April 30, 2016

Checking Out Green Bay Packers 1st Round Pick Kenny Clark's Football Cards

The Green Bay Packers went with defense in the 1st round of 2016 NFL Draft when they drafted Kenny Clark who played defensive tackle for UCLA. As a defensive line player who isn't a QB sack machine should mean that his rookie autographs won't be too difficult to track down at a reasonable price. It sounds like the idea here is that Clark will fill the rather large void in the line by the retired, maybe not retired taking a break B.J. Raji. Here's a break down of some of his top cards that are available now.

My favorite it from 2016 Panini Contenders Draft Picks. I really like the full body photo and the color scheme which works well with the UCLA colors. I think I'll try to track down one of these first.

By far the most auctions out there are for 2016 Panini Prizm Draft Picks. The first two cards are Clarks' base rookie card and the blue variation, which I really like.  

There are also a whole lot of autograph variations and here are the gold and camo versions which are out of 10 and 199. 

Here's an action photo of Clark trying to get to the quarterback from 2016 Panini Score.

And because it is there, here is a Sage HIT autograph. I'll probably pick this up for a few bucks when the peak Draft values fall in a few weeks.

April 29, 2016

Why Yes, Lee Walls, I Am Looking Right At Your Tint

The old story goes that as Topps was preparing the 3rd series of their wooden-framed 1962 Topps set, they decided to answer the higher demand for the 2nd series of cards and produce more of that series. Their regular printer at the time, Zabel Brothers, were going to be focused on the 3rd series and so another printer was chosen to handle creating the additional 2nd series cards.  

As collectors know, that printing didn't go so well as the magenta colored plates were either not used or the color used was poorly made, creating background skies with a green tint and yellowish skin tones on the players featured. 

I recently picked up a green tint '62 card of Dodger's outfielder Lee Walls at our local Atlanta card show. If you are looking to track down one of these cards, the cards to look for are #110 through #196  on the checklist and Walls' card is #129. 

Walls played for 10 seasons with five teams with his best season being in 1958 with the Chicago Cubs when he batted .304 and hit 24 home runs. The cartoon on the back of his 1962 card highlights that great season.

April 28, 2016

Birthday Contest Winner!

In total we had 22 entries for my Birthday Contest, which was about half as many as we needed to activate the bonus prizes so instead of adding 20 1960's and earlier cards, I will add 10 cards 
to the prize pool!

We had a lot of great entries sharing stories of trading cards gifts that we have received in the past. Here are some of the entries:

