Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Dinged Corners Questionaire

In following the questions asked by our friends over at DINGED CORNERS, I would like to dedicate thoughts to the coming year to ROBERTO CLEMENTE. His untimely death in 1973 came on New Year's eve while he was coming to the aid of his fellow man.
1-If I didn't collect baseball cards, I'd collect ANCIENT ARTIFACTS - I always loved history. (You want to talk about your 1 /1 collectables.) They tell us so much about ourselves - by what we collect. 2-My baseball heroes include one you probably wouldn't know from my blog or comments, and that person is THURMAN MUNSON. He was the first players of whom I collected all his cards.
3-Every New Years I resolve to SHARE my collection. If you cannot share your collection, having one is pretty useless. 4-If I could spend a day with one person from baseball history, it would be ROBERTO CLEMENTE. I think he was a universal man - one ahead of his time.

Lucy's questions:

1-What is your favorite kind of dog? LABRADORS. I've had three in my life so far. They are strong and faithful companions. Plus they are great swimmers - they have webbed feet !
2-Who is your favorite baseball player? PETE ROSE / TY COBB - not neccessarily as a persons, but as a pure baseball players. All effort - all the time. 3-What is your favorite team? NEW YORK YANKEES / BOSTON RED SOX - its a long story. But, yeah, both.
4-What is your favorite baseball movie? THE NATURAL - based on the life of real Major Leaguer Eddie Waitkus.5-What is your favorite baseball book? THE CARD - a real eye opener for card collectors. It is about more than the T206 Honus Wagner. It's about us as collectors.

6-What is your favorite card? 1971-72 O-Pee-Chee JACQUES PLANTE - I know that's not a baseball cards, but these blogs are about sharing and learning. I got this card on my first trip to Toronto, Canada. It brings back good memories - which is what cards should do. It led to collecting other cards and traveling.

NOT the Year of the Big Cat

Some people look forward to New Years as a chance to begin again - to improve and to obtain goals however meger or lofty. I have a feeling 2009 is going to be a better year for the 0-16 DETROIT LIONS.
This was not a good year for the BIG CATS of the National Football League. The Detroit club last won the NFL title in 1957. The disappointments were also with the other big cats - the JAGUARS and BENGALS. The PANTHERS, who previously lost 15 games in row in 2001, made the play-offs.
The last team to lose all of their regular season games was the 1976 Tampa Bay BUCCANEERS -
when they wore jail house orange and had a fancy feathered dude on their helmet. Unfortunately, the LIONS should have been like this ...
but were more like this ...
Here's hoping that the teams have a better year - but at least it's a memorable one for the record. Congratulations to the LIONS !

World Junior Tournament - Ottawa

As I am anticipating the WINTER CLASSIC coming New Year's Day, I have been watching the high-lights of the World Junior Tournament happening now in Ottawa, Canada. This is probably great relief for Senators fans who are suffering with their NHL franchise.
For several years Upper Deck has graced their sets with players in their international jerseys. It is a refreshing turn to see some of these players BEFORE their NHL career. For others it is their shining moment.

While this tournaments crop may not yield any outstanding goalies - as the favorites are stomping the minnows - there will probably be a few top scorers that will emerge. CANADA, USA, SWEDEN and RUSSIA all won games with 10 or more goals. Canada winning with a record 15:0 victory in the first round !

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Back in Black Hawks

For about the last 10 years of opening hockey packs, there was little to look forward to when finding a Chicago Blackhawks card. But this season's explosion of old time hockey success has ice heads scrambling for the young guns of the windy city.

As anyone who trades with me knows, I am a collector of the original six franchises and it is refreshing to finally get some interesting players from Chicago.

While I am desperately trying to finish off my 1971-72 topps hockey set, I noticed that I was in great shortage of Black Hawks. Seven of the 25 cards I needed were Hawks. As I found out from Sal at PUCK JUNK, the team has refered to as one name Blackhawks since 1986.

I've recently cut that number by acquiring the big two from Chicago's heyday of the 1970's - Stan Mikita and Bobby Hull. I was happily able to get the pair of Hall of Famers for less than $6 bucks.

I will soon be moving on and opening new material to chase the next wave of Blackhawks stars. As a further reminder, the Hawks will be playing old rivals Detroit Red Wings on New Year's Day - OUTSIDE at Wrigley Field in the WINTER CLASSIC. You can catch a time lapse video of them setting it up at NHL.com.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Fantasy

Before all the relatives arrive - before we dip too deep into the special eggnog - before we open all the things that are going to be returned to the long lines at the store ... let us wish - neigh, let us dream.

For everyone should have one fantasy card for Christmas. As I have given away my e-cards for Christmas, I saved one in the bag for me. Since the Allen & Ginter mini cards are one of my modern favorites, I've conjured up a fantasy card of sexy icon - MARILYN MONROE.

This will be added to my "inserts we like to see" list.
Off to the eggnog !

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Sports Specs

Do you see what I see ? Athletes with glasses. You don't see that anymore.

