Tuesday, January 17, 2017

2016 COMC purchases: THIS IS TMM

I'll get to today's cards in a minute but first,
happy 86th birthday to 1955 University of Michigan graduate James Earl Jones!  Jones' legendary acting talent and voice have brought joy to millions over his long and illustrious career.  Baseball fans will remember him from a couple movies focusing on the sport:  Field of Dreams and The Sandlot.  Of course he's also voiced #1 top villain Darth Vader in five Star Wars movies, the infamous Holiday Special, and the Star Wars Rebels TV show, as well as Mufasa in one of Disney's biggest hits, The Lion King.  All of that is a mere fraction of what he's accomplished and doesn't even include his stage career.  Needless to say, he's one of the school's most famous alumni, and I look forward to a chance to hear him speak live as the University celebrates its bicentennial this year.

I knew I had to post these cards today because not only does the title work as a play on JEJ's trademark station identification of CNN as well as this here blog and its namesake, but that particular player wore a particular number while in college:  86, or the same number as Jones' age!  Of course I'm talking about Super Mario Manningham:
So here's two pages' worth of new cards of the New Math, Mario Manningham, courtesy of COMC:

2008 Bowman Blue (#443/500), 2008 Donruss Gridiron Gear Next Generation Gold (#102/500), 2008 Leaf Certified Materials Certified Potential Mirror (#438/500)
It's the start of some serial-numbered insanity with these three numbered inserts from Mario's rookie season of 2008, all coincidentally numbered to 500.

2008 Leaf Rookies and Stars Crosstraining (#0560/1000), 2008 Playoff Contenders Playoff Ticket (#16/99), 2008 Press Pass Legends Silver Holofoil (#172/499)
More numbering, but a bit more diversity in print runs this time.  This group includes two of my favorite cards in the bunch:  the Playoff Ticket and Silver Holofoil parallels.  The former is a fun insert to look forward to yearly while the latter is from one of the coolest looking college products, and the holographic foil even applies to the stamped numbering on the back!

2008 SP Rookie Edition (#194), 2008 Upper Deck Icons Class of 2008 Silver (#063/750), 2009 Topps Magic Mini
The SP card is my first of Manningham's three throwback variations from that product and is the 1993 SP version.  Though I don't hold Icons in the highest regard I was happy to add the Class of 2008 insert as another numbered card.  And you already saw the Magic Mini in yesterday's inserts pickup post, but now I'm officially adding it to Mario's PC.

2010 Topps Gold (#0114/2010), 2011 Certified Mirror Red (#176/250), 2011 Finest Xfractor (#056/399)
As you can see I went pretty heavy on numbered cards and parallels in my quest for too many Manninghams this time.  The Gold parallel is my first such card of Manningham, though he's got a few others for me to chase.  New York's colors look great on the Mirror Red parallel, another typically excellent insert.  And while I don't have a standard Refractor to show off today, I did track down an Xfractor, which again looks great with the Giants' colors.

2011 Panini Gridiron Gear Gamebreakers Gold (#008/100), 2011 Panini Gridiron Gear Silver X's (#197/250), 2011 Timeless Treasures (#348/499)
This group includes today's other horizontal card which is a parallel of an insert, one of several parallels of a base card, and a numbered base card.  All happen to come from 2011 Panini products.
2012 Topps 1965 Mini, 2012 Topps Camo (#195/399), 2012 Topps Prime Gold
Last up is a 2012 Topps product trio, and all cards picture Manningham with his second and final NFL team, the Niners.  I thought the "Mini" card, done in the "Tall Boy" style, would be a fun add.  I found a numbered Camo parallel from the same flagship product that year.  And finally, I'm betting I assumed the Stadium Club-like Prime Gold card was numbered as I probably would have ignored it otherwise.  I hope Mario made that catch but it looks pretty likely that he biffed it.

Again, a happy birthday to stage and screen legend and Michigan alum James Earl Jones, who is Mario Manningham years old today, and welcome to my collection to 18 new Manningham cards!

Monday, January 16, 2017

2016 COMC purchases: many (and Mini) inserts

Today I'm featuring a bunch of inserts I picked up on COMC last year, especially around Black Friday.  They're many in number and some are also mini in stature.  Let's have a look!
Let's start with the minis--2009 Topps Magic Minis, to be precise.  I absolutely love this set and its amazing base cards, parallels, inserts, and autographs, and the reason is staring you right in the face:  college unis!  I also enjoy the hand-drawn look and backgrounds used, but the biggest draw for me is seeing all these guys in their college duds, especially Hutchinson, who was almost a decade out of school.