Happy birthday and thanks for the contest! My very first cards (as far as I can remember) were seven packs of 1991 Upper Deck baseball from a kid named James on my seventh birthday (in 1992).
Sports Card Collectors
My first cards were 1994-1995 Topps hockey which my father and I.opened up in a grocery store parking lot (remember when cards were sold there) even though we didn't watch hockey. It was a fun bust and was one of many we did like that. All I remember was pulling some shiny ones. Forgot to mention these were memorable for my birthday being my first packs and something my father and I began to bond over. Have a great birthday.
Adam Sanders
Happy birthday! As far as gifts go, I spent about a week in children's hospital with a really bad illness in second grade and once I was released, my mom bought be a box of 1993 Donruss as a get well present.
Daniel Wilson
Happy birthday! I remember getting a box of 1991 Upper Deck baseball for Christmas one year from my parents. I pulled the Michael Jordan SP card and was super excited!
John Hazen
Happy Birthday. Wife bought me 2015 Bowman blasters for a pre-Birthday sure why not.
I tend to only get cards when I buy them myself. I believe the last time I got cards for any occasion not purchased by myself was a few Christmases ago in my stocking. A couple packs of whatever Topps product was still on the shelf - Update I think.
Thanks for the contest!I recall getting a small lot of 80s Reggie Jackson cards as a birthday gift when I was a kid. He was the first guy I really collected, so it was pretty cool.
The Lost Collector
Nice! So many to choose from. I got cards a lot for special occasions. I have to go with Christmas 1998 when my Grandma got me the set of Danbury Mint gold Yankee cards. I remember looking at her in disbelief saying "Nonna....." The set actually was only half complete, as the rest were delivered a few at a time over the next few months.
night owl
I always wanted cards in my Easter basket and never got them, so there's my gift disappointment.
For positive card-gift remembrances, I'll go with when I was 9 and I got sick and had to go to the doctor. Afterward my dad and I stopped at the drug store to fill the prescription and I got a pack of '75 Topps cards and a candy bar. I'm so old they don't make that kind of candy bar anymore, but I really liked it.
I have three specific times, and briefly, they were:1) Christmas 1987 I got the Christmas version complete set of 1987 Topps from the Hook's Drugs down the street. I was the man in class when school came back because I not only had both McGwire and Canseco, but the Wally Joyner and Bo Jackson cards!2) For my birthday in 1992, my dad bought me a stack of Series I and Series II Fleer Ultra baseball. He gave them to me at a Red Lobster and I opened them right at the table. All 20-some packs of them! I got a Roger Clemens insert and couldn't have been happier.3) For Christmas in 1989, my uncle bought us all 1989 Donruss wax boxes, and more importantly, gave us autographs of some guy we had never heard of but was his son's roommate at Eastern Michigan University. I still have the card, a 1989 Fleer John Smoltz autographed card. He's still my all-time favorite non-Cub.
Captain Canuck
I could mention all of the fellow bloggers who I have received gifted cards from, but that would take too long. Same goes for the local collectors who meet up for trade night at one of the local shops. Too many again.That's the greatest thing about this hobby.
If you want specifics, then how about the box of Gypsy Queen I got last week for my birthday?
In 2003 I was going through a seizure study so I was in the hospital for a week and bed bound so my spirits were running very low and my wife (now ex wife) brought our 3 year old son to visit and she brought me a box of 2003 SP Game Used Edition football all to surprise me and my son sat in bed with me and we opened packs together.
Stealing Home
By coincidence I just received a gift of cards from a friend. They were some cheap repacks that were a massive disappointment as far as the cards went. But a nce gesture from a friend. Happy Birthdaaaayyyyyy!!!
Favorite Card gift is from when my girlfriend (now wife) was working abroad for several months including my b-day. She picked up some packs of 2007 Heritage before she left and had a friend of hers mail them w/ a card when My birthday came up. In an era (not that long ago) by before decent phone coverage and Skype it was a fun gift to receive. 
Two years ago I got cards for father's day. It was the first time I got cards as a gift since I was a kid.
Adam Kaningher
My dad got me a 1959 Topps Robin Roberts. I maybe 10 or 11, my little punk self complained about the centering. But it's still in my collection, and it remained my oldest card for a long, long time.
A gift I got when I was probably 10 or 11, and still have, was a wooden trading card box with a hinged lid and my name on the top. It's just about the size of an 800-count box, so it can't hold a huge portion of my collection, but it's a nice box to reserve for special cards.
The Wifey included a repack tin amongst my birthday gifts one year. Target had it on clearance because the plastic wrapping was removed, but it was still sealed. It was the first time I had opened a repack and the first time I was given cards for an occasion. The big advertisement on the tin was that it included a Ken Griffey Jr gold insert. 
Happy birthday and thanks for the contest!
Happy Birthday -when I was 12, my grandfather gave me a stack of cards that he had sitting on his shelf. They sat there my whole life, but he would never let me touch them. Then he gave them to me and I took the rubber band off (yup, I know) and it was a stack of about 25 cards, all 1959 Topps including Mickey Mantle & Al Kaline. Since then, I started working in the set. Only 2 more cards to go! 
Cameron Towe
Every birthday i get a hobby box of cards. I love it and cant wait to rip it open!
Reader Unknown
When I was young I would the baseball cards (Topps). I would eat the gum and give the cards away. Didn't have a clue about collecting or saving my cards....but anyway Happy Birthday🎶🎵🎶♩🎹🎤 2 u!!!
Robert Adams
When I was younger I would buy baseball cards, I would eat the gum and give the cards to my friends. I didn't have a clue about collecting baseball cards or that they would be collectibles, but anyway Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday 🎵🎶🎵🎶🎹🎤 2 U!!!!!
So here are the list of entries.

I went to random.org and generated random number between 2 and 23.

This makes Sports Card Collectors (who is @SportCardCollec on Twitter) the big winner! Congratulations and thanks to everyone who entered and shared their great stories!

Show and Tell #127: The Best Star Wars Cards From Barry a.k.a. @ScoobyDew79

Back around Christmas time 2015, Barry a.k.a. @ScoobyDew79 on Twitter offered around a whole bunch of 1980 Topps Empire Strikes Back cards. I wrote to him telling him I wasn't working on the set but if he couldn't find anyone to take them, I surely would. A few days later I was happy to see a huge box of Empire cards arrive at my door and after sitting around in my pile of unsorted cards for far too long, I finally got around to picking my favorites. 