The perfection of affordable quality contact lenses has made the bespectacled sports stars a thing of the past - except on sports cards. I have pulled a few notable persons who wore wire rims, coke bottles and goggles.

The most famous name - last name that is - belongs to Joe Di Maggio's brother Dom. Dom can be see on several cards including his 1952 and 1953 topps cards.

One of my favorite personalities is Tiger great - Denny McLain. For all his legal troubles Denny is still the last pitcher to win over 30 games in a season. (31 victories in 1968) Although McLain is seen wearing glasses on the first few years of his topps cards (including this 1968 All-Star) he no longer has them after 1971.

While baseball cards feature the most players wearing glasses it is not limited to that sport. The NBA superstar that made it fashionable was L.A. Laker - Karrem Abdul-Jabbar. Another well know lens wearing Laker was basketball pioneer George Mikan.

Hockey cards, for obvious reasons, seldom saw players featured with glasses. With today's technology it would be easier for goalies and even skaters with visors to play the game with visual assistance. One of the rare instances where an NHL er wore the specs was Al Arbour. During his career, Al was seen on most of his cards donning the horn rims. He went on to coach the New York Islanders to four Stanley Cups (1979 -1982).

The most prolific of our "four-eyed" favorites has to by NFL running back - Chuck Muncie. He has the honor of being bespectacled on every single card from his rookie year (1977) to his last card (1984). Like no one would notice that Topps did a fancy air-brush between years. After seeing his cards in perspective, you wonder if Topps thought Chuck was a running back or a sideline poser ?

If anyone knows of a player who appeaed more times than Muncie with his glasses, I would be interested to know.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Wishing a Merry E-Christmas

I am late as usual in getting the obligatory gifts to everyone on my list. The great thing about life in cyberspace, things can be done much faster and in less reality. In that vain, and in the spirit of giving - I am sending these e-gifts to my fellow bloggers. As they say "it's the thought that counts". These are not so much a gift as an homage to the various bloggers and their collections:

TO: David @ Cardboard Junkie - for the love of all things ATLANTA. I send you a 1973-74 team card one with my favorite hockey jerseys - no longer in use. The Atlanta Flames "burning A" was a grand design. You got me reading your blog and now all this is your fault. Start signing "We Didn't Start the Fire ..."

TO: Steve @ White Sox Cards - there is something pure about liking the sox. A team that went through scandal and hardship. Glad they could win one in your life-time.
TO: Adam @ Thought and Sox - I know every kid has a Christmas wish. If yours is to see Jim Rice inducted into the Hall of Fame - I am sending you this All-Star card to power the MoJo.

TO: Ryan @ Trader Crack's Cards - I know you collect Canadian born players; or should I say Canadien ? Although old Nap Lajoie was born in America, he had deep, very deep French-Canadien roots. He often went to Canada and organized exhibition games. Thousands would come on just the rumor of him playing. What's not to like, eh ?

TO: Brian @ 30 Year old Cardboard - of the many joys I had collecting in the 1980's most had to do with eating. I purchased 7/11 slurpees for the baseball discs. I ate Drake's cakes for the cards and I even had Macaroni & Cheese to get the complete set of Home Plate Heroes.
TO: Matt @ Heartbreaking Cards of Staggering Genius - I know you will ask what is the spitballing Gaylord Perry is doing in your e-gift box. Well my Stagbreaking Heartgenius friend I'm not drunk -yet. Look closely at the background and you will see the mecca to all your ROYAL dreams. I am only sad that I could not get the cascading waterfalls to drop behind the louggie tossing pitcher.
TO: Paul @ Paul's Random Stuff -with all the promise the METS have had so close to the end of the last two seasons, it is truely disappointing I'm sure. It is probably the same way we all felt after collecting Darryl Strawberry and Dwight Gooden only to be smashed into the gutter of the common bin. Take heed that there will be some reedemig value to all your new collective Mets of the 2000 era. It just may not happen until the year 2055.
Lastly, what do you give to a blogger who has everything including some issue with a major conglomerate ? Well ...
TO: Gellman @ Sports Cards Uncensored - this lovely re-issued Beckett Price Guide which he re-edited for all those with learning disabilities. Read the fine print carefully. Merry Christmas to all - from Chuck who cannot afford to send you all ACTUAL gifts.
I hope everyone enjoys their e-gifts.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Mrs. STAR TREK has left our Universe

Mrs. STAR TREK has passed away. Majel Barratt-Roddenberry, the wife of the late Creator Gene Roddenberry died yesterday. Gene Roddenberry's futuristic world outlook inspired many people including our own space program. Gene cast Majel in the pilot episode and later as Nurse Chapel in the original series. She went on to become the voice of the computer and several other characters in the various spin-offs that followed. From the sexy mini-skirted 1960's to the 1990's over the top Mother-in-law in NEXT GENERATION, Majel kept the interest of the male species tuned to the shows.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Tony Gwynn Fake Card Contest

Our man David over at Cardboard Junkie (the guy that got me reading blogs) has started a contest. I'm throwing my card into the ring with this simple (minded) redition of Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn.

