Search This Blog

Monday, May 31, 2010

Random Steeler Monday - Happy Memorial Day

If there is any hope of pulling out a decent year, most of it rests in the hands of this guy.  Rashard Mendenhall is coming into his third season as a Steeler but his first as the full-time starter.  He has big shoes to fill with the departure of Willie Parker and the tradition the Steelers have had in the running game.

After losing out on his rookie season due to a devastating hit by Ray Lewis in his first game as a Steeler, Rashard was on a mission to prove he wasn't as soft as people were labeling him.  Last year, Mendy was able to pull of 1,100 yards and 7 touchdowns and half those yards were after contact.  Mendenhall averaged 4.6 yards per carry last year and 3 yards per carry after contact.  That was better than Ray Rice.  Kirby Wilson, the Steelers running backs coach said of Mendy,  

"He's got tremendous lower-body strength. There's a lot of times when people don't recognize his ability to run through arm tackles and first contact. Very seldom does the first tackler or first hitter ever get him down.  Those are the hidden runs that add up over the course of the year."
On the plus side for Mendenhall, he is not only fast, he is quick.  I know it seems there is no difference but there is.  You can be fast in the flat running along the sideline to the endzone, but quickness is something that gets you to those holes and springs you for those big runs.  He can run inside, outside, off-tackle, and runs some of the best misdirections I have ever seen (well maybe not the caliber of Emmitt or Barry but he is getting there). 

All of these things combined are going to have to carry a lot of the burden in this offense this year, especially in the first four games.  I think (hope) he is up for the task.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Box Break - - 2008 Topps Baseball Series 2

So in effort to stop buying stuff I don't need, I decided to pick up a box on clearance at Meijer for $24 bucks.  It was labeled as a "Hobby" box with a nice shiny sticker on the front.  I usually assume that anything in a retail store that says hobby is probably lying but for $24 how can you go wrong?  The other giveaway was the fact that I have seen the hobby version and it has an "H" stamped on it and features Big Albert in a stadium, up to bat.  This box was all green with a cropped image of Pujols batting.

The box I am speaking of, by the way, is a 2008 Topps Baseball Series II box.  There are 36 packs with 12 cards per pack (for those of you unable to do math, that' the 2...432 cards).  That comes out to roughly 5 1/2 cents per card.  Not bad for a hobby box.  Hell, that's not bad for any box these days.  Most cards fall at half as many per pack for three to four times as much (if not more).  So as I said, how could I resist. 

With 432 cards in the box, there was a good chance at pulling the entire set which features cards from 331-660 (330 cards).  Even if there were 1 insert per pack, that would still leave room for the whole set plus a few extra.  Should we take some bets as to whether or not my box fell that way?  I ended up with 81 doubles, no triples.  That leaves me with 351 chances at finishing a base set.

Speaking of the base set, the cards look exactly like the Series I cards.  They have the white border surrounding a full color action shot of the player.  The team name is framed in a colorful balloon pattern at the top with the Topps logo directly beneath.  They also feature a facsimile signature of the player in the photo.  This is the closest thing you get to an "on-card" autograph in a Topps product, it seems.

Let's see what I pulled...

36 packs/box
12 cards/pack
432 total cards/81 doubles/0 triples
318 base cards (missing 12)
31 inserts: (7) 50th Anniversary All-Star Rookie Team, (2) Mickey Mantle cards, (7) Year In Review, (6) Topps Stars, (6) Presidential Campaigns, (2) Topps Gold
1 Certified Auto
1 Weird Card that I have no idea what it is or why it was in the box

I am going to take the lazy man's way out of this and just post the hits.  You have all seen the base cards before and they have been reviewed out there up one side and down the other.  I figured it would just be easier to scan the inserts in case there is anyone out there that might need something.

 There is also an Adam Dunn that isn't in the picture.

I do not like these, Sam I am.

These cards are kind of nice but I think Topps overdid them a bit.  They should have made the sets smaller, serial numbered them and made them actually look like real Topps cards.  But what do I know?  I'm a hockey collector getting caught up in things I don't understand.

Here are the Topps Stars cards.  These, I like.  They remind me of Topps Finest sets or the old Black Gold sets only shinier.  I also got 2 Topps Gold cards here; Alex Gonzalez and Nick Markakis.

There is also an Ibanez that isn't in the picture.

