There's an amazing bakery in Capitola that my friend and I enjoy, so we piled her dog and her sister's dog into her SUV and headed over the hill.  About forty-five minutes later we were stuffing our faces with yummy bacon quiches, delicious bacon 'n egg croissants, and rich hot chocolate with fresh whipped cream.

I wanted to hit up a skateboard shop after breakfast, but it was too early... so we drove a few miles north into Santa Cruz and walked the dogs near the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum.  The weather was beautiful and it was a pleasant reminder of just how lucky I am to live in the Bay Area.

Even Tony had the opportunity to come out, catch some rays, breathe in some fresh air, and check out the beautiful Pacific Ocean.  He hasn't had many photo opportunities lately, but I'll try to remember to take him out next week when I bring the honor students to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.

Until then... happy Wednesday... go Sharks... and sayonara!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

They Aren't Dolls!

It's hard to believe that it has been fifteen years since the final series of Starting Lineup figures were released back in 2001.  Fifteen years.

I collected these sports figures off and on since they were first produced in 1988 and it seems like only yesterday... I would periodically make trips down to Toys 'R Us and Kaybee Toys to see which figures were hanging on their pegs.

Finding a superstar with mint condition packaging felt like you hit the jackpot, because you didn't have to pay the card shop and collectible store prices.  Some of those figures are now residing in my buddy's garage collecting dust in hopes of one day becoming a valued collectible again.

The others?  Well... in an effort to save space... I began opening them up, taking them out of their packages, and lining them up on my office shelves.  The ones that didn't fit were taken to my classroom and are on display there.

My interest in the actual figures has diminished over time.  They're more of a novelty item these days, but I have become obsessed with collecting the trading cards that accompanied those figures.

I'm in the process of building the 1988 Kenner SLU baseball card set.  There were a total of 124 figures released in the inaugural set... and so far I've managed to grab 120 of them.  The Kent Hrbek is my latest addition.  That leaves me with only needing Buddy Bell, John Franco, Nolan Ryan and Kevin Seitzer.  None of these are considered rare, however for some reason people who own these think they're worth much more than I'm willing to pay.

In addition to the set I'm building, I also have two large binders filled with all of my other Starting Lineup cards.  One of them is dedicated to baseball, while the other contains all of the other sports like basketball, football, and hockey.

Last week KevAlan over at CCW added five new cards to my "other sports" binder.  Four of them featured one of my favorite basketball players of the 90's, Anfernee "Penny" Hardaway:

In addition to the cards, he also threw in their respective figures:

Kenner produced a series of figures called Timeless Legends from 1995 to 1998 that included athletes from a variety of sports.  Muhammad Ali was one of three boxers that made the checklist during those years.  Joe Lewis and Sugar Ray Leonard were the other two.  They also produced two individual 12" Ali figures as well as one that featured him with Joe Frazier.

I've always wanted to own the 1998 Timeless Legends Ali... and thanks to KevAlan... I now do:

Collectors who were looking for sports figurines, but wanted something a little different could also collect Corinthian Headliners in the 90's.  

Oversized heads were the trademark of these collectibles.  Most of the ones I've seen are small in size (about 2" tall).  However the McGwire that KevAlan sent is huge.  It's about the same height as your standard bobblehead and it weighs a lot.  He even included the original COA that came with the figure:

Last... but certainly not least... is another Panini Japanese All-Star signature card:

#11 Masai Rokuno

I tried to dig up some information on Mr. Rokuno, but didn't find much.  If any of my fellow Japanese baseball card collectors out there know anything about this guy... please feel free to comment below.

Thanks KevAlan for the nice package of figures and cards.  It's always nice when I'm able to add some new faces to my Kenner SLU binders.  And those figures will be on full display in my new classroom this August.

Happy Saturday and sayonara!