Friday, March 16, 2018

2017 COMC purchases: hitsville UM-S-A

The finish line is in sight--just one more post after this one and I'll be all caught up on 2017 purchases!

Today's post stars all of the football hits I picked up of players that aren't current PCs of mine.  That ended up being a nice round 10, a nice number for one post.  Let's have a look at them:
Item #1 is the biggest, literally:  a 1997 Leaf Signature 8x10 auto of WR Derrick Alexander.  Limited (but not serial numbered) to 4000 copies, this will be a great piece to display with my other larger signed Michigan stuff.  It hails from a set of 108 such oversized signatures, one that also includes Wolverines Tim Biakabutuka, Todd Collins, Elvis Grbac, and Jim Harbaugh (not to mention lots of other stars).  Maybe I need to start a project and call it the "Wall of FaMe"!  Anyway, this is my seventh hit of Alexander.
Sticking with the same position and letter of the alphabet, here's Jason Avant's 2008 Playoff Prestige Rookie Review Materials Prime jersey (#023/100).  The "review" part comes into play when you realize that it uses the 2006 design for Avant's card (that was his rookie year), though it also includes a different photo than the original.  Here's that rookie from 2006 plus the regular jersey version of this card for comparison:
As you can clearly tell the Prime version is a huge upgrade on the decent regular old jersey with three clear colors and lots of stitching.  I was glad to make it my 48th hit of the longtime Eagles receiver.
As usual everything today is presented in alphabetical order and yet I find myself in the midst of a four-receiver run!  That continues here with former Cardinal Steve Breaston way back in 2007 when he signed his whole name instead of just "SB".  This is his Bowman Sterling rookie auto from that year, one I would have thought I had except it turns out what I did own was the Refractor version.  While it's not a favorite design of mine it works fine, plus it gets me up to 27 hits of the former WR/special-teamer.
Today's last WR is one of the more recent ones to jump to the NFL:  Amara Darboh.  The Seattle draft pick appears here on a Panini XR Red jersey auto (#16/75) from last year.  I was happy to get both a signature and large relic swatch even before considering the low price--$2.17--of this fun bunch of shininess.  I guess others' dislike of sticker autos just works in my favor sometimes!  While I won't try to claim XR is a necessary brand I like what I ended up with here, my second hit of a guy I hope to see last in the league for a while.
In general I would say that I've preferred Leaf's Certified design to those from its Limited counterpart over the years, but that doesn't mean the latter is exactly chopped liver.  Consider the above card, a rookie auto of former star CB Leon Hall from the 2007 iteration (#60/99).  It's pretty typical for a medium-end card done by that manufacturer around 10 years ago which means it's right in my wheelhouse.  It also represents another addition to my group of Halls--38 in all after today--that continues to make him one of the more represented players in my football PC.
Three cards in today's post prove that you can find some of your favorite defensive players on cardboard--even if they're underrepresented--as long as you're willing to put in the effort.  Besides Hall's above plus the one you'll see at the very end, retired tackling machine LB David Harris--who almost went out on a high note with the Pats after suffering through the dysfunction of the Jets--makes another hit-related appearance here on this 2011 Panini Threads Gridiron Kings Materials Prime jersey (#37/99).  The canvas-like artistic design is probably a bigger highlight than the "prime" relic, which is just a bit of green and white with some stitching, but for as cheap as this card was I couldn't resist snagging it to bolster Harris' total, which now stands at a solid 27.
The third of my four rookie autos today is this one of Heisman finalist RB Chris Perry from 2004 Ultimate Collection (#152/250).  That's one of those higher-end products that I'm always glad others buy so I can scoop up the singles I want on the cheap.  Maybe whoever pulled this one at the time was excited about landing a big card of a first-rounder but they sure wouldn't be today since I got it for under $2!  I'm generally fine with the design, though it's admittedly not very exciting, and Perry's signature has never been one to write home about.  Still, it's great to pick up one of his autos from a high-end product on the cheap!  Make it 51 hits of the former Michigan great.
Now we'll move on to a much more recent back who's making his hits collection debut:  De'Veon Smith.  The four-year RB didn't come in with as much fanfare as others but put together a solid college career that culminated in leading the backfield of the 2016 that went 10-3 in attempts, yards, and TDs and receptions (tied with the "Hammering Panda", Khalid Hill, on both counts).  He's one of the few guys that didn't get drafted in 2017 but latched on with the Dolphins.