Here is the one "hit" that was in the box.  A Ryan Roberts autograph.  I will admit, I have no idea who this is.  All I know is he plays for the BJ's and has a pretty wicked tattoo on his neck.  That had to hurt.

I do want to ask everyone out there if they have ever seen this card?

I am assuming it is one of the Short Prints that I have seen Topps including in their sets (like the "pie in the face" cards) but I have no idea.  It is a Kosuke Fukudome card.  It isn't numbered but instead has a small symbol that looks like the World Championship logo where the number should be.  Instead of the Cubs as the team it says Japan.   I have found ones on Ebay that say "Preview" card but they all have the World Championship logo stamped on the front.  This one doesn't.  Take a look.

Any input would be appreciated.

I am 12 cards short here.  I need  331, 335, 355, 369, 385,  416, 421, 508, 524, 532, 581, 618.  If anyone has them, I would be interested in trading.  I have 81 doubles and most if not all of the inserts are for trade.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Box Break - - 2009-10 Upper Deck Ice

Each and every year (up till now) I have always tried to pick up at least one box of SP, SPx, and UD Ice.  This year was no different.  I stopped in to my LCS the other day and what do I see on the shelf but 4 shiny new boxes of 2009-10 Upper Deck Ice.  Now, I will admit, I haven't read or seen much about these yet this year but they have become a staple of my collection since returning to the hobby full time a few years ago.  Could I have paid less for this?  Yes.  But what would the fun be in that.

I can't say that I have ever been blessed by the extreme short prints or the highly sought after rookies in any of these boxes I have bought.  In fact, except for a year or two of actually pulling the base set in one box, I really hadn't had much to cheer about.  Don't get me wrong, I do like the card design.  Last years and this years both offer a raised textured feel that is like rink ice after a full period of hard nosed hockey.  I also like the Ice Premieres Rookie cards and their acetate surface as well as 4 tiered serial numbering.  The GU swatch and patch cards have always been traditionally larger than the standard releases as well.

So let's see what we should find in here:

4 Rookie Cards/Box
1 Signature Card/Box
2 Memorabilia Cards/Box

As I mentioned, the rookie cards are tiered in four serial numbered categories.  Tier 1 is out of 99 and those fall about 1 per case.  Tier 2 is numbered out of 499.  Tier 3 is out of 999.  Tier 4 is out of 1999.  The Glacial Graphs and Rinkside Signings are always nice looking and are usually on-card which is great.  These fall about 1 per case.  There are also Frozen Foursomes which feature, yes, you guess it, four swatches of players.  These are numbered out of 5.

There are various other inserts and auto/swatch parallels featuring some of this years rookie class and stars of yesterday and today.  So without further adieu, I give you my box break.

2009-10 Upper Deck Ice
5 cards/pack
20 packs/box

So even I can do the basic math to figure out there should be 100 cards in here.  My box actually yielded 102 cards.  Here are some of the base card designs...

As you can probably tell, I stole this shot from the Bay because I was too lazy to scan any of the base cards.  They are very colorful and have patterns that match the uniforms of each player.  They also have that traditional Ice textured pattern as I mentioned earlier.  I ended up with no doubles and 6 cards shy of a 100 card base set.  Not bad for one box but a 6 card pack instead of 5 could have prevented that.

The see-thru Ice Premieres Acetate cards fell like this...

Matt Climie 448/1999 Tier 4

Davis Drewiske 1348/1999 Tier 4

Matt Pelech 702/999 Tier 3

Ilkka Pikkarainen 1100/1999 Tier 4

Luca Caputi 462/499 Tier 2

At 4 per box, I pulled an extra one.  That explains the 102 cards, well at least one of them anyway.  I was happy about the Caputi but then I remembered that awesome trade that sent him to Toronto for Ponikarovsky (hind-sight is always 20/20).  It is a nice card nonetheless and will fit right into my Penguin collection.

The Memorabilia cards were:

Ryan Getzlaf Frozen Fabrics

Drew Doughty Fresh Threads

Not a bad selection for the 2 GU cards.  It could have been much, much worse based on the checklist.  I was glad the Getzlaf was not a white swatch.  I already have one of his with a white jersey.  It would have been nice to get a purple swatch on the Doughty instead of black, though.