I feel I have not had time to concentrate on details ... its the holidays and we are going at the speed of the autobahn - fast, faster and Mercedes Benz. I wish I had more time to showcase my favorites in the 2nd Blog Bat Around - but all I came up with was a pinch-hit bunt. Never-the-less, this blogging is a learning curve.

So here is my lame Gwynn card.

I would really like to see more quality inserts or short print cards. I know there are some cool emperors and sharks but lets face it, the majority of collectors are men (sorry ladies - its true).

I am bewildered by the chase for some of these mini cards in the Allen & Ginter sets. For half the price, you could purchase a nice card that is 5 times as old - and a real robacco card - on the internet.

I would like to start a series called - "this should be an insert". You would have to imagine you are thumbing through the most recent opened pack of cards ... and lo and behold you find this:

Would THIS be better than a shark ? Better than an Orthocopter ? Better than Honus Wagner ? Careful how you answer that. Stay tune ...

Up for Trade

I was gifted 3 packs of Football cards - from someone who does not know I follow the other football. While I still have a massive NFL collection (which will be up for auction soon), I do not actively collect NFL cards.

So here's to those people that do ... and here up on the trading block are 7 cards (6 shown) and two unopened packs - one 2006, one 2007 - and this open pack with a bunch of rookies. I don't even want to know who they are - if I get interested I am liable to keep them.

Eric Weddle - Chargers, Mercedes Lewis - Jaguars, Rod Smith - Broncos, Brodie Croyle - Chiefs, Dwayne Bowe - Chiefs, Reggie Ball - Lions, Randy McMichael - Rams.

I am interested in stuff from my want list or if you want to send one or two unopened packs of baseball, hockey, soccer or non-sport. Or just make me an offer - who knows ?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Fear of Flying ...

I love to fly. I like airports. In all my years of covering sports I enjoyed the pampering we got on airlines. But I only flew in a commercial propeller airline once - and it was a roller coaster ride.

I cannot even imagine what it must have been like for the pro athletes before the advent of luxury jet liners. Maybe they were like these aircrafts from the Godfrey Phillips Cigarette series.
I remember the incident from the 1994 World Cup - the Dutch National Team had advanced to the next round and were leaving Orlando, Florida to fly to Dallas. Before Holland's best were to face Brazil, they had a bigger scare. A reporter following the team had made a joke about a bomb - which resulted in the plane being emptied on to the tarmac and delayed indefinately.

One player that was effected for life was AJAX star forward - Dennis Bergkamp. Bergkamp, who would go on to play for ARSENAL . F.C., would make one more flight back to Holland and never fly again. This player who keep his cool in the box would never return to the USA. I now cherish the photos and conversations I had with this much admired superstar.
Bergkamp's story is not news as anyone who knows the tale behind Hockey Hall of Famer - Lorne "Gump" Worsley. Gump was a legend for losing as many games with the hapless N.Y. Rangers as he was for his great play with the Montreal Canadiens dynasty of the 1960's.
But playing hockey in the Kingdom of Canada - especially Montreal - was more pressure than Worsley could handle. In a flight between Montreal and Chicago, Gump had a nervous breakdown and had to be hospitalized.
He retired shortly afterwards only to be lured back when the league expanded. He was called to mind the nets for the Minnesota North Stars (he was told that it was centrally located and required little travel). In doing so he became the second to last goalie NOT to wear a mask. He is seen here on his 1965-66 Topps card with the Habs (left). One of my favorite cards is this 1973-74 topps card depicting Gump without his mask in a play-off game.
There are several rock bands that have paid tribute to "Gump" Worsley. I tip my mask to you too Gump !

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Exchanging Laundry with White Sox Cards

One of the catalysts that launched me into writing a blog was the opportunity to trade cards again. Some of my fondest memories are from grade school when we snuck every chance to open our desk and slide that card over to your buddy for the one you've been drooling for since lunch.

I sent my want list over to Steve at White Sox Cards. I guess this blog and all its trimmings has a learning curve. It's my fault, not Steve's, for not being more specific when I sent the list. When I said old stuff, I should really know that to guys in their twenties or thirties, old is still Topps cards from the 80's.

I should have also added that I have everything from 1978 to 1988. Well, everything I want. He sent me lots of Sox - red ones - all which I had. I got a kick out of this 1990 Score card that features Boston's winning streak. The front shows a fat-bellied Manager John MacNamera -who's firing led to the beginning of the winning. The back is better with Boggs and Co. high-fiving. A sign of the times.
Next were some old Sox - White ones - one from '61, one from '71 and one from '75. Had them all. But I love the 75's so its ok. Its a classic batting pose on a training field, not at a stadium.
What Steve could not have know is my fascination with the Dark Knight - BATMAN. I like it when traders add a twist. BATMAN is twisted.

Lastly, Steve included a bit of his own interests ... and mine. Presidential cards. Ah, history.
Although I'm not over the moon about the design or the fact that their old .. er, first Lady is on the card, they are albiet informative. I prefer the Goudey Presidents.

Thanks Steve. The next batch will have starch !