I previously showed off my complete base team set of these guys a couple Decembers ago, plus I think you all know I'm chasing the autographs as well.  As for these Minis, I already had a few handy--Drew Henson, and then this Avant/Breaston/Law trio I found at a show last July.  Today's group of eight, which puts me at 12/15 of these, includes three of my PCs in Hart, Henne, and Manningham, plus other Michigan legends I love to collect like Arrington, Askew, Hall, Hutch, and Woodley.

Who's left for me to get?  Tom Brady, Braylon Edwards, and an apparently short-printed Marlin Jackson.  This will undoubtedly be another fun team set to show off when it's done.
As for the other inserts, let's start alphabetically with this pair of 2012 Topps Golds.  Both happen to be relatively recent Michigan WRs:  Jason Avant (#0819/2012) and Steve Breaston (#0659/2012).  Avant is pictured with the Eagles, the team that drafted him, and he'd play through the 2015 season with the Chiefs.  Meanwhile, speaking of KC, Breaston is shown with his second and final squad and would finish up his career in 2012 after a four-year run with Arizona.
Former #1 jersey-wearer Devin Funchess joins in the WR fun with this shiny 2015 Panini Prizm Draft Picks Team Trademarks insert.  The Refractor-like card features a couple Michigan trademarks:  the big block "M" and iconic winged helmet.  I'd be thrilled to add more Michigan uni inserts of Devin in the future.
My other serial-numbered card today marks DB Leon Hall's second appearance, this time with his original pro team, the Bengals.  Panini's Certified product has featured some beautiful colored parallels in its history such as this Platinum Red (#137/999), though that color would probably be more appropriate for Leon's current employer, the Giants.
Considering his place in Wolverine football history it's definitely a shame that I'm lacking in cards of former Heisman-winner Tom Harmon, a do-it-all kind of guy starred for the varsity squad from 1938-40.  I'll just look at this as a first step in righting that injustice, then.  What you're looking at is actually an insert from a baseball product:  a Fan Craze chase card from 2014 Panini Golden Age.  It's a classy looking card of a classic player (and College Football Hall-of-Famer), and hopefully one of many I'll be showing off this year.
I've already shown a couple Topps Gold inserts so why not finish up with examples of another favorite parallel:  Refractors!  On the left, RB Chris Perry appears on a Red Refractor out of 2005 Bowman Chrome, making it a second-year card for him.  To his right is longtime Giants WR Amani Toomer's 2007 Bowman Chrome Refractor.  Both of these are designs I like very much and made even better with the rainbowification (patent pending) that Refractors provide.

So far my posts have covered football rookies and inserts, but I still have plenty left from COMC, so stay tuned!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

2016 COMC purchases: happy Rookie Blue year!

Now that I'm all caught up on the rest of my 2016 stuff I can show off the fruit of my COMC labors in the form of purchases around Black Friday weekend and going back a few months.  If you came over from TMV you already saw a bunch of Michigan-related cards as I posted pickups of baseball PC guys, and now I have some football stuff to show you.

Specifically, I went back to the first-year well to further my Michigan Football rookies collection, a.k.a. Rookie Blue.  Because new players can be added anytime this checklist is a bit of a moving target, but I'm up for the challenge!  Here's 14 new cards of 10 players:
Yo!  This card is from 2008 Leaf Rookies and Stars Longevity (#969/999) (I'm still missing the regular Rookies and Stars version).  Like most of today's cards it's numbered and a bit shiny.  I now have 16 of 19 first-years of the WR from my favorite draft class.
Speaking of shiny numbered cards of WRs, here's a very colorful RC of receiver/returner Steve Breaston out of 2007 Absolute Memorabilia (#442/699).  You really have to see these in-person to get the full effect, so for now just take my word for it that it looks fantastic.  I'm nearing the 75% mark with 19/26 Breaston rookies.
WR?  Check.  Shiny?  Very much so!  Numbered?  No!  This is a very cool clear card of Funchess, the second-round Panthers receiver, and possibly my first interaction with Panini's Clear Vision product.  This is the "base" version as it features straight lines in the background while the variation has a different pattern going on.  The card is my 16th of Funch's 24 rookies.
The oldest card of the bunch goes all the way back to 2000 and this Rookies and Stars RC of LB Ian Gold (#0117/1000--hey, the numbering's back!).  These are a bit tough to find since the set carries a bit of a premium--it seems that Patriots QB that's gonna go down as the GoaT also has a rookie in this product.  This marks my fifth of Gold's nine first-years.
Tackling machine David Harris is still doing his thing in the NFL, even if it's still for the sad sack Jets.  Here he is on a 2007 Donruss Gridiron Gear Retail RC (#432/599).  While I understand the difference between hobby and retail boxes and packs, I've never understood why manufacturers think it's necessary to make different versions of the base set sometimes.  I'm closing in on Harris' 24 rookies with a new count of 20 thanks to this one.