And last but not least, the 1 signature card per box that I pulled.  I was saving the best for last because I really have nothing to say about this card.  I checked the list of signature cards available in the set and I had some high hopes for what could have come out of here.  Instead...I end up with this abortion of a card:

I never laughed so hard about pulling a card in my entire life.  Everyone in the shop was shocked that this was even included in there since most people assumed these were only in Series II.  The shop owner was kind of upset too because obviously pulling something good in his shop leads to repeat buys.  The other hockey guy that was in there at the time backed off one of the other boxes after he saw this.   I just can't believe Upper Deck decided to throw these throughout their entire line of products.  And then, they have the audacity to count them as the projected hits.  I'm sorry to all the figure skating fans out there but this is completely uncalled for.  Good thing I have a sense of humor.

So I am about 90% sure that this will be the last box of Ice I ever purchase.  Ever.  EVER!

If anyone has any of the base cards I need, hit me up.  They are listed on my set needs page.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

(Almost) Box Break - - 2009-10 In The Game Between The Pipes

Okay, so as I go into my LCS one fine day, I notice the Between the Pipes on the shelf and had to have it.  I love the ITG releases and this was the next one that I had yet to bust.  But where were the boxes?

The day before, another hockey collector bought two boxes and the last one was opened to sell packs.  I was mortified.  How could they not save one for me?  Was I not worthy?  Actually I hadn't been in to the shop in almost a month so I didn't expect there to be much.  So upon checking the box, I realized there were 11 of the 18 packs left so I snatched them up.

I am not going to do a traditional review here because it's been done a ton for this set.  You can check out some other reviews and product images over here...

or here...

or here...

Since I didn't open a full box and only had 11 packs, I wasn't sure that I would pull any of the potential 8 hits that could have been in the box.  So after sitting down at the "trading table" in the shop, I began my busting journey.  For the sake of drooling over all of what I pulled, let me just show the two that I was quite happy with.

Three packs in and out popped this:

2009-10 ITG Between The Pipes Greats of the Game Goaliegraph Ed Johnston

This is definitely a keeper.  I almost jumped out of my chair when I saw this one.  I know it's a Bruins card but Ed Johnston is part of the architectural team that helped build the Penguins franchise.  He was the GM when Mario Lemieux was drafted in the first round back in 1984.  He is also one of the reasons the Pens were able to get Ron Francis and Ulf Samuellson although he was on the other side of the fence as a GM for the Whalers (he also gets blamed for them moving to Carolina but that's another story).  Ed has been with the Pens off and on since 1983, 24 years in fact.  Although he wasn't with the teams for their cup years in 91 and 92, he finally had his name put on the cup in 2009 as he is the Senior Advisor for Hockey Operations.

Two packs later, we get this:

2009-10 ITG Between The Pipes Origins Gerry Cheevers Goalie Pad

This is the first memorabilia card that I have ever pulled that wasn't a jersey or patch.  This is a piece of the leg blocker pad (no, I don't know which leg).  I do have one stick card of Bill Guerin but I purchased that and didn't pull it from a pack.  Of course, I was excited to see this.  The card looks amazing in my opinion.  The scan doesn't do it justice (that is so cliche'd but true).  The design is so simple yet very impactful, using the grey and yellow hues on the background tie the before and after shots together nicely.  I have to say that I could have pulled a better card for my PC but this one is still sweet.  I haven't decided if it is going to have a permanent home in my collection yet or not so if anyone might be interested and willing to trade for something similar that would fit better in my Pittsburgh collection, I'm all ears.

Also, I plan on trying to put at least the base set of this together so if you may have doubles or ones that you don't need, I'm listening.

Some Cool Pickups from Sports Card Kids

I can't say that I remember exactly who turned me onto this site or not.  If it was you, then I say thank you.  For those of you that don't know, Sports Card Kids is fairly new to the online card retail world, having gone live back in December of 2009.  What I like the most about thier site is the fact that it is a completely different kind of online retailer.

To quote their own site, the are "dedicated to bringing the fun back to the hobby that we all love."  What's not to love about that statement?  What originally drew my attention was the fact that they offer collectors lots of entertaining contests and drawings that feature loads of prizes.  Each month (sometimes more than once) there are image scramble contests, pack guessing contests, and random drawings based on purchases.  Since entering these contests, I think I have won a half dozen or so free cards and various packs that have yielded some nice additions to my collection.