I was excited to land a college uni signature of him (he does have a few licensed ones in Panini brands) from 2017 Leaf Metal Draft (even if the airbrushing makes it look more like he's playing for Notre Dame here).  It's always tough sledding for undrafted guys to last long in the pros but maybe Smith can carve out a career.
The second oldest card in today's bunch is this 2002 UD Authentics American Authentics Level 1 auto of the A-Train, Anthony Thomas.  The design isn't terribly exciting but I'm a fan of having the cut out area for signatures sometimes, and Thomas's never fails to impress me.  Honestly, you could probably slap that on a card as ugly as a recent Topps design and I'd have a difficult time passing on it!  It's almost milestone time again here at TMM as this is my 49th hit of Anthony's.
I'm glad to be able to end on a high note (as if anything else from today would be a disappointment) with a letter manupatch/auto.  It happens to be my first of Super Bowl champ LaMarr Woodley, quite possibly the first I've seen available.  It's from 2007 SP Rookie Threads--some of the best letter cards you'll find--and is part of the nameplate that spells out his last name.  You might recall that a while ago I completed Leon Hall's from the same product:
As is the case with Hall's cards this one's #d to 250 (#037 in this case) and has rarer parallel versions.  They may not hit all the great design notes of the 2008 version but I still love the chase for another nameplate!  In a mini milestone of sorts I've finally gotten Woodley to double digits with his 10th hit.

Almost done!  Stay tuned for one last post as I really go out with a bang by showing off a buttload of football PC cards--rookies, inserts, hits, and more!--soon.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

2017 COMC purchases: serial-nUMbered insanity

I'm back with more football stuff today, and I sure hope you like inserts because that's what you're getting--a LOT of them, in fact.  Shiny, die-cut, numbered, Refractor-ized, or some combination thereof.  These cards span the years 1995-2013 (you'll see more in my player collections post) and run the gamut of brands, designs, and sanity, not to mention numbering--about 75% of them, in fact, from 5000 on down to 99.  So let's have a look at 25 players' worth of new inserts!
The opening trio of Derrick Alexanders is fun because you'll see all three insert sets again in this post at least once.  1997 Pinnacle Totally Certified Platinum Red (#d /4999) appears a bunch, 1998 Black Diamond Rookies Triple (#d /1500) once more, and Score's Scorecard parallel (especially the 2000 version seen here, #d /2000) quite a bit.

FB B.J. Askew and WR Jason Avant make cameos on parallels from 2004 Playoff Honors and 2010 Topps, respectively.  The action photo used on the Avant card is fantastic.

Only one of Tim Biakabutuka's cards is numbered--the Platinum Red--but all three of his cards are fun, especially the hologram Big Bang from 1996 Skybox's Skymotion.

Stevie Brown doesn't have a lot of cardboard but I did find his 2013 Topps Gold on which he appears to be returning yet another INT.
Former QB Todd Collins is another player for whom I found at least three new inserts.  The die-cut is from a 1997 set called Excalibur Overlords, the Platinum Red is old news by now, and I also came up with one of Pacific's fun numbered cards from one of its trademark wacky designs, 1998 Revolution Shadows (#23/99).

Super Bowl winner Brandon Graham gains entry to the Scorecard club with the 2010 parallel of his rookie from that year's set.

CB Leon Hall comes to us with three numbered parallels:  a Blue Refractor version of his 2007 Finest RC (#068/299) plus Certified Mirror Blue (#082/100) and Topps Gold (#1315/2010) parallels from 2010.  The blue pair is especially cool.

Retired LB David Harris's Topps Gold comes from the following year, but the other insert, 2012 Absolute Gridiron Force Spectrum (#029/100), is notable because Harris isn't actually in the base set, just this insert (and its non-numbered regular version).
Get a load of those "Crazy Legs" on Elroy Hirsch in his 2001 Bowman Chrome Rookie Reprint!  The Refractorized card reminds me that I need to track down a copy of the original someday.

Desmond Howard's 1995 Bowman's Best Refractor represents the earliest card in this post, and I'm glad to add his to the others I own from that set.

Cato June is another guy that didn't get much hobby love but I did find his 2007 Topps Copper parallel (#0155/2007).

I almost ended up with a quartet of Chris Perry Refractors--2004 Topps Chrome, 2005 Bowman Chrome Blue, 2006 Topps Draft Bronze comprise the trio--but a 2008 Leaf Limited Bronze Spotlight (#081/125) was the combo breaker.

