Sunday, February 7, 2016

Super Bowlin'

In case anyone cares, my rooting interest for tonight is Colby's Carolina Panthers.  Cam Newton and Luke Kuechly have made them a fun team to watch, plus I just don't care for Peyton Manning.
(Not that I think he actually juiced, but that forehead, tho!)

And then main reason I'm pulling for Carolina is a certain rookie WR straight out of Michigan, Devin Funchess
In the end I can't really complain though, since thanks to the presence of Broncos starter Michael Schofield, a Wolverine will win the big game either way.

So here's rooting for a classic game, ignoring another stupid halftime show, and maybe chuckling at a few commercials.  Go Panthers!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

2016 trade package #2: Fuji sends me some paper Tigers

One of my favorite all-time west-coast traders, Mark of the Chronicles of Fuji, recently sent me my second trade package of the year, and just like my first it's another two-parter!  Please make sure to head over to TMM for more nice stuff, including what I consider the highlight of the package.

The last time he sent me cards (in November) he acted like it might be a while before he did so again because he was low on trade bait, but I've known Fuji long enough to realize he doesn't roll that like--he's too generous to go that long without sending you stuff!

Here's some Tigers from the flea market fanatic:
We start off with some great inserts.  Remember, there's no such thing as a bad Refractor, especially when it's blue!  All-Star SS Carlos Guillen arrives in the form of this 2008 Topps Chrome done up in the best color possible.  Following him is reliever Luke Putkonen on a 2013 Emerald parallel.  I hope he regains his health and can get his career back on track.  Finally, we go back to blue with a 2014 parallel of 2B Devon Travis, whom the Tigers unfortunately (for Detroit fans, not Toronto-ans!) flipped to the Jays for Anthony Gose.  Enjoy your outstanding second baseman, Jays fans!  Travis' card is numbered 044/500, by the way.
This next pair turned into nice additions for my vintage baseball collection; chances are if it's from the 70s and back I probably don't have it, so I really appreciate those of you that treat me to older cards like this, especially of Tigers.  The '67 card actually includes a pair of Tigers in Denny McLain and Earl Wilson, and here "Pitching Leaders" signifies wins;  Kaat led the league with 25 of those in '66, McLain took the silver with 20, and Wilson tallied 18 (including 13 with Detroit) after heading to Detroit that June.

Meanwhile the '69 version focuses on strikeouts, with McDowell's 283 edging out McLain's 280; Tiant trailed with 264.  I'm of course amused that Topps used the same image for McLain two years apart, but it's not a huge deal since they're well-known for having done that.

There was one more card in the package that took me a bit by surprise:
From the 2004 USA Baseball 25th Anniversary set comes an autograph of former Team USA member and Reds 2000 second-round catcher Dane Sardinha.  This threw me for a loop until I vaguely remembered him signing with the Tigers years ago.  BBR confirmed that the Hawaiian was a backup in Motown from 2008-2009 after seeing action with the Reds in one game each in '03 and '05.  He finished up his career in Philly in 2010-11.

I'll be happy to make this available to fans of the Reds, Phillies, or Team USA.

Thanks again for surprising me with some great stuff, Mark, and hopefully I'll have a few things headed back your way before long!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

2016 trade package #1: New Year's Cards From the Dollar Store

It's fitting that my very first trade package of the year (which arrived last Saturday) comes from Doug of Sports Cards From the Dollar Store since he remains my most prolific trade partner--this is my 18th trade post from him on this blog alone in the three-plus years we've been swapping cards.

Everyone's favorite Canadian always finds great stuff to send me, and here's what made it across the border in a bubble envelope this time:
Anibal is back for his fifth season in Motown as a stalwart of a rotation that's seen a pretty good amount of turnover the last few seasons.  I hadn't realized until I looked over on B-R that he's only 36-29 in 87 starts over those four seasons, but his ERA has been solid and he's been let down by the bullpen at times, so maybe we'll see some improvement in his numbers (and health!) this season.

He comes to us today in the form of this Purple Refractor from 2015 Bowman Chrome (#d 165/250).  Purple is just about the worst color Topps has used, but there's still no such thing as a bad Refractor in my opinion!

That's it for the baseball content, but here's some obligatory hockey cards:
As I'm writing this post Detroit has completed its pre-All-Star break schedule and sits in second place of the Atlantic Division in the East, which makes me feel pretty good about keeping the postseason streak alive.  Of the guys represented above, Datsyuk, Kronwall, and Zetterberg are currently with the team and are among the Wings' leaders in points (with Hank at the top of the heap).  Interestingly enough, Detroit enjoys the talents of a pair of Wolverines in Luke Glendening and star rookie (and team goal-scoring leader) Dylan Larkin.  Datsyuk and Zetterberg continue to hum along reliably, though, so this is a nice bunch of Red Wings cardboard!

Please make sure to head over to TMM this evening for the rest of this two-part trade package as that post includes football and--surprise!--more hockey!