While certainly not the biggest dealer online, they do maintain an inventory well over 10,000 singles in each sport, including the big four as well as NASCAR, wrestling, and MMA.  They don't have wax which is a little disappointing but I am usually only looking for singles when I shop online anyway.  I will admit, you can probably find better prices for some of what they offer but I think the idea here is to create the card shop atmosphere in a cyber-universe.  The games are entertaining and sometimes challenging and the interactivity of the site is great.  I am more than willing to spend a little extra when I feel I am getting more back.  Plus, thus far, the customer service has been unflappable.   

So the other day, I finally decided to test the waters on a purchase and pick up a few diamonds in the rough.  I thought I would share a few.

2008 Mayo Regular Mini and "Yale" Back Mini Lamarr Woodley
(for my Steeler's PC)

2005-06 Beehive Matted Matrials Ryan Miller Jersey

2008 Donruss Americana Sports Legends Pierre Pilote Jersey

2008 Donruss Americana Sports Legends Autograph Alex Delvecchio
(It's a sticker auto but who cares.  It's a HOFer)

UD Game Jersey Dave "Tiger" Williams
(I don't remember what year this is because most of them look the same.  This has to be either a piece of a Leaf jersey or possibly part of a Hartford jersey.  The Canucks didn't get their blue in their jersey's until way after Tiger retired.  I don't know, it's a mystery.)

2007 Allen & Ginter Jersey Relic Adam LaRoche
(for my ever expanding Pirates PC)

2009 Bowman White Parallel Lamarr Woodley
(Again, for my Steeler's PC but I almost have the rainbow of these now.  I think I am missing two.)

I also picked up a few more serial numbered Pirates, the Lemieux I posted about in my Random Penguin Card this week, and a Max Talbot Parkhurst Rookie.  All this was less than $20 with shipping included.  I priced the same (well mostly the same) cards on COMC and they were over $30 without the shipping.  I didn't look at Sportlots because, quite frankly, I find it annoying to try and navigate and the fact that you can only search by three years at a time is irritating.  So I would recommend this to anyone looking for singles.  If not for purchasing, definitely check out the contests.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Well Thought Out Yet Completely Random Penguin Card of the Week

2008-09 O-Pee-Chee Retro Mario Lemieux

So it is pretty easy to throw up a Mario Lemieux card and call it quits.  Most of his stuff speaks for itself as it should.  But this one is different.  There are a lot of posts about cards that never were.  This one is like a fantasy card that actually came true, but many years after the fact.

The Retro parallel set in 2008-09 OPC is designed exactly after the 1979-80 set.  Yes, the same set the featured the rookie card of the top player of the last 30 years that finishes ahead of Super Mario in many categories.  The Wayne Gretzky rookie is one of the most sought after cards in the hockey card world, especially in decent condition.  Graded version of it sell in the thousands of dollars and I would be happy with even a "3" just to say I own one.

But, alas, I don't.  Instead, I have my favorite player of all time in a mock up of one of the best hockey sets.  This is what it might have looked like, had he actually been a rookie in the 1978-79 season.  Although we would have to change the uniform to the white, tri-colored collar, with the Columbian and navy blue and black accent stripes.  1980 was the first year for the Black & Gold but this would be a shot from 78-79.  And the logo would have to go back to the skating penguin over the triangle instead of that "corporate created" crap they had after the cups.

As for the card design, I think Upper Deck did a great job with this Retro set by duplicating the back and front of the cards almost perfectly.  This would be an awesome set to chase if not for the fact that it is near 500 cards.  But with this addition to my collection, I now have all the Pens retro base parallels (I said base because there is a Rainbow version as well).

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Another Music Related Post - RIP Paul Gray

There is an old addage that deaths tend to occur in 3's.  I have never been big on superstitions and the like but in my own life, this has been pretty evident.  It seems it is no different in the Rock world either.  First Peter Steele, then Ronnie James Dio, now Paul Gray.

For those of you not familiar, Paul Gray, or #2 as he was known in the band, was the bass player for Slipknot.  Whether you were a fan or not of the music, there was no denying the fact that Paul was a phenomenal musician and bass player.

On Monday, Paul's body was found by an employee at the Towne Place Suites in Urbandale, Iowa.  Police have said there was no evidence of foul play but an autopsy would be performed along with toxicology testing.  At this point it is not sure if drugs were involved, considering Paul's unfortunate history of drug abuse.  He had been clean and sober for the last two years and was happily married with a child on the way (not sure if his kid was born yet).