Here's a card you'll see again in a future post as I cover other pickups for his PC.  Mike Hart's RC from the interesting/weird 2008 Topps Letterman product also fits in with today's mostly numbered theme as my copy is #109/419 (419?  Why 419?!).  It's a bit too reflective to scan perfectly, but I think you get the idea.  I'm just three cards shy of the 25 RC run of my favorite Michigan RB.
You'll also see this Henne in another post soon and I'll be glad to do that to help get my money's worth; I paid more for this than I usually spend on rookies for this project, but I had a good reason:  it's the last of Henne's 22 cards that I needed!  It also happens to come from a set I don't particularly care for due to two reasons:  it doesn't look particularly nice, which is rare for UD, and they're just so difficult to find for reasonable prices (which is why I still need Jake Long's, Mike Hart's, and Shawn Crable's copies).  Needless to say, I'm happy to knock off Henne as my 120th complete player in this project.

RB Chris Perry keeps up the mostly offensive players trend with this pair of 2004 Fleer-branded cards.  First up is Authentix (#211/750), a fun product that briefly ran in the early 2000s, and this version included an embedded ticket stub, adding to the set's motif.  The other, Sweet Sigs (#041/999) was a one-off, and I'm not too surprised that the design didn't really catch on despite its potential.  Perry has 30 first-years for me to chase and these two give me a new total of 18.
Walker was one of the more heralded receivers in Ann Arbor so he has a crazy 48 cards for me to chase.  I'm happy, then, that I was able to add three at a time here.  First is 2002 Fleer Genuine (#278/599), a product I think I'd like a bit more if the photo wasn't so limited.  Next is Throwbacks, a somewhat forgettable product that doesn't quite do it for me despite its simplicity.  Finally, UD Authentics (#0158/1000) looks great thanks to its callback to UD's origins.  These three got me out of my 50% rut to a new total of 27 Walker RCs.
Our final player today is big Gabe Watson, another guy for whom I found multiple cards this time.  On your left is his 2006 Donruss Threads Retail Rookies RC (#727/999), and again I have to wonder why Panini made hobby- and retail-specific versions, especially since the hobby version looks great.  That's joined by his base out of 2006 Sweet Spot (#259/699), a product I've often enjoyed thanks to its fun manu-helmet/auto cards.  In this case, Gabe is surrounded by a lot of Cardinals red, which makes sense to me.  I'm happy to say that I'm just three cards shy of his 22 first-years.

Thanks to this bunch I'm getting very near the millennium mark with an overall total of 985 cards and counting.  Hopefully I'll continue to make progress in 2017, and maybe I'll even land a couple of the higher-priced vintage issues or Bradys that I need.

Stay tuned for more COMC loot and some trade packages soon!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

2016 Blowout forums purchase: a super nice letter

I'm not sure how I forgot to mention this at some point in the past 10 days, but January 1 this year marked this here blog's fifth birthday!  That's right, Too Many Manninghams (a name I've kept the whole time, as opposed to TMG/V) is
We'll miss you, Jabrill!
I was too busy to throw up a celebratory post that day and then just kind of let it fall through the cracks.  Anyway, five years and not even 700 posts.  Thanks as always to all of you who have read and/or continue to read!

So, as I mentioned over on TMV this evening, after tonight's posts I'm all caught up with trades and purchases from 2016 except for my Black Friday COMC stuff, which I'll be showing off in future posts soon.  One last order of business, though:  my final purchase of 2016.