And TE Jay Riemersma appears on an Ultra Gold Medallion parallel before a much more interesting 2001 Pacific numbered card called Hobby LTD (#77/99).  You'll see a couple more from this product over the rest of the post.
WR Tai Streets gets in on the Refractor action thanks to 2000 Topps Chrome, plus he joins Riemersma in 2001 Pacific on a Retail LTD parallel (#d /299) instead of hobby, and is part of the Score Scorecard club too, in this case the 2003 version.

David Terrell and Anthony Thomas are reunited here and it feels so good.  The former arrives via a 2002 Topps Chrome Refractor (#509/599) which looks fantastic with the black border.  His RB counterpart appears on a pair of 2002 Fleer-branded parallels:  Flair Collection (#105/200) and Maximum To the Max (#027/250).  We'll see him again shortly.

Beefy RB Tyrone Wheatley is the first from a pair of '96 Donruss Press Proofs I found.  These differ from the base thanks to the "First 2,000 Printed" and "Press Proof" gold stamps plus having the helmet die-cut out of the upper-right corner.

Fearsome defender LaMarr Woodley closes out the scan with Topps Gold parallels from 2011 and 2012, joining the 2010 version I already had.
Here are the three horizontal cards that weren't part of the larger groups of players you'll see next.  RB Leroy Hoard's 1995 Absolute Die Cut Helmets translucent insert was a fun find out of the blue.  And A-Train added to his tally with a couple numbered 2002 cards:  Donruss Elite Back to the Future (#163/800) and 2002 Leaf Rookies and Stars Standing Ovation (#2048/2500).
WR Steve Breaston is the first of the five players for whom I found enough cards to give them their own scans, and all seven of the cards you see above are of the numbered variety.  Steve joins Leon Hall with a 2007 Finest Blue Refractor parallel of his RC, then gets in on the Scorecard fun with his 2008 version that's paired with a Gold Zone parallel (#368/400) from the same product.

A team colors-appropriate Red parallel from Topps' 2009 Unique product (#539/799) is next, and that's followed by a couple 2010 Panini-branded variations:  Crown Royale Blue (#007/100) and Gridiron Gear Gold X's (#061/100).  A Mirror Blue parallel from 2012 Certified (#047/100) joins this group of inserts unique to Breaston in this post.
QB Elvis Grbac is up next with nine cards, though one doesn't count as an insert.  First up is a great double-sided offering from 1997 Leaf called Run and Gun, and while Grbac is up front the better talent lies on the other side:
HOFer Marcus Allen.  Do I need a "90s inserts rule" tag for this blog too?

Yet another Certified Platinum Red from the same year joins the ranks, and that's followed by a deceptive card I thought was an insert but is actually a team checklist from the base set of 1999 Absolute SSD.

Getting back to actual inserts the next card is a cool one from '99 Donruss Preferred called QBC National Treasures (#0604/2000) which is an early mention of the moniker that would go on to be a high-end product.

A pair from 2000 is up next:  Scorecard once again, then a Premiere Date parallel (#089/138) from Pacific's Vanguard brand.  It seems like Pacific usually put the serial numbers up front but in this case it's visible on the back.  The opposite is true of another 2001 Pacific card, again a Retail LTD parallel, which I've always thought looked great on probably my favorite Pacific flagship base design.

A horizontal Leaf Rookies and Stars insert from 2002 called Great American Heroes (#1523/2000) and Brass Coin from 1998 Pinnacle Mint close out Grbac's bunch.  I have a decent number of the baseball versions of these coins but very few from football.
Brian Griese is #2 in a run of three QBs, and once again everything you see here is numbered.  We'll start with the year 2000, which includes a Black Diamond Gold (#0361/1000) version as well as a Donruss insert called Dominators (#4225/5000), which is the winner for highest numbered card by one over the '97 Platinum Reds.  The latter is surprisingly plain for a Donruss insert.

2001 brings another pair, starting with Fleer's E-X Essential Credentials (#236/299), a name I remember from my earlier collecting days, and Pacific's Invincible Red (#432/750), one that appears elsewhere in my inserts collection.

As we move ahead another year we're treated to another Fleer brand parallel with Box Score's First Edition (#020/100), then one of my favorite cards in the whole post, a Championship Ticket from 2002 Contenders (#088/250).  For some reason the combination of color and holographic foil is very pleasing to my collecting eye.  I consider it a cool yearly parallel regardless.

Our last pair (there's an odd number, obviously) hails from 2005, starting with a Silver parallel from Bowman (#118/200) and a Gold one from Leaf Rookies and Stars Longevity (#146/199).  Sorry, I don't have anything bronze to go with those!