We begin with "The Snow Walkers" which are really All Terrain Armored Transports or AT-AT for short. Now I've noticed a generational difference in the way the "AT-AT" is said between fans. I grew up saying "AT-AT" like I was saying the word "at" back-to-back. While my nephew who is hugely into The Clone Wars and Rebels tells me it is said using each letter individually "A-T-A-T" which seems ridiculous it is often written AT-AT. I think Principal Skinner knows the answer

This is one of the cards that certainly has a new meaning with release of The Force Awakens. Here is Han trying to fix the hyper-drive which malfunctions throughout the film. Rey is of course Ms. Fix-It on the Millennium Falcon in Episode VII, saving the day a few times throughout the film. 

Next up are two Chewbacca cards. First we have Chewy with an oxygen mask while the Falcon is stuck inside the space slug, which I had no idea was called an Exogorth. And in the Star Wars universe, sightings of Exogorths are considered myths and are like seeing Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster. The other photo is Chewy with windswept snowy fur that would make the hipster with the best beard in Brooklyn jealous.

Certainly this must be considered Billy Dee Williams' rookie card! He will always be Lando Calrissian for many people but he was also Harvey Dent in Tim Burton's first Batman movie (how great would that have been to have Billy Dee turn into Two Face over the course of a Batman film) and Gale Sayers in the legendary TV movie Brian's Song

General Rieekan only has a few seconds of screen time during the Battle of Hoth but the actor Bruce Boa also appears in the James Bond film Octopussy and Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket. For fans of British comedy, however, he will be remembered as the rude American customer Harry Hamilton in Fawlty Towers. 

The rest of the cards can be filed under three easy to separate categories. We begin with...

The Bounty Hunters

As a kid, that bounty hunters scene was the most amazing scene in the second movie. We are introduced to bounty hunters Boba Fett, Dengar, IG-88, Bossk, 4-LOM, and Zuckuss. Although we only see the hunters (other than Boba Fett) for only a few seconds, kids across the country imagined countless stories of the other adventures these villains had been on. 

As far as figures go, I had Boba Fett and Bossk. Bossk's arms always bugged me as they seemed too long (as if I knew how long a Trandoshan's arms should be). I would love to see an anthology Star Wars film that lets us know what the other bounty hunters (other than Boba Fett) did when they left Vader to find Han Solo. 

I always wanted an IG-88 toy figure as I loved the idea of a droid assassin compared to what we get with the Rebel droids with the inept C-P3O and the brave but weak R2-D2.


Next, we have four cards of my one of my favorite Star Wars side characters, Lobot. At the time I wondered was he a man? Was he a cyborg? A combination of both? 

Through the Star Wars expanded universe we learned that Lobot was a man who had a computer installed in his brain to become more efficient in his planning work with the Empire. 

He became friends with Lando and got involved in his criminal enterprises, one of which included stealing the Emperor's space yacht (yes, this really happened in a Marvel comic book called Lando from 2015).

During the theft, Lobot was injured and experienced brain damage which allowed the computer portion of his brain to take over which created the speechless character we see in the film. There is also a deleted scene from the film that shows Lobot being captured by storm troopers.

The Starcraft Cards

Most of the time in movie sets there is nothing worse than the cards that simply explain the movie's action and story points. I prefer a set that provides standard biographical or informational cards for characters and important items. That's why I love the Starcraft cards from the Empire set which gives individual cards for many of the ships featured in the movie. Here are some facts about each craft that you might not know. 

Millennium Falcon fact: the card game that Han Solo won the Falcon with was called Sabacc which is similar to the game 21 but the object is to formulate a hand that adds up to 23. 

Imperial Star Destroyer fact: at the peak of the Empire there were 25,000 destroyers floating around a galaxy far far away which were built by a company called Kuat Drive Yards. The capitalistic side of the Star Wars universe has always interested me but please, please, please don't ever mention trade embargoes!

TIE Fighter fact: the inspiration for the TIE fighter was called the Alpha 3 Nimbus which can be briefly seen in Revenge of the Sith during the Battle of Coruscant.

TIE Bomber fact: the first appearance of this Imperial ship was in Empire when the Falcon was trying to escape through the asteroid field that ended inside the Exogorth.

