Saturday, December 9, 2017

2017 trade package #11: Chronicles of Fuji

For the second straight year Christmas came early thanks to West Coast legend Mark from the Chronicles of Fuji.  Chances are you came over here from this evening's TMV post and saw the generous display of Tigers goodies he sent my way.

Well, in keeping wit the "'Tis the season" theme, Fuji also sent me some Wolverines whose sports are still going strong this time of year:
We'll start with this six-pack of Michigan uni issues straight from Classic's 1992 Four Sport Gold factory set.  Limited to just 9500 (so scarce!) they feature some nice photography and a very good glossy design considering the brand's previous lower-end offerings.

From college football, which is about to enter its pre-bowl game lull for a bit, we begin with LB Erick Anderson and LB Mike Evans, both of whom have appeared here (TK Legacy auto and RC, respectively).  Then we have a pair featuring all-time great Desmond Howard, including a solo card plus one highlighting Des' Heisman victory (as well as that of QB Ty Detmer).  OL Greg Skrepenak, who's also been featured here thanks to my pursuit of Wolverines RCs, rounds out the football bunch with a nice shot of his hand in the dirt.

The product was named Four Sport so it makes sense that hockey was included, and that gives us a card of former UM sniper Denny Felsner.  I'll admit I didn't know much about the 90s LW since he played for the school before I was following that team, but once I looked him up I was duly impressed.  In his four seasons in Ann Arbor he put up a prolific 139 goals and 261 points, including 40+ goals during his upperclassman years.  While that didn't translate to a long NHL career--he saw action with the Blues in just 18 games over four seasons while netting a lone score--he's another good example of the kind of talent that's part of the program's history.
Oh yeah, the NFL is still in session as well, though it's harder to care about that since it continues to be inferior to the college version in many ways.  Still, there's plenty of pro versions of Wolverines to collect, and Fuji was nice enough to hit both of my blog namesakes (all three if you include Granderson!) by tossing in this 2008 UD Masterpieces Framed Blue 150 parallel (#029/150) of Super Mario Manningham.  Michigan was well represented in this excellent product as it includes RCs of Manningham, Chad Henne, and Jake Long on its beautiful artistic design.  And as always, blue is the best parallel color, obviously!  This is definitely a fantastic addition of the former Super Bowl hero.

Again, Mark, thanks for filling up my mailbox with all of this Tigers/Wolverines goodness, and I look forward to returning the favor in time for Christmas!

Saturday, November 25, 2017

2017 Michigan gameday #12: vs. Ohio State

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It's game #12 for Michigan and that means it's time for one of the most anticipated matchups in all of sports:  the Buckeyes against the Wolverines in the 113th edition of The Game.
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It's a rivalry that's seen plenty of highs and lows for the Maize and Blue, and lately it's been the latter with OSU on a five-game winning streak as they've been victorious for 14 of the 16 games since 2001.
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A young and likely overmatched 2017 Michigan squad (8-3) doesn't seem likely to buck that trend against an Ohio State team (9-2) that's largely dominated its competition this season besides losses to Oklahoma and Iowa(!!!) and a nail-biter over Penn State.  Young QB Brandon Peters' health is on the minds of everyone cheering from Ann Arbor and beyond as Jim Harbaugh's team aims for an upset and something positive to take from this somewhat trying season.
The Wolverines were inches from a huge win last year, and while I don't know that it'll be quite that close in the waning minutes of this one, I do know that they have an ace up their sleeve:  TMM co-author and My Sports Obsession writer Jeff will be in attendance.  Could this be the factor that puts Michigan over the top?  Tune in at noon EST, just as Bo would have demanded.



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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

2017 trade package #10: Bob Walk the Plank

If you headed over here from TMV this evening then you already know that Matt of Bob Walk the Plank knocked it out of the park with the three cards I showed off from the trade package he sent me recently.  But did you know he also delivered a perfect strike to the end zone?

Yep, he also sent a Michigan Football card my way while managing to keep the high-end theme most definitely intact:
As if attacking my favorite Tigers player (twice!) with big cards wasn't enough, Matt also targeted my #1 Michigan guy in QB Chad Henne with this 2013 Score End Zone parallel.  Score is one of my favorite products each year because when it comes to their parallels they tend to shun the mistakes others make and give you something that looks like a nicer version of the base card (generally with numbering) instead of a minor change (like something done to the back--one of my pet peeves).  You've probably already gleaned from the scan that my excitement is due to that foil stamp in the lower-left, showing that just six copies of this insert were made.