Last up we head all the way back to Griese's rookie year of 1998 and another instance of Upper Deck's Black Diamond brand in the form of an insert called Sheer Brilliance (#0045/1400).  His future surely looked brilliant after winning a national title the previous season and getting drafted as a potential heir to John Elway.
While I managed to add seven cards of current Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh only two of them are numbered since the bulk of his career was spent before that was a trend.  The first two you see here--Press Proofs from 1996 Donruss and Leaf--are limited to just 2000 copies, they just aren't stamped.  The Donruss version includes the helmet die-cut like the Wheatley earlier, and the Leaf card goes a step further in taking bites out of either side to give it a bit more of an hourglass shape.

Joining them are another pair of 96s, in this case from Topps brands.  One is the Pacific-like Pro Bowl insert from Stadium club while the other is an insert called Tide Turners from the debut of Topps Chrome.  Jim was both a Pro Bowler and named AP Comeback Player of the Year in '95 so the Chrome card certainly makes sense.

Then our numbered cards appear back-to-back with another 1998 Black Diamond Rookies Triple (#0557/1500) and 2000 Score Scorecard (#1566/2000).  Something tells me I should try to pick up the 2000 Score set at some point since it's obviously chock full of Wolverines!

We'll end his bunch on a high note with some Dufex coolness in the form of a horizontal Trophy Collection parallel from 1996 Pinnacle.  Those cards are great as-is, and so is the design from that year, but the photo selection really makes for a winner here.
Amani Toomer is the other WR in this triple-decker QB sandwich.  While his recent derogatory comments about the state of the team--from a guy who doesn't appear to make any effort to make a connection with his alma mater, no less--irked me quite a bit, I don't tend to make my collecting decisions based on stuff like that.  So don't be too surprised that he was the biggest winner of this COMC run with 12 new cards.

Toomer was yet another player that appeared in the '97 Totally Certified Platinum Red insert, but I also found his Blue version (#1882/2499), definitely more appropriate for a Michigan guy.  A '99 Topps Stars parallel creatively named Parallel (#168/299) finishes off the late 90s group while an early iteration of Absolute's Tools of the Trade name (#0503/1000) begins the 2000s, which is when the rest of Amani's cards cards for today were produced.

For those we jump ahead a few years where Topps Chrome Refractors from 2004 and '05 sandwich an Upper Deck Foundations Exclusive Gold (#063/100) parallel, also from '04.  Then 2006 brings a nice looking Gold version of the familiar Elite Series from Donruss Elite (#0134/1000) and the penultimate Scorecard parallel (#521/750) for this post.

A 2007 Bowman Chrome XFractor (#081/250) is the sole example of that type of insert today, but for a good reason--I already own the Refractor from that year.  Then we finish up in 2008 with a Scorecard insert that's not from flagship Score, but its Select version (#049/100) instead, and a Topps Gold Border (to differentiate it from the useless Gold Foil inserts) printed during his sunset season.

As always I had a blast searching high and low (especially low!) on COMC for these new additions to my football inserts PC, finding all kinds of designs that caught my eye.  And as I mentioned I still have some others to show off in the player collections post that will be the finale of this series soon.  Until then, which ones do each of you like the best?

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

2017 COMC purchases: new year, Rookie Blue year

As I mentioned at the end of my last post we're headed away from the court and ice and onto the gridiron for the rest of this series.  Today's additions are all heading to my football RC collection as I continue to chase almost 1500 cards of almost 200 players (both of which are numbers that will look hilariously out-of-date before much longer!).  14 cards, 11 players--let's do it!
First of all, it's been quite a while since I scanned these so I don't know why this one only has five cards instead of six like the next one.

Anyway, we'll start with FB B.J. Askew on a gorgeous 2003 Donruss Classics card (#296/900) that combines an excellent design with my favorite type of photo.  Current RC count:  21/27

Next is one of the few first-years I still needed of sure-handed WR Jason Avant, this one out of Topps' 2006 Turkey Red product.  I think I preferred TR as an insert instead of its own product, but at least the cards look nice.  Current RC count:  20/22

Former Lions OL Jeff Backus is the star of our other Michigan uni card for the day.  The 18th overall pick of the 2001 draft (one behind future HOFer Steve Hutchinson) is seen here in a set called Topps Debut (#0145/1499), which is just my second rookie of his.  Current RC count:  2/5

