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Group Break entries are now closed, the boxes have been ordered and secondary teams have been randomized. Follow THIS LINK for final team assignments.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A Couple Ryne Sandberg Rookie Cards

I picked up Ryne Sandberg's 1983 Fleer & Donruss rookie cards, because what self-respecting Ryno fan doesn't have these?


When I began collecting cards at the age of 11 or 12, these were way out of my price range, but now that I'm 33, they can be had, practically, for pocket change. Still, despite having a much larger budget, I never pulled the trigger on them. I'm not sure why. I guess with all of the focus on various hobby innovations each year, some of these basic purchases get forgotten about. Still, I'm glad to finally have these cards in my collection.

Also, I finally gave Ryno the "Sidney Crosby Treatment" and scanned and cataloged each and every card I have of his into Photobucket. I have a link to the right, which will help me keep track of what I have and what I still need.  Next, I have to do the same to Mario Lemieux and JJ Watt, and my player collection displays will be complete. Well, for now, at least.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Trade with Beware the Hockey Card Closet

Here's the results of another trade with Kyle from Beware the Hockey Card Closet. It was a simple 3-for-3 deal, but here are the cards he sent in return.

209-10 SPX Mike Modano/Brad Richards Winning Combos Dual Jersey


2009-10 Be A Player Krys Barch Autograph


2006-07 Flair Showcase Jamie Lundmark Showcase Stitches Jersey


The first two now have a home in my Dallas Stars Collection, but the Lundmark was pretty much just an add-in to even out the numbers, so if anyone is interested, it is now residing in my Trade Bait Folder.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Cleaning Out the Team Collections

With the new year here, I decided it would be best to make a few minor changes to my collection. For one, I had to make some changes to the specific teams I was collecting. Of course the Penguins have, and always will be, my top priority, and my top teams in baseball, football, and basketball remain the same. As far as other teams go, though, there will be a slight difference.

Originally, I began collecting hits of the Minnesota Wild and Winnipeg Jets, due to the fact that I was living in Fargo, ND, which is equally close to both of them. Last summer, we moved to Moorhead, MN, which is literally just like moving across town, only there's a state border in the middle of that town. However, since I am now a Minnesota resident, I figured I could leave the Jets out of it. Still, the move up to America's Great White North from Houston is a temporary one, and we will likely be moving back down to Texas at some point in the next couple of years. I know that once that happens, I will begin collecting Dallas Stars cards, so I figured if it's inevitable, why not start now?

So now, instead of one album with Jets/Wild Hits, I now have two separate albums for my Minnesota Wild Collection and Dallas Stars Collection, to go along with my Pittsburgh Penguins Collection.

In addition to that, I also had to do a bit of house cleaning on my already-existing team collections. If a player joins a team I collect, I'll add their cards from a previous team to the collection. However, once that player leaves the team, and the card no longer has any ties to the team, it's time to take it out. My Texans and Rockets collections remained the same, but I had to remove the following cards from my Pittsburgh Penguins and Chicago Cubs collections.

Pittsburgh Penguins
Brenden Morrow - 2011-12 Titanium Game-Worn Gear Prime Jersey/Auto 17/25


Brenden Morrow - 2011-12 Titanium Game-Worn Gear Jersey


Chicago Cubs
Alfonso Soriano - 2003 Absolute Memorabilia Total Bases Base 12/117


Matt Garza - 2008 Upper Deck X Jersey


David DeJesus - 2011 Gypsy Queen Auto


David DeJesus - 2004 Bowman Sterling Jersey/Auto


David DeJesus - 2004 Bowman Sterling Refractor Jersey/Auto 125/199


That should be it for now. I'll be doing some adjusting to my player collections over the next couple of weeks, but until then, all these cards are now for trade, so if anyone is interested, just let me know.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

2013 Upper Deck All-Time Greats Basketball Box Break

I went to my LCS last week, hoping for a box of Dominion, but unfortunately, they were sold out. So, instead of being a responsible card buyer, and saving my money for the next time they were in stock, I decided to take a gamble on something I was unfamiliar with: 2012-13 Upper Deck All-Time Greats Basketball.