I will never forget when I first heard Slipknot.  I had just graduated college and we had the bright idea that we should move to Las Vegas to get jobs.  After arriving there, I spent some time teaching in the Clark County School District.  On weekends (and weekdays for that matter) there was always something to do and some event going on.  A friend of mine and I always used to spend Friday afternoons at the CD store checking out all the "new releases".  I say that because we only ever bought from the used bins because you could get 4-5 for the price of one new.  They used to have a New Artist Listening Station set up where you could actually hear, for the most part, anything you asked them to put on. 

While leafing through some of the new stuff, I came across this album with a bunch of guys in clown masks and bondage getups and, of course, had to have a listen.  Ever since I first saw KISS and Alice Cooper, the theatrical rock bands have always been some of my favorites.  The music sounded monstrously huge and like nothing I had ever heard before.  The percussion was loud, heavy and with enough bombast to blow your speakers.  I remember thinking, "Ahhh, no wonder they are so angry.  They are from Iowa."  And yet, the songs had melody, progression, and were not ridiculously over the top like some other metal bands at the time.  Once I heard them, I was a fan. 

I had gotten to see Slipknot three times in my life as part of some festival shows and those were some of the craziest shows I have ever been to.  I was actually kind of excited to see when it was announced that Paul had joined the group HAIL, which consisted of Tim Ripper Owens, Dave Ellefson, Paul Bostaph and Andreas Kisser.  Paul was going to take Ellefson's spot since Dave rejoined Megadeth.  That lineup of metal superstars was sure to put out some killer music.  Unfortunately everyone will have to travel on without him.

The below video is part one of a series of videos called Behind the Artist. Paul explains how he got into music, became a bass player, and started the ball rolling on the formation of Slipknot.  You can find the other parts to the video on YouTube if you are interested.

RIP Paul, you will be missed.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Random Steeler Monday

This week I realized that as I go through more and more cards of present and former players of my favorite teams, I tend to focus on the negative side of things.  I always have the memories of when a guy dropped a pass, or missed a check, or let in a goal from the blue line, or struck out, or missed a throw at home, or fumbled, or...well you get the idea.  Despite all the great memories I have had being a Pittsburgh sports fan, the negativity always trickles in to put a damper on things.  That's why I have decided that starting today, I am going to keep doing things the same way I always have.

Negativity breeds productivity; productivity breeds victory.  I don't know if I just made that up or not but it makes perfect sense.  The doom and gloom attitude has always been a source of motivation and success for me since it always seem to make me want more.  The more I want, the harder I work.  The harder I work, the better I get.  The better I get, the more I succeed.  You see the logic here?  Some would argue that all negativity leads to depression and defeat and that may be true for some.  But in sports, isn't it the team that lost always the one with that chip that motivates and pushes them to try harder so they can get over that hurdle?

Okay so now I am rambling.  Getting to the Random Steeler card for this week, we feature probably one of the biggest draft busts (so far) in the last 8 years for the Pittsburgh Steelers.  If not the worst ever, at least in my mind (and he will have to do circus-like feats of an inhuman proportions to prove me otherwise) he joins the ranks of Huey Richardson, Tim Worley, Troy Edwards and a host of other unmentionables. 

Of course I am talking about none other than Wide Receiver extrordinaire,

Limas Sweed.

The University of Texas star wide receiver was picked with the 22nd overall selection in the 2nd round of the 2008 draft.  After two full seasons in the NFL, Limas has caught a grand total of 7 passes for 69 yards.  Notice I said CAUGHT a total of...instead of "had thrown to him".  That list would be much larger but unfortunately most of those ended up on the turf or in the hands of the opposing team.  .

Sweed's career with the Steelers became an even bigger mystery when at one point last year, Sweed was placed on the IR with an undisclosed injury, and not heard from again.  Rumors spread about his focus and committment to football but the Steelers and for the most part, the fans, stuck by him.  Then Sweed tore his left Achilles' tendon during the team's minicamp earlier this month.  Not good for a player already skating that thin line.  He immediately had surgery to repair the tear and the team placed him on the reserved/injured list, subsequently ending his 2010 season even before training camp.

The killer part is the cash impact.  With an already strained salary cap, the Steelers now seemingly wasted $1.5 million in the rookie signing bonus and another $680,000 over the past two years in salary.  With his current pay for 2010 at $470,000, the Black & Gold will be on the hook for $2.66 million by the end of the season.  That's a ton of moolah for a guy with 7 catches. 