The last player in the scan is former national champ and journeyman NFL QB Brian Griese, who comes to us from two decades ago in 1998.  These hail from Leaf Rookies and Stars and Playoff Momentum (the Hobby version).  More on the latter in just a bit.  I'm getting to the point where the ones I still need are starting to get pretty rare.  Current RC count:  32/39
Recently retired Jets/Patriots LB and tackling machine David Harris kicks off this scan with the always confusing Leaf Rookies and Stars Longevity product (from 2007), as always not to be confused with the base product parallel of the same name.  These shinier cards have the same numbering (/999) as the non-Longevity product, and this one is #612/999.  Current RC count:  22/24

For a guy who appears on as many rookies as he does I don't really get to show off many new cards of the next player, TE Bennie Joppru, so I'm glad to have a pair of them today.  On the left is the weird 2003 Playoff Hogg Heaven product (#0213/1000) which looks even worse when compared to the excellent Playoff Honors (#073/550) on the right.  By the way, I must be paying more attention than I usually do because I actually noticed the fact that he's wearing two different jersey numbers there!  Current RC count:  22/32

I done didn't mess up the scan of the next player, TE A-A-Ron Shea--his 2000 Playoff Momentum RC (#188/750) was just a bit too shiny to scan very well.  I'd call it a fun reminder of the craziness and abundance of choice from the early part of the previous decade.  Current RC count:  7/15

Now it's time to move up a year with David Terrell and another somewhat confusing card.  For whatever reason both of his base issues from Upper Deck's 2001 UD Graded set are considered RCs; both are #52 and are #d /500.  The only difference is the photo used, with the variation being a portrait as opposed to what you see above (which is #354/500).  Sometimes cards hurt my brain.  Current RC count:  26/53

The last guy in this scan is another star WR, Marquise Walker, and he comes to us in this close-up from 2002 Sweet Spot (#0696/1050).  Walker's card in the set is special in that pretty much the rest of the first-years are action shots while he gets a nice portrait.  Current RC count:  29/50

I was originally going to end the post there but then I decided to include three more cards that you'll be seeing in a future post that focuses on my player collections:
Shoelace makes a non-remotely-rare appearance here on one of the last few rookies of him I still needed, 2003 Absolute (#181/199).  While I still have to track down the retail version I was glad to have found this shinier, rainbow foil version first.  And I paired it with a few things I think some of you will find pretty interesting!  Current RC count:  24/27
And here's a pair of aces I was excited to land.  Well, aces in the sense that they're RCs of the legendary Charles Woodson, at least.  The 1998 Collector's Edge Masters card (#1615/5000) is decent, though not my cup of tea.  But the Playoff Momentum Retail card on its right is atrocious and a good illustration of why I hate hobby/retail versions.  For comparison's sake, here's the Hobby card next to the Retail from above:
U wot m8?  Playoff is a brand I generally liked but what the hell were they thinking making a decent hobby version, then covering up half the card with a butt-fugly football pattern that was probably made in MS Paint?  The card on the left is pre-2006 Topps and the right one is everything after.  The hobby card is Scott Baio on Charles in Charge and the retail is Scott Baio, Fox News commentator.  Woof!  Current RC count:  39/43

That's it for today but I still have plenty to show you in the next three posts so stay tuned!

Monday, March 5, 2018

2017 COMC purchases: basketball and hockey

Welcome to the first of what will likely be five posts in which I finally conclude a look at my 2017 purchases by covering everything I nabbed from COMC late last year.

Today's post covers both basketball and hockey since I didn't pick up much of either (as usual):
Darius Morris 2012-13 Immaculate Collection Printing Plates Yellow (1/1)
Nik Stauskas 2014-15 Spectra Global Icons Printing Plates Yellow (1/1)
Like I said, I really don't chase basketball very much, but how could I pass up this pair of plates for around $11 combined?  The top one is my second 1/1 of Morris, the former Laker who's now playing in China, and it represents my 12th hit of him overall, good enough to break the tie with fellow former Laker (among other teams) Cazzie Russell.

If two plates out of 12 hits seems pretty good, prepare to be impressed by Nik "Sauce Castillo" Stauskas.  The Canadian star (whose plate is definitely far yellower than Morris' above) appears on a 1/1 on four of his six hits in my basketball collection.  That's crazy!  What's just as cool is that I now have double-digit 1/1s in all four sports of my Michigan PCs, and a pretty sweet 97 overall--and this is only my first COMC post in this bunch so who knows what might happen to that number soon!
Shawn Hunwick 2012-13 Panini Prime Dual Jerseys dual jersey (with Dalton Prout) (#011/200)
Shawn Hunwick 2012-13 Panini Prime Prime Time Rookies Jersey Autographs jersey auto (#20/50)
These next two are the first additions to my Shawn Hunwick PC since last October--as I find myself saying too often, his cards can be hard to find at reasonable prices for whatever reason.  Both are from 2012-13 Panini Prime--part of the excellent Rookie Anthology Product--and that's no surprise since Hunwick appears on 15 cards under that title (not including 1/1s).  This pair doubles my count to four of those, and some toughies await including three numbered to five copies and one limited to just three.  I'll take 'em as I find 'em.