Now, before I took this box home, I knew absolutely nothing bout it, but here's what it is. Each box contains four cards. Three are serial-numbered base cards, one is an autographed card, and in most cases, all four will be of the same player. This carries a very high price tag for a one-hit product, but that is due to the high-profile names they have autographing cards. Some of the "All-Time Greats" signing for the set are Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Lebron James, Julius Erving, David Robinson, Hakeem Olajuwon, and others. The worst you could do would be guys like Allen Iverson or Ray Allen, who aren't bad at all.

Here's the video of my break, with scans to follow:



I like what they did with the tin, having one of the cards peeking through a window. I will say, having a limited basketball knowledge, I had no idea who it was until I opened it up and saw the name.


Paul Pierce Base Card 64/150
Pierce has five base cards in the set, each of which has a different point in their pre-NBA career highlighted. This one in particular talked about the stellar start to his college career, finishing second on the Kansas Jayhawks his first two seasons, before leading the team his junior year. Raef LaFrentz topped him his first two years.


Paul Pierce Silver Spectrum Parallel 4/50
This card mentions Pierce earning consensus All-American his junior year, after leading the Jayhawks to a 35-4 record and Big 12 tournament and regular season championships.


Paul Pierce Silver Spectrum Parallel 35/50
The back of this card goes into Pierce's final Jayhawks statistics. After leaving the team when his junior year was done, Pierce ranked fifth all-time among the Jayhawks for career points. As of the time the card was printed, he ranked eight in that statistic and ninth in school history with 645 career field goals.


Paul Pierce Signatures 5/50
The player image on this card is printed in black and white, which works out pretty well, I think, when you are putting together a set focused on the past. The signature is done on-card with black ink to match along with the lack of color, and it is hand-numbered, which is cool. The only color you get id from the gold foil.


All-Time Greats is one of those products where your opinion of it is directly tied in with what you pull. Nothing against Pierce, but when you spend that much money on a box of cards, his isn't the autograph you were looking for. Of course, I would be feeling much different if I pulled a Jordan/Bird dual auto. I will say, though, that I am pretty sure that there are no redemptions at all in All-Time Greats, which is definitely a positive. If you are a basketball fan, this product might be worth a shot, but if you aren't, it might be best to find a much lower-risk product.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

2013-14 Panini Titanium Box Break

After getting trimmed from the rotation in 2012-13 due to the NHL lockout, Panini Titanium is back in full force for 2013-14. The base cards are slim but the hits are a-plenty, just as they were in the 2011-12 relaunch. Each box contains five packs of four cards, with each pack containing one autograph or jersey card.

Anyway, let's get to the break:



My base cards game me just one Penguin, Sidney Crosby, which is good. However, since I collect Crosby as a player individually, I need two cards of his if I am going to build a set. The cards look nice, and as an added element from the 2011-12 release, these base cards are foil. Still, there's one thing that bothered me. 


I picked up a couple retail tins of Titanium last week, and got plenty of base cards, but the problem is, they are not foiled. So, basically, you can either complete a hobby set or a retail set, but you cannot mix the two, which is a pain, because retail is the best way to compile base cards. Going hobby, it's a bit difficult to build a 100-card set, when you only pull about 14 base cards in a box. I guess in that case, I was lucky to pull a Crosby.

 
Rookie: Patrick Bordeleau Rookie 6/100
You usually get one rookie card in each box, and there are two versions. The base version is numbered to the player's jersey number, and there is also a parallel, numbered to a player's draft position, numbered to a maximum of 100. Bordeleau was selected 114th overall in 2004 by the Minnesota Wild, making his card numbered to 100. First overall picks like Crosby, Alexander Ovechkin, and Marc-Andre Fleury are 1/1s.


Each four-card pack contains one jersey or autographed card. As always, there are different versions of most, containing prime jersey pieces, patches, and autographed memorabilia cards. Here's a quick look at my five.

Dustin Byfuglien Game-Worn Gear Jersey
From the looks of this card, it appears as though Panini has gotten rid of Byfuglien's Thrashers sweaters and now has some Jets sweaters in circulation.


Zach Parise Game-Worn Gear Jersey 
This one, on the other hand, I'm not sure of. The Wild have red sweaters, but for some reason, I think this one is from the Devils.


Ryan Getzlaf/Matthew Lombardi Dual Jersey 237/300
I seem to be pulling quite a few Getzlaf hits this year. As always, this one will soon be heading to Greg at Plaschke, Thy Sweater is Argyle


Jonathan Marchessault Titanium Reserve Auto
Never heard about this guy before pulling this card, but according to Wikipedia, he played a whole two games in the NHL last year, and has been with the AHL's Springfield Falcons for the duration of this season.


