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Friday, April 27, 2012

The Penguins Public Pittsburgh Apology



Nuff Said.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

WIth The First Pick In The 2012 NFL Draft, The Steelers Choose...

This guy...




David DeCastro, Offensive Guard out of Stanford.  

Am I happy with this pick....You better believe it!!  I have waited years to see the Steelers actually get a first round pick for a needed position.  DeCastro has an opportunity to come into camp and challenge right out of the gate for the starting job.  As soon as he was drafted, Mike Mayock's comment went something like this..."He's a natural Pittsburgh Steeler. He's a plug-and-play guard....this kid fits in Pittsburgh."  There isn't much else to say about that because I agree 100%
 
I didn't watch him at all since I rarely watch college football but I have seen film of him in the last few months when it became apparent that the Steelers were going for an O-lineman.  They guy is a technician on the field and plays his position perfectly.  What stood out to my was his ability to drive his opponent back, as well as shift them at will in whatever direction he wanted.  Despite being a big man, he seems light on his feet and very athletic.  
 
I'm not an analyst so I couldn't really find his weaknesses.  The so-called "experts" seem to think he has problems finishing off blocks downfield in the run game.  They think he has lazy footwork at times which causes him to fall off and become disengaged with his opponent. If that's all they got against him, I'll still take it.  

There are a few of DeCastro's cards so far for this year.  I have none of them, nor will I anytime soon.  I checked one of the red Leaf autos on the Bay right as the Steelers picked him.  It was $.99 with still 2 days left.  Within 10 minutes, it had 7 bids and is now over $10.  Sometimes I don't like the information age and the easy access to technology.

I can't wait to see what we have up our sleeves though for the next few rounds.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

6 Random Things On My Desk

My desk is a mess.  There are cards all over it that have not been sorted or put away.  There are piles I have been saving for other collectors.  There are Ebay purchases.  There are auction items.  There are set fillers.  There are autos, game used cards, inserts, PC items, oddball things, non-card sports stuff, supplies...it is just a disaster area. 

Here is a random post of 6 things on my desk for no particular reason.

2011 Press Pass Blaine Gabbert (Banner Season) Refectors #81 - - "One of the most successful quarterbacks ever to don a Missouri jersey, the talented Gabbert claimed 18 wins during his two years as a starting quarterback for the Tigers.  Included in that number were the 10 he ehlmed in the 2010 season, marking just the fourth 10-2 win season in 120 years of the school's football history."  I don't know where this came from.  It's just in a stack of football to be filed away. 

2011-12 Crown Royale Nicklas Lidstrom #33 - - "The veteran blueliner is still a ways from catching Steve Yzerman for second on Detroit's career list for power-play goals (202), but it's never wise to discount the ageless wonder.  Lidstrom put away his first power-play goal of 2011-12 vs. Columbus on Oct. 21, pushing his lifetime total to 129."  This was pulled from a Hobby Box of Crown Royale earlier this year. 

2003-04 In The Game Be A Player Memorabilia Series Game-Used Stick & Jersey #SJ-11 - - This is a card for my Billy G. PC.  I pulled this off the Bay not too long ago for a steal.  You don't see these very often so when you do, the best time to buy is NOW!  The sweater piece is from a Dallas Stars jersey and a piece of his stick.   Guerin used Easton sticks and the piece on here looks like it comes from the bottom of the shaft near the blade where there is a yellow starburst that says "CARBON".  I think that's the "R".  Years ago, he used Vic sticks but by the time he got to Boston he was using the Eastons.

2008 Upper Deck Football Heroes Billy Sims #206 Serial #/75 - - "The first overall pick in the 1980 draft, Sims was a Po Bowl participant in each of his first three seasons with the Lions.  His rookie campaign was a huge success as the Heisman Trophy winner from Oklahoma gained 1,303 yards on the ground and caught another 51 passes for 621 yards as Detroit improved from two wins the previous season to nine victories and a second-place finish in the NFC Central."  This came from a Retail Box of 2008 UD Football Heroes that I got quite a while ago, also from Meijer.  These have been sitting here for a long time.  The rest of the cards from that box break are on the desk too.  I think this is some kind of colored parallel.  I'm not sure if they call it Brown or Bronze.

2012 Topps Chrome Mickey Mantle #MBC1 - - "In at least two categories - switch - hitting prowess and sheer fan appeal - Mickey's career stacks up with that of any player.  Architect of some of the longest home runs in Baseball history, the revered hero blasted 536 plus a record 18 more in World Series play.  Mantle's plaque in Monument Park at Yankee Stadium reads "A Great Teammate" and "A magnificent Yankee who left a legacy of unequaled courage"."  I'm pretty sure by now every baseball collector in America has at least one of these.  Maybe even a dozen.  They come from those Topps Value Boxes found in Retail Stores with five packs of regular Topps and two packs of Heritage.  These are randomly thrown , one per box and include the Mick here, as well as Willie Mays and Ken Griffey Jr.  Some say they are Refractors but even though they look like it, no where on the card does it allude to that fact.