I also want to give credit to Panini for using a pretty cool photo (on a landscape layout no less), so I decided to do a quick bit of research for some context.  It looks to me as if this was taken from Jacksonville's December 23, 2012 (hey, practically Christmas!) matchup with the visiting Pats.  It just so happens that that game pitted a pair of Wolverine QBs against each other, though neither had a great day.  New England's Tom Brady did enough to win going 24/41 with 267 yards and TD passes to Danny Woodhead and Wes Welker, but he also tossed a pair of picks.  Of course, that was better than Henne's lone touchdown and three interceptions, though he did rack up 348 yards on a 29/51 day.  What's notable, though, is that he added 22 yards on two rushes, including a 15-yarder.  I'm guessing that's the exact play we're seeing above, based on the small amount of the play we can see.

Anyway, I'm geeked to be adding such a low-numbered Henne to my collection in addition to the other crazy stuff I showed off in this evening's other post.  Thanks for the heavy hitters, Matt, and I'll be hitting you back before the year ends!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

2017 trade package #9: Sports Cards From the Dollar Store

Well, that didn't go as well as I'd hoped, but Wisconsin earned their win and I hope they can continue their run to the playoff.

Win or lose, I mostly enjoyed watching the game, which Fox generously interspersed into three hours of commercials.  Since I can't honor a victory for my team, I'll instead celebrate the trademark outstanding effort of Doug from Sports Cards From the Dollar Store and his latest trade package (#47 on this here blog!), a 100% Wolverine special:
Starting things off with basketball, here's the captain of the '89 NCAA champs, Glen Rice, on a super thick numbered base card from 2011-12 UD Exquisite.  I love this image, which appears on other cards I own as well as a commemorative newspaper poster.
And a pair of hits of much more recent Wolverines.  On the left is THC enthusiast Mitch McGary on a 2014-15 Select Rookie Signatures auto (#172/275), a card which has a design that reminds me a lot of Prizm.  That's my fifth hit of the big man and second with an auto.

The other is an enormous jersey swatch from the same year's Court Kings product out of a relic set called Art Nouveau Jerseys.  The subject of this one is none other than Canadian SG Nik Stauskas, a.k.a. Sauce Castillo!  A current 76er, he's seen here with the team that drafted him--the Kings--on a card numbered 077/299.  My first non-plate hit of the Canuck came straight from the source.
Now we'll look at a quick four-spot of football.  The top pair of NFLers, Tom Brady and Devin Funchess, come from a typically solid Donruss set from this year.  Speaking of Funch, check out this great story of how he fulfilled a promise to score a TD (he actually picked up a pair) for the mother of a young solider killed in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, the two Michigan uni cards are two very useful additions to my football RC project.  As you can see, both hail from this year's Panini Prestige product, one you can usually count on for great college photos, and they include Broncos TE Jake Butt and Seahawks WR Amara Darboh, two of Michigan's best receiving weapons last year.  That's my second RC of Butt (the other is from Score, also thanks to Doug) and first of Darboh.

And now for the main event:  hockey, naturally!  This group begins with a trio representing one of several hockey Mikes, in this case Cammalleri, who we'll see again in a bit.  Next is the Ducks' Andrew Cogliano with his original team, Edmonton.  He's followed by what I believe is my first card of Kyle Connor, an absolute sniper in his one year in Ann Arbor, who's one of several former Wolverines working for the Jets.  One of those teammates is Andrew Copp, seen on a pair of UD issues.  Wolverwing Luke Glendening and multi-Cup-winner with the Pens Carl Hagelin round out the scan on cards from the same OPC set as the Connor.

This group begins with a four-card Jack "MF" Johnson party, picturing him with his current team--Columbus--as well as L.A., with whom he made his NHL debut after Carolina drafted him.  Next is a very shiny UD issue of a former Wolverwing (and hockey Mike), Mike Knuble.  Next is a guy who didn't become a future star but has turned in a decent journeyman career:  goalie Al Montoya.  Blog favorite Brendan Morrison makes the cut once again in a SCFtDS package, which is always appreciated.  Ending this scan are David Moss--a guy I saw lots of during my school years in Ann Arbor--and another guy who enjoyed a pretty nice long pro career, defenseman Jeff Norton.

Not only did Doug send me a CanCon guy in Stauskas above, he also included a 2/14 collection player in Eric Nystrom to start of this scan.  He's joined by a pair of Paciorettys, including a die-cut UD card.  Young D-man Jacob Trouba rounds out the Wolverpeg Jets (eh, it's a work in progress) trio with a pair.  And finally, Doug went extra generous here by including a pair of cards of another uber-talented young star, Zach Werenski.  Another Wolverine exiled to Columbus, he put up a nice pair of seasons in Ann Arbor and has been pretty good for the Blue Jackets in one-plus years of pro play.
And if that wasn't generous enough, how about five new cards of Wolverwing star forward Dylan Larkin?  Without actually checking I'm going to bet that this almost doubles my count of Larkin base and inserts, again most of which likely came from across the border.  Awesome!  I may just have to give Dylan his own PC album if I can keep getting cards of him like this.
My pair of hockey hits today begins with this exceptionally cool die-cut dual jersey/auto of Chris Brown, the pride of Flower Mound, Texas.  It's a bit hard to show in the scan, but the die-cutting is done above the top of the jersey image to give it the feel of a hockey sweater.  My ninth hit of brown comes from a word salad of a set called 2013-14 Panini Titanium Home Sweaters Memorabilia Autographs Prime and is numbered 13/25 (almost a Christmas card!).
And the other hit Doug sent carries the name of one of Upper Deck's most iconic autographed offerings.  From 2006-07 SP Authentic, this is a Chirography auto of Cammalleri, a two-time King who was actually with that team for his second stint this season before being sent to Edmonton just a few days ago!  I now own 14 hits of the sniping FW, half of which carry signatures like this one.