Ryan Hamilton Metallic Marks Bronze Auto
Hamilton was a part of 2012-13's rookie class as a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs, so these are his post-rookie sticker dump cards. He players two NHL games in 2011-12 and 10 NHL games in 2012-13, before signing with the Edmonton Oilers in the 2013 off-season. Hamilton has been playing for most of this season with the AHL's Oklahoma City Barons, but has made it up to the Oilers roster for two games.


That's it for Titanium. I'd say I got an average box. I git my guaranteed five hits, plus the one rookie card, but nothing too spectacular. The Parise jersey's a great card, though, and one that I can add to my Minnesota Wild Collection.

Monday, January 20, 2014

2005-06 Be A Player Brooks Orpk Autograph

Here's an autographed card I picked up, not only because he plays for my favorite team, but there aren't really a whole lot of certified Brooks Orpik autographs out there. This one in particular comes from 2005-06 Upper Deck Be A Player.


Orpik was the first round selection (18th overall) of the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft. Most players nowadays have 5 or 6 different autograph or relic cards in each set their rookie year, but that trend didn't pop up until the mid-2000s, well after Orpik had established himself as a Penguins mainstay. Still, there are a few hits of his out there, and if I can get my hands one one, I'm going to jump at that chance.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Tanner Jago Autographed Puck

I took my wife & my two girls to the Fargo Force game last night & we had a good time. Well, at least, as much time as can be had when you take a five-year-old and a two-year-old to a hockey game. The two-year-old absolutely refused to sit still, and the five-year-old was more concerned with hitting the concession stand than watching the action on the ice. Then again, there wasn't much action to watch, as the Force were outshot 13-35 by the Indianapolis Ice on their way to a 4-1 loss. It is tough to be a fan of a team during a rebuilding year, but we are still sticking by our boys.

After each game, the team makes one player, featured as the "Player Spotlight" available after the game to meet the fans and sign autographs. This game afforded me the opportunity to get a puck signed by defenseman Tanner Jago.


One of the few Canadians on the team, Jago has scored one goal and five assists in 32 games for the Force. He still has another year left int he juniors before moving on to college hockey, so we'll see if the seasoning makes a difference as time goes on. Despite a tough loss, he was very nice after the game, and patient enough to take a picture with my two little girls.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Sidney Crosby Case Hit: 2013-14 Black Diamond Hardware Heroes

 I absolutely love Upper Deck Black Diamond's Hardware Heroes inserts and was able to pick up their most recent Sidney Crosby card. This one is from the 2013-14 release and recognizes his 2013 Ted Lindsay Award win.


The card itself is numbered 91/100 and features foil on, pretty much, the entire front surface. The center image is cut out, and the player's image is printed on a clear material, front and back, to give it a window effect. The big difference between this year and years past, is that the cards used to be die-cut around the trophy, which I really liked. Still, it doesn't take away from how awesome these cards are.

Friday, January 17, 2014

A Few Slideshow Cards from 2012 Panini Rookies & Stars

I picked up this amazing card of Washington Redskins' quarterback Robert Griffin III, and with quite a deal. This one in particular is a Slideshow card from 2012 Panini Rookies & Stars. These have a slide inserted in the center of the card with a photograph taken at the NFLPA Rookie Premiere, and the slide itself is autographed by the player. This one is serial numbered 6/50.



Before this one, the only other one that sold on Ebay within the last three months went for $125.38. Mine was won for a mere $64 w/ free shipping. Either I got a steal, or Griffin's stock has fallen that much in the past few months. Either way, I absolutely love the card.

A big reason I had been looking for a Slideshow card had to do with the fact that I pulled a damaged one out of a hobby box previously. I sent it in to Panini to get replaced, but they didn't have another Justin Blackmon, so I was sent a hockey card in its place. I was happy with what I got in return, but at the same time, I really liked the Slideshow card, so I still wanted one for my collection, no matter who it was. I started looking for deals, and before even finding the Grifffin, I picked up this Joe Adams, numbered 17/50, for just a couple bucks.


Now, I'm neither a Joe Adams fan, nor a Carolina Panthers fan, so if anybody wants this card, it's up for trade.

Lastly, I decided to get the one card from the set that I can add to my Houston Texans Collection: a DeVier Posey, numbered 31/50.