So as I sit here with baited anticipation for the 2010 season to begin, it looks like Sweed will be lost for the year and have no chance to prove he can live up to expectations.  I haven't given up on him completely yet but unfortunately for him, if he doesn't make an effort to train hard and rehab that injury, his days with the Steelers could be over.  His only chance of making a roster spot as a spectator is going to depend on his desire and drive to still play football.  If it were me, I would be everywhere the team is, studying the playbook, observing all the practices, and basically taking every possible opportunity I had to stay visible.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sunday Results

I bet everyone thought with a title like that, this would be some review of the Hawks/Sharks game.  Well it isn't.

Although I would like to say congratulations to the Blackhawks, their organization, and fans.  If there is any team left in this playoffs, they are certainly a team that deserves a win.  I just wish I could cheer for them.  I said wish.  Not gonna happen.  I'm pulling for the Habs.  If not for the fact that it would be a miracle, I am anxious to see if Montreal will burn to the ground in a fiery victory riot.

This post is about the Topps Million Card Giveaway and my attempt at trading away some of what I had in my inventory.  I had three polls up for a few days so that I could be steered in the right direction for trades.  It appears that the results are in and I am bound to what the readers have decided.

First up was the 1987 Kirby Puckett.  The mob has spoken and the verdict...Keep it.  Apparently the offers that were made were not good enough to sway anyone to trade this one away.  So, consider all Puckett trade offers DECLINED.

Next was the 1987 Mike Pagliarulo.  Now, this wasn't a very difficult decision to make but it was one of the only other cards that had multiple offers.  The unanimous decision was to deal this one for a 1986 Tom Seaver.  Consider it done.

Finally, we had a 1960 Bobby Thomson.  I had multiple trade offers for this one, including a trade for a 1958 Gino Cimoli with an invisible bat, that was very tempting.  However, I left it up to the readers and surprisingly, the final decision was to go with a different option.  Play At the Plate gave me another option by offering up three vintage Pirate cards including a team card.  How could I pass that up.

So off I went to make my trades.  Here was the result.

Server Error!!  I tried 8 times with the same result.  I even logged off and logged back in.  Same result.  I even opened IE instead of Firefox to see if that made a difference.  SAME RESULT!!  What a gipp!!

I will not sleep until I figure this out.  Okay maybe I will sleep, but I won't rest until I figure this out.  Well, actually I am resting, but I will not...well I will not do anymore trading until I figure this out.  Yeah, that's it.


I logged in this morning just to see if this thing was just acting freaky yesterday.  When I clicked on the Trade tab, there was nothing there.  So, of course, my first reaction is the whole thing went nuts but after checking my inventory, all the cards are mysteriously there.  Weird.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Contest Pimping: 1st & Goal and his search for the Wizard

It seems like contests are popping up out here by the hour.  That is fine by me though.  I like it. 

Someone is having a blog-o-birthday out there and it is happening at 1st & Goal.  1st turns the big numero uno and to celebrate, he is having an audience participation contest. 

What do you collect?  What are your favorites?  These are just some of the thought provoking questions that are posed and could win you a mystery prize designed around your interests.  Sounds good, doesn't it?

Just go here and give him a few minutes of your time.  Also, put him on your blog list of daily readings.  You won't be sorry. 

Do it now!!

Pac-Man turns 30

If you haven't guessed it, Pac-Man is celebrating it's 30th anniversary.  I can't believe that it has been that long since the little yellow guy burst onto the video game scene. 

I don't really remember the early stages of Pac-Man's release since I was too young at the time.  However, I do remember getting to play the "sit-down" style arcade version every time we used to go and pick up a pizza.  The local pizza place where I grew up was called Mr. Munchies and they had two or three arcade consoles you could play while you waited.  My dad and I used to go and pick up the pizza and I would always get a few quarters to play.  They also had a Centipede game and Asteroids (which were later changed to Zaxon and Arkanoid).  Good times.

At any rate, back in 1980, Fleer released a set of Pac-Man stickers which accompanied a scratch-off ticket style rub-off game.  You were able to get 3 stickers, 3 rub-offs, and of course, a stick of everyone's favorite 3 second flavor burst gum.  I never had the priveledge of having any of these cards but I remember my cousin did.  The rub-off game was basically a Pac-Man game maze and you scratched off each space, creating your path.  You either had a power-pellet, a blue ghost, or a color ghost under each spot. 