I didn't know a thing about Prout so I looked him up and found out that he lasted with Columbus far longer than Shawn did, though he's most recently been associated with New Jersey.  The card he shares with the former Michigan goalie is the only such issue I have in Hunwick's collection so far.

Meanwhile the auto/jersey is far more interesting by virtue of including a signature along with a huge jersey swatch.  Just another example of Panini doing it the right way, I guess!

I now lay claim to 27 of Hunwick's 71 non-1/1s, 30 overall, and 15 hits.
We'll end the day with one more goalie on a flat-out cool card, one you'd be forgiven for mistaking for a Pacific product.  This Marty Turco Hot Gloves insert actually hails from an Upper Deck/McDonald's partnership from 2006-07.  It's die-cut in the shape of a goalie's catcher, and the main characteristic differentiating it from a Pacific-produced card is that it doesn't feature manufactured "netting", or die-cutting in that area at all.  But that doesn't take away from its very cool design, one that's definitely worthy of my favorite goalie's PC.

Come back soon for more COMC goodies as we go on a four post football run!

Thursday, February 22, 2018

2018 trade package #4: My Sports Obsession

The other day I was excited to come home to a surprise PWE from fellow Michigan collector and occasional contributor to this here blog Jeff of My Sports Obsession.  Jeff knows how much I love getting new Wolverines cards, and I couldn't imagine that the White Sox fan (for whatever reason) would spend any money on cards of the far superior Tigers, so I figured it would be something for one of the many collections I show off here, but what?

Once I tore through the envelope I was happy to find the result of Jeff's daily eBay searching (I'm assuming) paid off nicely for me in the form of a new player for my football PC:
The 208th different member of that collection is DL Chris Wormley on an auto/RC from Panini's 2017 Contender's Draft Picks!

Wormley was a four-year Wolverine who appeared in 42 games between 2013 and 2016.  Over those campaigns he piled up 31.5 TFL (including a career-high 14.5 in 2015) and 17.5 sacks, and all that was good enough for him to get selected by the Ravens in the 3rd round of the 2017 draft (a.k.a. the one that was absolutely stacked with his teammates).  He even appeared in seven games for Baltimore last year.

It took me a minute to realize which product I was looking at here since I'm generally more familiar with "regular" Contenders, which includes vets and rookies in their pro uniforms.  Since 2015 Panini has also made the Draft Picks version like you see above, where everybody is pictured with the college where they made their names before the pros.  Naturally that product gets more respect from me (though of course I still very much like the original).

All in all it's a great looking card for the first of what I hope is many hits of Wormley.

Thanks, Jeff!  I have a few things set aside for you and will surely have more by the time the spring game rolls around, so hopefully I'll see you then!

Monday, February 19, 2018

2018 trade package #3: Bob Walk the Plank

Welcome to those of you who came here from my TMV post this evening showing off two big-time high-end hits from Matt of Bob Walk the Plank!  Many of you know him as a fellow college collector, and in his case he chases stuff of the Mountaineers of West Virginia.  Trading with college collectors is the best since they always put more effort into tracking down items of guys you collect, and I'll emphasize the "effort" part of that because it's more involved than simply finding guys wearing a pro uniform.

That's why I appreciate all of you who send me Wolverines cards, whether they're in pro or college duds.  Fortunately for me, the card I get to show off here tonight from Matt is an example of the latter:
Sauce Castillo!  Just like Matt gets to say "The original Frank Thomas!" when someone sends him Pirates cards of that guy, or "Spanky!" when Mike LaValliere shows up, I get to yell "Sauce Castillo!" when Stauskas' mug graces this here blog.

I got to mention Nik in my first trade post earlier this month (from Scribbled Ink) and now he's back on this totally awesome SPx Winning Big Materials jersey from 2014-15.  The Winning Materials name goes way back in SPx history and it's always been a great looking relic design, especially these larger versions.  And I mean the maize swatch is a big winner here, just a fantastic piece from my alma mater's colors.  It's my fifth Stauskas (one other jersey and three(!) plates) in the basketball PC.