What started off as looking for one card, turned into purchasing three, but when the cards look these nice, that's not really a bad thing.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

2013-14 Black Diamond Grant Fuhr Championship Rings All-Time Greats

I only kind of like the Edmonton Oilers, but I have a much higher interest in the team when it comes to the Oilers dynasty of the 1980s. The team features future Hockey Hall-of-Famers like Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, Jari Kurri, Glenn Anderson, Paul Coffey, and Grant Fuhr.


This card of Fuhr, the goaltender for the Oilers, comes from 2013-14 Upper Deck Black Diamond and recognizes his Stanley Cup win in 1988, when they swept the Boston Bruins for their fourth Cup in five years. The Championship Rings cards come in two different versions. The previous season's Stanley Cup winners get an insert set, with a design that changes each year, and there is also an All-Time Greats set, which pays tribute to past Cup winners, on a card design that remains the same over different releases. Whichever design is used, these cards look fantastic. The base of the card is on an acetate material, with the player's image printed on the clear surface. Then, a second layer is placed on top, which features the ring. The cool thing with the ring is that it features a rainbow-type of foilf that changes color, depending on how the light hits it.

These are great cards and can be had at an affordable price. I think this Fuhr ran me about seven bucks shipped, but cards can be had cheaper, especially for some of the "lesser" players on the Cup-winning teams. Even if it isn't a big name, I'd recommend picking up one of these, just to have something that looks so great in your collection.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Some Pretty Awesome Booklets from 2012-13 Panini Preferred

I don't have much to say about these, other than they're just really cool cards. 

Panini Preferred is a high-end, four-card-per-box product that made its debut last season. Each pox contains four one-card packs, which will combine to three serial-numbered autographed cards and one multi-jersey booklet card. I opened up a box of the product last year and pulled an eight-jersey booklet of NBA Hall-of-Famers.

This year, not wanting to spend that much money on this particular product, I decided to just cut out the middle man and purchase a couple booklets. It's much cheaper this way, as the following two booklets made it my way for a combined $25 shipped. Much cheaper than dropping $170 on a box, only to get one booklet.

"FINALS" - James Harden, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Lebron James 139/199
This features the top three players from each team participating in the 2012 NBA Finals. I like Both Kevin Durant and James Harden (who is a Houston Rocket now), but to me, what makes this card great is that they didn't skimp out on the Heat players. If you have three slots, you HAVE to go with their Big Three of Lebron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh.


"LOTTERY" - John Wall, Derrick Favors, DeMarcus Cousins, Al-Farouq Aminu, Gordon Hayward, Greg Monroe, Evan Turner 141/199
This card features seven players who were selected by lottery teams (the first 14) in the 2010 NBA Entry Draft, although these are not the first seven. The order goes: Wall (1), Turner (2), Favors (3), Cousins (5), Monroe (7), Aminu (8), and Hayward (9). The two left out of the first nine were Wesley Johnson (4) and Ekpe Udoh (6). Overall this proved to be a pretty weak draft, as only one player out of the 60 total selections has even been selected for an All-Star Game or All-NBA Team, which was Paul George, selected 10th overall.


I'm not sure if the booklet thing will stick around long-term, but with Preferred, Playbook (football), and Dominion (hockey), Panini is working their hardest to keep it going. Let's hope the trend continues, because these are some fantastic-looking cards at some incredibly reasonable prices.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Redemption Replacement Roulette: 6-For-6 from Panini

A few months back, I posted on a six-card redemption replacement request I made to Panini, and after a few months of waiting, the exchange came back to me. Here's a look at the cards I got back:

Redemption: 2011-12 Dominion Rick Tocchet/Joe Vitale Pen Pals Dual Auto /50
Replacement: 2011-12 Elie Kris Letang Elite Signings Auto


Redemption: 2012 Limited Bernard Pierce Phenoms Patch/Auto /299
Replacement: 2011-12 Marc-Andre Fleury All the King's Men Auto/Jersey 25/100


Redemption: 2011-12 Dominion Simon Despres/Erik Gudbranson Pen Pals Dual Auto /50
Replacement: 2011-12 Certified Brian Strait Freshman Signatures Emerald Parallel 2/5


Redemption: 2012 Crown Royale DeVier Posey Rookie Silhouette Silver Patch/Auto /149
Replacement: 2011 Contenders Rookie Ticket TJ Yates Auto