The Twin-Pod Cloud Car was certainly one of the oddest designed ships as it seemed like you had two pilots controlling one pod. That wasn't the case, however, as the pilot was on the left side and the other pod was occupied by a gunner.

Thanks again Barry and I know I still need to get some cards back to you one of these days! 

April 27, 2016

Excuse Me While I Take Too Many Photos Of Clayton Kershaw

The Braves' horrible start to the 2016 season has created games where the stands are not even half filled and ticket prices are dirt cheap on the secondary market. I figured I had better take advantage of that and the spring weather here in Georgia to see my first Braves game in-person. I chose a day game against the Dodgers and was lucky enough to find out it was three-time Cy Young award winner Clayton Kershaw's scheduled start. 

The Braves have such a decimated roster of players that it's not surprising they have the lowest slugging percentage of any team since the lowering of the pitcher's mound in 1969. So the only batters that made for interesting match ups against Kershaw were Freddie Freeman...

...and fan favorite and Georgia native Jeff Francoeur, who received the loudest round of applause of any Braves player over the course of the game.

Certainly the most exciting 20 minutes of the game began when Kershaw came up to bat for the first time. I love baseball cards featuring pitchers at bat or on the base paths and so seeing baseball's best pitcher put in a position that he isn't so good makes baseball a little more interesting.

He gave the ball a few good swings and made contact by smacking a long drive out to the outfield.

The Braves outfielders played the ball incorrectly and slammed into each other allowing Kershaw to make it to second base.

Watch out, Kershaw's a stealing threat!

Yeah right!

Eventually the Dodgers smacked a hit, allowing Kershaw a chance to come around and score. There was a play at the plate and Kershaw was called out but the play went to review.

Dodgers fans everywhere must have loved their $200+ million dollar pitcher sliding into home. It was incredibly close play and all the Dodgers fans around where we were sitting were certain the call would be overturned. 

In the end, the call was upheld and Kershaw was out at the plate.

Kershaw is one of the most entertaining pitcher that I've seen in person. From the behind the back setting up of the pitch call with the catcher to moving the mitt about his head before the windup, you want to watch each pitch go to the plate.

This is probably my favorite photo from the day. You might notice the baseball that Kershaw threw is just to the fright of the Fox South logo under the cameraman. I also love how the Braves bench are all standing and watching the game and I have to think it is more about checking out the best pitcher in baseball over the past five years than supporting the team. 

Next post = my visit to Turner Field's Braves Museum! 

April 26, 2016

Visiting Turner Field For The First and Probably Last Time

If you aren't an Atlanta Braves fan you may have missed out on the drama that has surrounded the announcement of their new stadium. Back in 2013, the Braves announced that they would not be renewing a lease on their current stadium, Turner Field, and would instead be building a new stadium far north of metro Atlanta in Cobb County beginning in the 2017 season.

Shortly there after there was a rush job getting things passed with the Cobb County government to pay nearly $400 million dollars to help construct the stadium that the Braves really don't need. Atlanta politicians have proposed annexing the stadium grounds to make it part of Atlanta and overall people suspect out-and-out racism in the decision to move away from downtown Atlanta. Statements by Braves leadership (Vice President Mike Plant) don't really help when they say the Turner Field location "doesn't match up with where the majority of our fans come from."

The abandoning of metro Atlanta, coupled with their leadership's wholesale dismantling of pretty much anyone good on the roster (except poor Freddie Freeman) seems to show that they don't seem to care too much about the last two seasons at Turner Field. But anything can be a marketing opportunity, right guys?

As this is going to be the last season at Turner Field (and I totally skipped going at all last year), I had to take advantage of the Braves' horrible start to the season to snag some dirt cheap tickets. I went to last Thursday's game against the Dodgers which has become famous for one super slow pitch by Clayton Kershaw

And so looking around the stadium, my first impression was that you can tell the team doesn't give a crap about the stadium conditions. The seats are faded and certainly looks a little run down...but to be fair that might happen after only a few season in the Georgia sun. 

But more undefensible is how do you let a Hank Aaron memorial end up looking like this? 

A display in the Braves Museum at the stadium also could use a little love.

These are just a few things I saw hanging around the stadium for a few hours. And if you think I'm making a mountain out of a mole hill, the Braves players themselves think the stadium is going down the tubes as well. Earlier in the week, ESPN reported that the players may file a complaint about the conditions of the playing field and how it has gotten worse and worse recently.