2012 Topps Golden Greats Nolan Ryan #GG-8 - - The card says "Express," Meet "Train" and is dated April 27, 1983.  "By the end of 1982, both Ryan and Steve Carlton were closing in on Walter Johnson's all-time strikeout record.  Nolan got there first during a masterful outing against the Expos the following year.  He caught Brad Mills looking in the bottom of the eighth for his 3,509th career whiff.  That inning would be his last, as the bullpen finished off a 4-2 Astros win."  This obviously came from this years Topps flagship baseball set.  I still haven't decided if I want to keep these and collect them along with the rest of the set considering there are so many.  This one is a double though.

If any reader wants any of these (except the Guerin), let me know.  My set needs and what I collect can be found on the right side of the page.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Who's Idea Was It: Hockey Heroes

Who's idea was it to make these impossible to find in boxes?



The odds are 1:600 packs that you will get one.  That comes out to about 1 every three cases or so.  That's completely absurd if you ask me.  I was lucky enough to win an online auction for the Art card you see here and came out of the deal fairly unscathed, cash-wise.  Sure its a nice looking card, even better in hand.  But is it 1:600 nice?

In the beginning and for many years, the sets were single subject driven.  I remember the first set in 1991-92 with Brett Hull as the subject.  Even back then the Header cards were practically impossible to find.  But I can tell you I do remember seeing them pulled from packs and their owners being less than thrilled with their discovery.  In fact, I can recall quite a few friends abandoning them since to a novice, younger generation collector, they just looked like an advertisement with no picture.  And who wants that?  The Art card was actually a checklist and was fairly easily found in packs.

Over the years, Upper Deck did a nice job with these sets, including them across the board in all of their sports releases.  


In 1992-93, they chose Wayne Gretzky for the Low Series and Gordie Howe for the High Series, both with limited insertion of the Header cards. The Art cards were checklists and were pulled fairly regularly although I don't remember ever getting the Howe except years later as a single purchase from random boxes at card shows.  My scanner cut off the border for some reason on this one.


In 1993-94 they mixed it up a bit with a Future Heroes set featuring younger stars in the making of the NHL.  I don't think the Headers were short printed however, because I remember getting them quite a few times (or maybe I was just lucky). 


Here is the Art card which isn't really art at all; more like a photo collage (scrapbooking before it was cool; okay maybe it was never cool).  Check out all the talent featured here.  You have Jagr, Lindros, Mogilny, Selanne, Bure, Potvin, Falloon, & Juneau.  How many sure fire Hall of Famers do you see in there...3? 4? Maybe even 6?  Realistically, I would definitely pick 4 and you may even be safe with 5. 



After that season, we didn't see this set emerge again until 2008-09.  Why?  I don't think anyone really knows.  There were a number of sets mixed in to the main release with "Heroes" in the title, such as Lord Stanley's Heroes, Highlight Heroes, Hometown Heroes, or Hat Trick Heroes, but no true Hockey Heroes set to speak of.  That's 15 years without a Heroes set.  Imagine all the other subject material that could have been printed...Lemieux, Bourque, Roy, Bobby Hull, Mike Bossy, the list is endless.


Sidney Crosby was the subject for the 2008 resurrection of the set and was only included in Series I packs.  Like the original release in 1991-92, there was only one set released.  Above is his Art card.  I never pulled one.  I don't know anyone that pulled one.  Other than on Ebay, I've never even seen one in person.  I imagine the collation was similar to this years set although I am not real sure.

The following year split it up again with Martin Brodeur in the Series I set...


and Mark Messier in Series II. 


Again, I have neither of these nor have I ever seen them anywhere but the Bay.  They, along with the Crosby, ditched the white border for a full bleed portrait that is really a nice touch for such a difficult card to pull.

2010-11 chose Steve Yzerman for Series I and Bobby Orr for Series II.  Below is the Bobby Orr Art card featuring "The Goal".  Of course it's just like the others...never seen one live and in person.




To the right here is the header card for the Yzerman set.  It's been pretty much the same every year since the inception of the Hockey Heroes.  The design really hasn't changed that much other than some subtle adjustments to the borders and font.  I actually pulled this one from a pack in one of those multi-repacked value boxes from Meijer a year or so ago.  Needless to say, I didn't throw this one away.  It is in with the rest of the cards from the set.  I have actually had a harder time completing this base set than I did finding the Header.