Well that was definitely a fun package to sort through and post, especially after being a bit down about the football team's play yesterday.  Thanks again for the usual above-and-beyond effort, Doug (and for being responsible for the last four packages I've shown off here!).  I'm continuing to work on my response so you can have a merry cardmas!

Saturday, November 18, 2017

2017 Michigan gameday #11: at Wisconsin

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Stop me if you've heard this one before:  ESPN GameDay is in town as Michigan goes on the road for a tough matchup with an undefeated top-5 conference foe.  This time the 8-2 Wolverines head west to Madison to face the 10-0 Badgers, owners of one of the weakest schedules in the country.  They've done their job, though, beating opponents into submission with a beefy ground-based attack and stout defense.  This is a team whose identity (and city) are very similar to their Big Ten foes.

The parallels to the week 7 game with Penn State may be there, but this is a Michigan squad that's largely changed since then.  The running game has established itself behind star back Karan Higdon, plus RS freshman Brandon Peters has somewhat stabilized the questionable QB position.

We're in for a typical fall Big Ten conference tilt and I'm looking for Jim Harbaugh's team to sneak an upset away from a very good Wisconsin team looking ahead to their conference championship game appearance.  A lot will have to go right for the Wolverines, a young group that will have to break their habit of drive-killing mistakes and seize every opportunity, but I give the team a fighting chance as they linger on the outside of the division title talk.  Beat Bucky and set up another huge matchup for The Game next Saturday.



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Sunday, November 12, 2017

2017 COMC purchases: Hart, Henne, Manningham, Woodson

That quartet just doesn't roll off the tongue like Garvey, Cey, Russell, Lopes, does it?  That's ok, I wouldn't want to change this here blog's name to something so derivative, even in an homage to the legendary GCRL.

So it's past time for me to finish covering my COMC pickups from earlier this year so I can maybe be ready to post whatever I get during the Black Friday sales before 2018!  As you might have guessed, this post will center on my original four football PCs (to which I recently added Adrian Arrington and Braylon Edwards, with more possibly on the way).  Let's get to it!
We'll start with a single Mike Hart, this 2008 Bowman Sterling Refractor auto (#021/199).  There's pretty much no such thing as a bad Refractor, and I really like this shiny Chrome-like card that comes with Hart's excellent signature.  That gives me three from the product as I already had the base and Gold Refractor version of this.  That's 66 Hart hits for me and 112 cards overall.
Chad Henne is tied for getting the most new cards today, and that's not exactly a huge surprise for my #1 football PC guy.  His nine-card haul begins with a pair of inserts:  a 2008 Finest Moments Refractor and a 2011 Prestige Xtra Points Gold (#125/250) parallel.  Refractors and numbered cards go together like meat and potatoes as far as I'm concerned!
And now we move on to Hitsville, starting with a pair of vertical cards.  On your left is a 2008 Donruss Gridiron Gear Next Generation Jerseys Autographs Prime jersey auto (#05/25), and wow is that a mouthful.  The jersey swatch is indeed nicer than the usual, so "prime" it is, though as usual the real win here is the signature.  Speaking of those, does the next card look familiar?  Yep, it's the autographed version of the Finest insert above!  If I haven't mentioned it before, that card highlights Henne's performance in Michigan's surprising 2008 Capital One Bowl victory over Florida.
And then some horizontal Henne.  Card #1 is Chad's 2008 Leaf Limited dual jersey auto RC (#60/99), which includes another "prime" jersey, one that includes some hints of orange in the "R". 

Next up is a manupatch auto/RC from another 2008 Panini product, Leaf Rookies and Stars.  These patches are great for signatures and of course I love the college versions (of which I have a few). 

After that we have yet another example of a 2008 SPx issue (my 10th of Henne from the product), this one a Rookie Materials Logo X Logo Triple 75 triple jersey (#15/75).  I grab those whenever I find them for around $1.50 or less. 

Next is my favorite card of the bunch and it's not even autographed:  a 2008 Topps Triple Threads Relic Red triple jersey (#10/17) with the relic windows spelling out "U of M".  The "of" section includes a hint of a patch along the right side, and the "M" almost looks like it could be from a blue college jersey?