Apparently, after reading about these stickers, it appears there were at least 3 different color variants to the cards.  Th first were just plain, non-detailed pictures of Pac-Man with blue printed backs.  The second had more detailed fronts with blue printed backs.  The third had black backs with detailed front pictures.  I guess even in the early 80s, companies were trying to milk the parallel thing. 

Fleer continued for the next couple years with subsequent Pac-Man releases as well as Ms. Pac-Man and Super Pac-Man sets.  You can still find these up for auction on the Bay or other auction sites but because of the item scarcity, most of the older, unopened boxes are going to cost you.  You can find the Ms. Pac-Man packs for about $1.50-$5.00 each and the Pac-Man cards run $4 and up.  Individual cards/stickers range in price. 

I wonder if there are any readers out there that have these in their collections.

Check out Google's homepage for a blast from the past as they pay homage to the original ghost buster.

Contest Pimping Time: Enough Already

Another contest is going on out there in the blogosphere.  This time by Enough Already and his audience participation contest.  Up for grabs are a collection of mysteries and surprises with something for everyone.  There is even a Jeter and Pujols GU in the mix.  Now what collector wouldn't want to get in on this one. 

All you have to do is go here and fill out the questionaire.  That's it.  You don't even have to rap.

Check it out now.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Contest Pimping Time: Hey That's Mine!

It's time for another contest that isn't sponsored nor has anything to do with yours truly.  That's a great part about blogging.  If you don't have any content at the moment, you can just pimp out your fellow bloggers stuff.  Especially when it is something really cool like this.

Head on over to Hey That's Mine! where your custom card owning dreams can come true.  He is holding a contest to win one of his Big D custom cards.  I must say that he does some nice work, too.  Basically there will be 5 winners and all you need to do is:

1) comment

2) be lucky

Easy enough, right?  I thought so.  Go there now.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

It's time for a little audience participation

Having not picked up any new 2010 Topps in quite awhile, I have not really had the need to log any codes into the transmogrifier to see what late 80s gems await me.  I have been on there once or twice since my last code entry but it seems that every time I arrive, the site is so bogged down that it takes 15 minutes just to load the homepage.

I have been reading numerous posts on blogs about trades that have been completed for various cards, and even a few "cashed in" tales, both positive and negative.  After reading Rob, from Voice of the Collector's bit on there about the misadventures of his favorite card, I was curious.  I decided to log in for once and see what the trading feature was all about.

Low and behold, I have 16 trade offers awaiting me.  My first thought was that I didn't think I had 16 cards to trade.  Upon inspection, I found this was the case (as I only have 11) but there were 3 cards in particular that everyone seemed interested in.  So here is my proposal...I am going to show my trade offers and let the masses (ie. all three people) decide which offer I should accept.  Just comment with what you think and the leading votes will win.  On Sunday, I will abide by whatever the readers decide.

First up, the 1987 Kirby Puckett.  1987?  Come on.  You can't be serious.  I though everyone out there had stockpiles of these.  Apparently not.   Here is what is being offered for trade:

1. 1985 Jerry Williard (Cleveland)
2. 1981 Jeff Newman (Oakland)
3. 2007 Derrick Turnbow (Milwaukee)
4. 1987 Bret Saberhagen (KC)
5. 2004 Clint Hurdle (Colorado)
6. 1985 Dan Driessen (Montreal)
7. 2005 Bobby Crosby (Oakland)

Now being of sound body and sound mind (debatable) I know when I am out of my league.  Being out of baseball for so long, I will admit that I haven't the faintest idea of who either Turnbow, Hurdle or Crosby are.  I used to be a fan of Bret Saberhagen back in the 80s and 90s when you used to be able to tell if it was an even or odd year based on his success (I think I also remember him spraying paint or acid or something on some reporters in the 90s.  My memory is a bit foggy).  The other idea.

Next Up, another 1987.  This time Mike Pagliarulo.  Pags played for the Yankees, Padres, Orioles, and won a World Series with the Twins.  Other than the series ring, he led the Yankees in home runs once in 87.  Not much else for me to talk about for Mike.  Here is what is being offered.
1. 1986 Tom Seaver
2. 1999 Matt Walbeck
Obviously I know who Tom Seaver is (he was Mike's brother on Growing Pains, right?).  But Walbeck? clue.