In 2011-12, as you can see at the top of the post, they decided to venture down a different path, creating a decades theme that features 1950s superstars in Series I and 1960s superstars in Series II.  Next year, they are planning to release 1970s stars in Series I and 1980s stars in Series II.  Maybe for 2013-14 they will continue with 1990s stars and 2000's stars...who knows?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Latest Ebay pickups for the PC and the Return of the PWE

As the Pens are heading out of the playoffs, my focus on hockey cards could be facing it's annual lull...

Awww, who am I kidding?  I have no lulls in collecting.  Even when I am bored with it sometimes, I find something to re-spark that interest.  At any rate, I picked up a few more for the PC off the Bay over the last week or so that have found their way to my humble abode. 

As an unrelated, well somewhat related, side note; I have been noticing a lot lately that sellers are starting to bring back the ever popular PWE, or Plain White Envelopes.  I have gone about a year or so without seeing a single one of these but in the last two weeks I have received 4 of them.  I generally haven't made a big stink about these because for the most part, the PWEers will package the items well enough that their containers haven't led to their demise.  Mostly that's because they are only single cards and really haven't taken much abuse.  But there is always that chance.

I am more bothered by the fact that for most auctions, shipping prices have increased in order for sellers to off set the new Ebay seller charges.  As an occasional seller, I get that.  What I don't get is how anyone can charge $2.50 or more (one was actually $3.75) for shipping and send it in a PWE.  That, my friends, is ridiculous.  Especially when you get the envelope and happen to notice that the shipping cost was barely a buck.  I know what you are all thinking...So don't bid.  Yeah that's one option but when you find stuff that you don't normally see very often and it would make a nice addition to your PC, as a collector, you have to bid.  You have to.  It's a law.  I know none of "us" are the culprits here but I just wanted to voice my concern. 

So back to the subject at hand.  Let's show off some new PC stuff.


Here are two more Letter Marks cards from SPGame Used for my Eric Tangradi collection.  Finding one of these is a feat in and of itself.  But two?  That's ludicrous.  Fortunately, the same seller had both.  I now have 2 "A's" and this "D".  I now need T, N, G, R, & I.  I think I mentioned on here once about the "T" that I had won but it was conveniently lost in the mail.  That's ok, though.  There are 49 others out there and one day I will snag one.  I just hope it is before he gets traded to another team.  He played some good hockey in the playoffs so he might have a chance at staying on for another year.  I hope he can make a roster spot next season but with the talent in the Pens farm system, that's never an easy task.


This is one that I was quite happy about.  It's an 05-06 Parkhurst Season Highlights card of everybody's favorite diving whiner, Sidney Crosby.  I saw this card and noticed it looked quite different than the one I thought I already had.  First, the "Season Highlights" block on the left side is red instead of the tan color on the base card.  Second, you can see right there next to the puck he is holding.  Yeah, that's an autograph.  But...not a real autograph.  The card is #586 in the set but this one is serial numbered #/100.  FOr some reason, Parkhurst included a Facsimile Autograph parallel set that were serial numbered.  I'm not sure what genius at Upper Deck came up with this idea back then, especially considering there are Signature cards included in the basic print run.  Maybe they just got bored with different borders or foil stamping.  I don't know. 

I have seen these at shows before selling for upwards of $50 (for a fake auto?  that's crazy).  I guess the PG has it listed for $60.  I bid on this one after looking at completed auctions.  They were selling for $20-40 pretty consistently so at $5 bucks, I figured why not?  I got it for $10.  SOLD!


I know GU cards have lost their luster (assuming they had luster in the first place) but I still like them.  I like Rookie Materials cards even better.  There is something about getting that little piece of jersey from a guy just starting their career that is satisfying as a collector.  I'm not a Colorado fan/collector nor am I on some crusade to start a Landeskog collection.  But I couldn't resist making a play for this at a couple cents and was fortunate enough to get it.  After busting about a half a case of Series II this year, I am surprised I didn't pull this one on my own.  Regardless, I guess this guy is kind of good or something...

- Lead Colorado in goals (22), plus/minus (+22), shots (267), hits (216) and game-winning goals (5-tied).
- Is the only Avalanche player to appear in all games.
- Set the franchise rookie record for shots on goal with 267.
- Is the youngest player in franchise history to score an OT goal (19 years, 110 days).
- NHL Rookie of the Month for February after leading all rookies with 13 points (7g/6a) in 12 games.
- Had a six-game point streak (5g/5a) from Feb. 17-27, the longest streak by an Avalanche player this season.
- Set the franchise rookie record with shots on goal in a single game, nine vs. Vancouver and again at Winnipeg.
- Represented the Avalanche at the 2012 NHL All-Star Weekend in Ottawa, participating in the All-Star Skills Competition on Jan. 28.
- Youngest Swedish-born player in NHL history to score a goal.

He is one of the three finalists for the Calder, which has already been chosen but won't be announced until the awards show.  If you ask me, he should be the front runner because I think he meant more to his team overall.  In the end, I think the Nuge will get the nod, though, with the better points per game.