Thanks again for this big addition of the big man, Matt!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

2017 Sportlots purchases: bringing the Wood, son

I've got one post left in my series covering my huge Sportlots purchase over on TMV, but that's gonna wait (at least) one more day as I feature the final football guy over here:  Charles Woodson.  As was the case on the other blog, the player featured in the finale is the one for whom I landed the most new cards, and that was definitely the case with Woodson.  What did I land, and how many?  Keep reading to find out!
My haul begins with 1999 because the previous year is pretty much RC stuff, most of which I have.  So we'll start with second-years from an earlier incarnation of Absolute as well as Bowman Chrome.  Then begins a huge run of a company many of you might have forgotten or weren't aware of in the first place:  Collector's Edge.  Considering it produced its final cards the following year, meaning it's been almost 20 since they came out, you could definitely be forgiven for your ignorance or lack of awareness.

The product titles here include Advantage, First Place, Fury, Masters, and Supreme, with a couple Gold Ingot parallels thrown in.
The CE name claims the first two cards here--another Gold Ingot parallel plus a set called Triumph.  Then it's off to more familiar territory.  The next pair hails from Donruss:  the flagship product as well as Elite, a couple I'm happy to see standing strong today.  Speaking of strong brands, I grabbed a pair from that year's Finest as well, and that's another set whose quality was top notch for a while.  A classic Fleer Tradition design leads into two products still available today:  (Leaf) Certified and Rookies and Stars.
Here's a scan with a lot to like, especially a cool Playoff Prestige SSD (hobby) design, Score, Stadium Club, and Topps Chrome.  Stadium Club is a product that worked for every sport and I'm disappointed that NFLers won't appear on it any longer, at least for the foreseeable future.
The first five cards here finish up '99, and those include Topps Stars, Ultra, and three UD offerings:  MVP, Retro, and Victory.  That looks like Broncos star Ed McCaffrey, father of Wolverines QB Dylan, making a cameo on the Ultra card!

Then 2000 brings us Bowman and its Chrome version, one last Collector's Edge product (T3), and Donruss.  I liked seeing the versions of Donruss in the first scan and this one because the manufacturer used those in "what would have been"-type cards in their 2001 baseball return.
And like those Donruss products, I collected the baseball versions of some of these as well, such as Metal, Skybox, and Ultra.  Those Pacific and Score designs are among my favorites for each and really make me wish the latter had been able to last longer in the baseball world.  Meanwhile, the super shiny Leaf Certified reminds me of the two RCs I still need from the product:  WR Marcus Knight and some guy named Brady.
The final four cards from 2000 are an all Upper Deck affair.  A cool flagship design is followed by a Silver Script parallel from MVP, and then there's a pair from that year's Victory.  That's a pretty cool achievement for Chuck since defenders obviously don't get the hobby love they deserve.

A very cool Absolute Memorabilia design kicks off 2001, though it's possible I like it because I associate it with some of my favorite hits.  Then there's a pretty good Bowman design, followed by the always excellent Classics, one of Donruss' best brands.  Lastly, Focus and Game Time are a couple examples from the Fleer brand explosion around that time (which can be seen much more prominently in my collection when it comes to baseball).
One more (non-Ultra) Fleer product kicks off this scan, then it's on to perennial offering Rookies and Stars.  Playoff Honors proved difficult to scan, but I assure you it looks quite nice.  Leaf's higher-end Quantum Leaf product looked great in 2001 thanks to the bold blue featured up front.  Score and Select featured solid looks as usual.  Pacific's Titanium (Retail) was kind of forgettable that year.  And Topps Chrome gave us another very good effort, joined by a product called "Collection", which was essentially a stamped factory set version.
More excellence from Ultra and Upper Deck flagship begin the end of 2001, with Top Tier (a pretty unnecessary product), Vintage, and Victory closing the book on that year.  Then 2002 opens with another fun Absolute Memorabilia design, an absolutely bonkers Crown Royale die-cut piece, the usual from Donruss, and a retro-like Fleer Platinum.  Kudos to Pacific for breaking the mold!
Fleer Showcase and its beautiful framed art-style design start off this scan that features plenty of nice stuff including Showcase's sister brand, Tradition.  Leaf Certified shines, literally, in another excellent iteration.  The two Pacific cards--flagship and Adrenaline--are the least interesting of this bunch for me but that's a high bar to cross.  Meanwhile, Playoff Prestige is another good looker and Score is a nice way to go back to the basics.  Lastly, Topps (the 2002 set is one I don't own) and Chrome look outstanding despite the green border (I would've gone with blue!).
Another beautiful Ultra design leads into an Upper Deck trilogy (but not Trilogy) to end 2002:  flagship, MVP, and XL.  I loved the latter's baseball version, 40 Man, so I should see how many Wolverines from that product I can track down.