Lots of Blowout forum members busted boxes and cases between Black Friday and Christmas, and one such member caught my attention by opening up some 2008 Leaf Limited football.  As you all know, a bunch of my Michigan football favorites hail from that year, and I was hoping he'd pull something interesting.
Mario Manningham 2008 Leaf Limited Lettermen 'A' patch auto (#02/10)
Jackpot!  I was thrilled to see this Manningham, a case hit, in the scans found in the thread, and made a casual inquiry as to its availability.  He originally asked for a lot more than I was comfortable with, and I told him my absolute maximum was in the $10-$15 range; to my surprise, he agreed to let me have it for $15.

I'm excited because, though this is one of those dreaded "event-worn" cards, the letter patch is from the actual name plate instead of being manufactured.  While the latter are totally fine in my book, there's no beating the former, especially when they're limited to as many copies as there are letters in a player's last name (though Manningham, at 10, is relatively bountiful!).  A top notch hit like this on a great Panini design is always a win in my book.

Since my most recent post also featured a Manningham hit (thanks, Fuji!) you may recall that he was sitting in fifth place in my football collection with 62 hits.  Well, he'll be #5 (a big number today!) for a bit longer since 63 cards still puts him shy of Mike Hart in fourth with 65.  That's not enough Marios no matter what this blog is called!

It was fun to close out a great year for collecting (if for nothing else--good riddance, 2016!) with one of the best cards I own of this blog's namesake.  Hopefully 2017 has more great stuff in store, and I have some insider information in the form of a couple of trade packages that lead me to believe that'll be the case.  Stay tuned for those, Black Friday loot, and more, even if it takes me another five years!

Friday, January 6, 2017

2016 trade package #17: Fuji wishes me a Mario Christmas and a happy Blue year

If you caught my post on TMV this evening, you know that Mark from the Chronicles of Fuji went all Hitsville, USA on me with another amazingly generous package to end 2016.  That theme wasn't limited to just the Tigers, though, as he put a nice "super" star atop the tree that was this latest envelope, including a card for one of my favorite player collections--the guy whose name happens to grace this here blog:
Super Mario!  Mark sent me what will become my 113th card of Manningham in the form of this color-appropriate Throwback Threads jersey relic from 2014 Elite.  The bold blue Giants jersey swatch pairs beautifully with the other instances of that color on the design and in the photo.  I also like the added bonus of serial numbering, and this card is stamped 119/199 up front.  Definitely an elite addition for one of my favorite Michigan WRs of all time.  This bumps him up to a ridiculous 62 hits, by the way, keeping him at fifth place in my football collection.

Don't think that I'm shocked that Fuji was thoughtful enough to send this my way, though--he previously gifted me cards of Manningham in several past trades:  November, 2015; April of last year; then another in September.

Thanks again for being a super trader in 2016, Mark, and here's to doing it all over again in 2017!

Friday, December 30, 2016

2016 Michigan gameday #13: vs. Florida State

After a few weeks off it's finally bowl time!  Tonight #6 Michigan faces off against a Florida State squad that finished the regular season at #11 thanks to a 9-3 record.  The Wolverines will be making just their third Orange Bowl appearance, having lost to Oklahoma in 1976 and then defeating Alabama in a 35-34 OT thriller in 2000 (thanks to big games by David Terrell and some guy named Brady).

Coming off a rough final three games--a one-point loss at Iowa, ugly win vs. Indiana, and then the OSU loss--Michigan still has plenty to play for, including a second consecutive 11-2 season under Jim Harbaugh, who brought the team back to its first bowl game since 2013 and first postseason win since 2012.  This will also be the final game for a number of seniors and likely a few underclassmen as well; Jabrill, it's been an honor!  Look for these kids to play for pride and maybe a bit of draft positioning as well.

With a few weeks to get everyone healthy and allow the coaches to gameplan for one team with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind, I expect to see the Wolverines at their best against another top-15 opponent, and my prediction is a close win for the Maize and Blue, though I'm certainly not discounting the talent on the other sideline, especially beat of a RB Dalvin Cook.  I just happen to think that Harbaugh, his coordinators, and their players will be fired up as they look to build off of last year's bowl win, a major beatdown of Florida.

It may not be a playoff game, and it may not be on January 1 (because reasons), but it's Michigan Football and I'm excited to watch these guys play one more game this season, win or lose.