Redemption:2012 Totally Certified DeVier Posey Certified Future Jersey/Auto /175
Replacement: 2012 Prime Signatues Brian Cushing 63/75


Redemption: 2012-13 Limited New Jersey Devils Rookie Redemption /499
Replacement: 2012 Prizm Kevin Walter Auto 4/49


There you have it. I'm a little bit mixed in my opinion on this one. There were some wins, like trading in a non-jersey/non-auto rookie redemption card in for a low-numbered autographed card, but there were also some losses, like how I also swapped in a patch/auto numbered to 149, for an un-numbered autographed card with no jersey piece at all. Still, I won't complain too much. I've gotten some MAJOR wins in the past, like a low-numbered Evgeni Malkin autograph, or a James Neal autographed jersey card. Plus, while it would have been nice to have those two Dominion dual autos, if they haven't been filled almost two years later, I assume they never will, so I'd be better off at least getting something in return, right?

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Josh McCown Autograph from 2002 Press Pass

There aren't a whole lot of Sam Houston State University alumni with NFL cardboard, but Josh McCown is one of them. I was lucky enough to pick up this autographed card from 2002 Press Pass. While I usually stay away from card that do not picture a player in their pro uniform, when the photo has him in the colors of my alma mater, I'm more than happy to make an exception.


McCown was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in the third round of the 2002 NFL Draft, and played four seasons there before Kurt Warner took the starting job from him in 2005. Over the next few years, McCown was signed to the Detroit Lions, Oakland Raiders, Miami Dolphins, Carolina Panthers, Hartford Colonials (UFL), and the San Fransisco 49ers.

After being released by the 49ers in 2011, McCown spent the next two years as an assistant coach at Marvin Ridge HS in Warsaw, NC. Each of those two seasons, McCown was signed by the Chicago Bears on a one-year contract, in response to injuries to Bears starting quarterback Jay Cutler. Well, in 2013, the third time was the charm, as Cutler was injured yet again, Giving McCown the chance to lead the Bears offense. He finished the 2013 NFL season completing 66.5%of his passes for 1829 yards, 14 touchdowns, and just one interception. His breakout game came in week 14 against the Dallas Cowboys, where he threw four touchdowns and ran in another on the way to a 45-28 Victory, eventually being named the NFC Player of the Week.

McCown is an unrestricted free agent, but is believed to be re-signing with Chicago to retain his role as Cutler's backup. He has proven to be a quarterback who can not only step in, but keep up the same pace, when the started goes down. And if history is any indicator, McCown will get the chance to lead the team once again in 2014.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Two Retail Tins of 2013-14 Panini Titanium Hockey

Truth be told, I wasn't aware that Panini had released 2013-14 Titanium Hockey yesterday until I found some tins at Wal-Mart, and in my excitement, I just had to pick up a couple. Each of these tins contains 30 Titanium base cards and one jumbo-sized 5x7 rookie card. Essentially, it's a twist on the blaster. They also have jersey cards and autographs randomly inserted, but I didn't get so lucky on these.


Anyway, here's a quick look at what my two tins gave me:

Tin 1:
Jumbo Rookie: Nail Yakupov
His production may be slipping, but being 2012's number one draft pick, it's still a good pull.


Base Cards: Marc-Andre Fleury, Alex Ovechkin, Ryan Miller, Jarome Iginla, Vincent Lecavalier, Jakob Silfverberg, + Others


Serial-Numbered: Zdeno Chara Ruby Parallel 111/199, Chris Terry Rookie 267/299


Tin 2:
Jumbo Rookie: Nathan MacKinnon
After pulling 2012's first overall pick in tin #1, I pull 2013's first overall pick in tin #2. Not only that, but this card has already sold on Ebay for 75% of what I paid for both of these tins.


Base Cards: Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Henrik Lundqvist, Daniel Alfredsson, Jonathan Bernier, Bobby Ryan, + Others


Serial-Numbered: Henrik Zetterberg Ruby Parallel 49/199, Scott Laughton Rookie 120/299


That's about it. The tins are cool, but apart from that jumbo rookies, there wasn't a whole lot to be had. I suppose it depends on what you're looking for. $20 will either get you 30 base cards and a jumbo rookie from retail, or 3 base cards and one hit from a pack at your local hobby shop.

They were interesting breaks for me, but I think I'll just pick up a hobby box the next time I go after Titanium.