Finally we have a fairly simple jersey relic from 2011 Donruss Elite Power Formulas (#153/299).  It's not nearly as exciting as the rest of the cards, but a hit is a hit and it was cheap!

This bonanza keeps Henne way above the huddling masses yearning to be free with a hit count of 111 and 220 cards overall (hey, more than half are hits!  I can math!)

The day's other big winner was blog namesake Mario Manningham.  You could even go so far as to say that tracking down all of these new additions was a super Mario odyssey! #topical

We'll start with this quartet of Refractor-y/numbered-y inserts.  From way back in Manningham's rookie season of 2008 we have a Select Hot Rookies (#463/999) insert and Topps Chrome Blue Refractor.  As always, blue is the best Refractor color.  Speaking of that parallel, I grabbed one from 2011 Finest as well, though the design doesn't lend itself as well to showcasing the pleasing effect.  Going back to the Topps parallel well one more time, our last insert is a 2013 Topps Pink (#023/399), which is well known as an insert that promotes breast cancer awareness.

Moving on to the hits, we'll start with my seventh example of a Manningham card from 2008 Absolute Memorabilia, a Rookie Premiere Materials NFL dual jersey/ball (#145/199) relic.  I can also lay claim to his autographed version of that card, which is also a RC, plus a similar variant that spells out "NFC" instead.

Better yet, let's add a shoe piece and signature to the mix on the other upright Mario, a Leaf Certified Materials Mirror Blue Signatures jersey/shoe/ball auto (#089/100).  Obviously blue works well weather we're talking Refractors or mirror parallels.  I hope to add more of his LCM cards to my collection because the ones I have of his former teammates look fantastic.
And now we'll go horizontal for a big Manningham finish.  You already saw this design a few minutes ago so I'm sure you'll remember that we're looking at a trio of 2008 SPx cards.  First is a Green Holofoil parallel of his triple jersey/auto/RC (#074/199).  It's a cool pickup but still, boo green! 

Next is an NFL Letters Dual Patch 50 (#28/50), so named for its serial numbering.  I didn't realize this was a double for me when I picked it up but I decided to include it today since it's an upgrade, and I'm therefore replacing my other version.  Fortunately I happen to know a Giants collector who'll like the other one I'd been keeping, along with a pair of inserts I didn't show off as I already had those as well without realizing it.

Last up is another dual patch, this time a little more common (#17/99) and in the "SPX" shape.  While the swatches aren't quite as interesting as the 50 card's, which includes two colors and stitching on each piece, the red from his Giants jersey is very striking.

These few Marios--there's never enough, you know--jump him ahead of Mike Hart in the hit count to fourth place with 68, plus his overall PC moves up to a solid 147.
We'll close this post on a strong note with Wolverines legend Charles Woodson.  The amazing DB, who just turned 41 last month and could still run circles around most teams' corners, rightfully commands a premium, so I get what I can.  In this case it was just one card, but an extremely cool one that I'm still excited about months after purchasing it.  From 2016 Panini Prizm Draft Picks this is a Helmet Die Cut insert that pairs the sport's top helmet with one of its top all-time players.  Well done, Panini!  This was a great addition as my 120th card in his collection.

That's it for COMC for now, but I'm sure to have more goodies in a few weeks thanks to Black Friday, and in the meantime I'm not exactly dealing with a dearth of items to post thanks to eBay, trade packages, and Sportlots, the latter of which will feature the four guys you saw today.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

2017 Michigan gameday #10: at Maryland

Fresh off of a dominating win--on the ground as well as the other side of the ball--against Minnesota, a 7-2 Michigan team heads to Maryland for a 3:30 tilt with the Terps.  It's the Wolverines' final conference meeting before the big one-two punch of Wisconsin and Ohio State to close out the regular season.

Former Michigan DC D.J. Durkin's Terps won three of their first four games, including what was originally a surprise victory over ranked Texas to start the year.  Unfortunately, things have gone off the rails from there, especially due to key injuries--Maryland has as many QBs left on the roster as Wisconsin has quality wins this year--and they've added just a single victory since.

Meanwhile, the Wolverines shook off their blowout loss at Penn State with solid defeats of Rutgers and Minnesota that featured plenty of ground-and-pound on both sides of the ball, a.k.a. Michigan's signature style.  They'll look to carry that momentum into this afternoon's contest, which seems likely to look like the last two.  Maryland has a few offensive weapons but it seems unlikely they'll get anything going against the stout Wolverine defense, while the multi-headed RB monster for Michigan should be able to carry the team to victory.

Michigan needs plenty of help to earn its way to the Big Ten Championship Game so the focus should be on what they can control:  just keep winning games.  That work continues out east this afternoon.



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