Finally we have probably the best card in my collection of TMCG cards (and oldest).  A 1960 Bobby Thomson.  Yes, the "Shot Heard Round the World" Bobby Thomson.  Now this isn't a premium card by any means and is probably not even in that great of a condition considering some of the other 60s era cards that have been delivered thus far.  For all I know, it may even have a now mid-50 somethings childhood doodling on the back.  Frankly, I have only kept it around this long because it was the oldest card I had pulled and let's face it, it is a cool looking piece of cardboard.  Here is what is being offered:
1. 1973 Bill Buckner (Dodgers)
2. 1962 Don Demeter (Phillies)
3. 1962 Joe Koppe (Angels)
4. 1958 Gino Cimoli (Dodgers)
5. 1970 Bob Tolan (Reds)
I was originally tempted by the Cimoli card because it is older and it has a picture of a guy batting with no bat in his hand.  I also thought about the Buckner card for the simple fact that Bill's legend will live on forever in infamy because of his gaffe in the 1986 World Series.  I always have had respect for athletes that have such a love for their game that they can play for what seems like forever (Bill played in games that spanned four decades). 

So there you have it.  So many choices, so little knowledge.  This really wouldn't have been a problem if some vintage Pirates were offered up for trade but to no avail.  And with that, I leave the voting up to the readers.  Leave a comment and vote for which cards I should trade for in each case.

Monday, May 17, 2010

R.I.P. Ronnie James Dio

With one of my other great passions being music, it saddened me to hear about the passing of one of the most amazing talents of all time...Ronnie James Dio. 

For anyone that isn't familiar with RJD or his work, he is regarded as one of the most powerful singers in all of heavy metal and hard rock.  Ronnie has been the front man for Elf, Rainbow, Black Sabbath, his own band DIO, and most recently, the current incarnation of Black Sabbath known as Heaven & Hell with Geezer Butler, Tony Iommi, and Vinny Appice.  Ronnie is perhaps more famous, at least in popular culture by the masses that don't know his music, as being credited with the popularization of the "devil horns" gesture that everyone has used at some point or another to voice their love of a band or music at a concert.

Ronnie finally lost his battle with with stomach cancer that he had been fighting since last November.  He died on Sunday morning (the Sabbath day) after saying his goodbyes to his friends and family.  I never met RJD in person but I had the chance to see him perform live on a number of occasions.  His voice was more powerful and consistent than any singer I have ever heard each and everytime he held the mic.  His stage presence was monsterous, despite his diminuative stature.  I have always heard stories of how he was one of the nicest, most approachable, and generous people in the music industry.  From seeing him live, he was always extrememly grateful to all the fans that continued to support him through his career. 

Those of you out there with Sirius/XM radio, today's Eddie Trunk show will be a tribute to RJD.  His show is on at 6:00PM Eastern Time on the Boneyard.

RIP Ronnie.  We have lost one of the greatest but your music will last forever. 

Possibly one of the hokiest, ridiculous videos of all time for one of the greatest songs of all time.  I LOVE IT!!  We will miss you, Ronnie.

Random Steeler Monday

I have decided to change the name of this feature to Random Steeler Monday from Random Steeler CARD Monday.  It was a bit of a misnomer considering I featured multiple cards of a player for the last three weeks.  So instead, I am picking a player, either living or dead, past or present, and featuring them in a post with a few of thier cards.  Why?  Because I can.

So this week I am kind of straying down a different path with this one.  Can anyone guess who this guy is?

While that clearly isn't a Pittsburgh Steelers jersey he is wearing, it doesn't change the fact that this man has had a pivotal impact on the Steelers organization and is a key to some of the hardware that graces the confines of Hines field. 

This man is an innovator and defensive genius when it comes to coaching, and is arguably the best defensive coach professional football has ever seen.  He is credited with creating the zone blitz while coaching the Cincinnati Bengals (I certainly don't hold that against him, or do I?).  After becoming a coach with the Steelers back in 1992, his influence led to a multitude of players being named to the Pro Bowl that hadn't been there before, including Rod Woodson (HOF), Carnell Lake, Greg Lloyd, and Kevin Greene.  I haven't even touched on his successes with the Bengals.

Give up yet?

Here's a hint (giveaway)...

It's none other than the newest Pittsburgh Steeler member to be elected to the Hall of Fame....