Another three-peat begins 2003 as Fleer leads the charge via Focus, Platinum, and Tradition.  The last two are about on par with each other in terms of quality while I don't find Focus that interesting.

Lastly, a couple Leaf-branded products end this scan:  the beautiful and shiny Certified Materials and the not-that-exciting Rookies and Stars.  I guess I just never saw the use of R&S as a base set, though it did offer some interesting inserts.
Playoff's Hogg Heaven was kind of a weird brand that didn't leave me wanting more when it quietly went away, but at least Prestige still exists with quality designs like this one from '03.  Score and Topps were both their usual solid selves that year, and I'm always up for shots of Chuck returning yet another INT.  That year's Upper Deck features a fantastic shot of Woodson going all out to defend a pass against the Steelers.  And then 2004 begins on a high (-end) note with Absolute Memorabilia, Donruss Classics, and Leaf Certified Materials.  Another understated Fleer Tradition design balances things out a bit here.
The first four cards here are 2004's swan song:  Score, Sweet Spot, Topps Total, and Upper Deck--a nice little mix of base design.  Then we take a very brief visit to 2005 with Score (again), Topps Heritage, Topps Total (again), Topps Turkey Red, and Ultra.  That year's Heritage went with a great retro look in the style of many past designs.  Turkey Red was a fun throwback that also worked in the baseball world.  And Ultra proved it was still among the best lookers.
I don't know if Woodson got less hobby love over the next few years or if I just found less to buy, but this group of nine is spread across 2006-2011.  '06 is represented by Topps brands Chrome, Heritage, and Total, with Heritage definitely another highlight in terms of design.  The next two years are each represented by Upper Deck and very different designs; '08 has always been among my favorites.

Topps' forgettable Platinum shines by itself in terms of the '09 stuff, then we skip 2010 entirely.  Excellent designs (as usual, sorry to beat a dead horse) from Prestige and Score are joined by a nice Topps effort called Legends, which correctly included the legendary Woodson.
A couple more Topps cards finish out 2011:  a Blue parallel of the Legends card you just saw, plus a brand called Rising Rookies with a design that evokes Upper Deck for me.

2012 gets a nice, shiny start with Certified and Donruss Elite, and then the Panini train keeps rolling with Prestige, Rookies and Stars, and Score.  I like how the Elite and Score cards both include the retro Packers unis.

Last up, another looker from Topps Archives reps 2013 and a design that's not quite up to snuff with its predecessors can be seen on 2014's Absolute.
This group of six, the last of the vertical cards, is one of my favorites for fairly obvious reasons.  The all-Panini bunch includes the Retail version of Absolute from above, 2015 Donruss (on another design I appreciate) and Prizm from the same year.  But the real stars are 2015 and 2016 Contenders Draft Picks and Prizm Draft Picks from 2015.  Michigan uniform cards uber alles!  I'm already a fan of most Contenders designs so those two are particular highlights for me thanks to the college unis.
This first of two horizontal bunches has some interesting stuff including:  a 1999 Pacific card shared with a fullback(!); a cool looking Ultra insert from 2000 with the punny title of "Instant Three Play"; Fleer Tradition base and Glossy versions from 2001; and a super cool die-cut cut that could only have been made by Pacific.
And now we've finally made it to the end.  The Fleer Premium card is a base issue that looks more like an insert.  2005 Upper Deck has a shot of a savvy vet letting the offense know he's coming for them.  A retail version of Ultra from 2007 is hard to distinguish from the hobby card.  2009 SPx could use a bit more game action going on in the background but Woodson returning a pick is the star of the show anyway.  And lastly, Charles is seen taking another INT back to the house on a 2012 Gridiron base.  I wonder which Broncos QB was responsible--Tim Tebow or Kyle Orton?

This crazy bunch of new cards--almost 150 in total--pushes the Michigan great to the leader of pack that is my football PCs with 264, good for a slim lead over second place guy Chad Henne.  We'll see how long that advantage lasts!

With my Sportlots acquisitions from 2017 now done, next on my plate will be the last of my pickups from last year:  another huge COMC haul.  Stay tuned!