Thanks for a fun first trade package of the year, Doug, and hopefully I'll have some stuff heading your way within a few weeks!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Player collections: Alan Trammell

Last year I embarked on a project to get a number of my player collection guys scanned, and that remains a big-time work-in-progress.  However, this afternoon I finally finished labeling and uploading cards for one of those players;  Alan Trammell.  Compared to some of the other guys getting him scanned wasn't as bad--with today's uploads he sits at a decent 107 cards, a number I hope to grow quite a bit this year.

As I like to do when I put up these posts, I'm grabbing some favorites to show off in a few fun categories that randomly came to me as I was sorting through stuff.  I hope my fellow members of Team Tram enjoy this look at cardboard of one of the Tigers' all-time greats!

Portrait of the artist as a young(ish) man:

Faces of fielding:

(L):  "Oooooooooh..."     (R):  "Gotta stay awake, gotta stay awake..."

(L):  "There's no 'I' in 'fielding'...wait..."     (R):  "HAHA, caught your line drive!  Pbbbbbt!"

"Yum, gum!"

Turnin' two and flyin' high!:

Having fun:

Tribute to Tram:

The Finest Fan Favorite Great of the Game:

Chillin' at home:

Sunday, January 10, 2016

1-2-16 card show report: home of HOFers

It's a new year and a new month which means I made another trip to the monthly card show in Taylor.  The show went for only two days last week due to the holiday, so I headed over on Saturday.  There was a surprising dearth of cards that interested me this time so I only spent about $25, but I eventually came away mostly with some nice dime, quarter, and up box content, both in terms of trade bait and PC stuff.
First up is a '93 UD insert of MLB's newest HOFer, Ken Griffey Jr.  Better yet, in a somewhat higher-end box I found this:
You'd better believe the "90s inserts rule" tag is in play, guys.  '96 Bowman's Best was the first year that the Mirror Image idea became its own insert, and it improved on the previous two subsets by going double-sized with twice as many players.  In terms of sheer talent this is probably one of the three best groups of players in the set, with Frank Thomas/Richie Sexson/Jeff Bagwell/Todd Helton and Tom Glavine/Billy Wagner/Randy Johnson/Jarrod Washburn also rating highly.  Man, now I really want to put this set together!  Maybe I'll just see about doing that, along with the equally superb '97 version...

That card gives me a nice segue into our next player, Tony Gwynn:
This is a fun little trio that's another good cross-section of 90s inserts.  The '99 Topps Lords of the Diamond set has always kind of appealed to me, but I think the '96 Summit insert is even more interesting, not only because of its cool design, but because it's one of the earlier cards I own that features the foil-stamped serial-numbering that became so common in the 2000s.

I had even a bit more luck with one other PC player that day--Greg Maddux:
Everything here is from the mid-to-late 90s except for the last one, which hails from 2005 Leaf.  First up is a '94 Pinnacle insert which means the much-loved Dufex!  The Masters insert comes from Fleer's short-lived Emotion product.  The '96 Fleer insert credits Maddux with a crazy excellent 18-0 road record since mid 1994, proving just how dominant he could be.  I also scored Maddux's version of the '99 Topps Lords of the Diamonds insert.  Finally, another short-lived product makes an appearance with the awesomely-named Nitro insert from '99 UD Ionix.

I guess when in doubt, just scour the cheap boxes for fun 90s inserts!  That's all for this time but please head over to TMM this evening to see the rest of my pickups.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The Kid's in the Hall

Congratulations to Ken Griffey Jr. on his near-unanimous election to the Hall of Fame.  (Kudos to Mike Piazza, as well, for his well-deserved enshrinement)  To the three voters who left the Kid off their ballots for any reason, may your fates be to live in Gary, Indiana where your lives will consist of cleaning John Kruk's underwear, watching nothing on TV but Larry Cullpepper Dr. Pepper commercials, and listening to Black Eyed Peas songs on repeat.  May you dine on nothing but bags of digs and may you live in a neighborhood where Donald Trump is the president of your homeowners association.
Ok, enough ranting.  The voters this year had the enviable task of making history by checking the box next to Junior's name after an amazing career that saw him become the face of MLB to many and inspire many a youngster (like myself) to consider baseball as my favorite sport.  Griffey played the game with passion, joy, all-out effort, and nearly unmatched talent, all of which encompass what I think many of us mean when we refer to someone playing "the right way."  Though he was a superstar, Ken wasn't selfish, or a prima donna--hell, he didn't even become one of those sluggers that sold out to hit a homer or strike out every at-bat.
It's fitting that his record-setting career was capped off with a record-setting voting percentage of 99.3.  Here's to Ken Griffey Jr., the defining player of my generation!  I can't wait to see his plaque in person, and who knows, maybe I'll make another trek eastward to Cooperstown this summer.
In honor of #24, here's 10 of the best Griffey cards I have in my PC:

The rookies:

The Refractors:

The relics:

The autograph:

The insert that got it right a couple decades ago: