Wednesday, 18 January 2017

COMC Black Friday: Part Seven - Running Backs

My Black Friday shipment contained quite a few running backs since 1999. Most of them are well represented already in my collection, but I've noticed that there are always cards that I need for everyone.

L-R: 2000 Collector's Edge EG #99; 2000 Ultra - Head of the Class #9 HC

Travis Prentice was a third-round pick of the Browns in the 2000 NFL Draft out of Miami (Ohio). He played one year for the Browns, rushing for over 500 yards before being traded to the Minnesota Vikings after the season.

L-R: 2000 Topps Chrome #58; 2001 SAGE - Autographs Silver #A26 (#/400)

As you can see on his card, Errict Rhett came to the Browns as a free agent from the Ravens for the 2000 season. His season ended in the fifth game of the season due to a torn ligament in the foot, having rushed for just over 250 yards. He was released by the Browns in the 2001 training camp and retired.

James Jackson was a third-round pick in the 2001 NFL Draft for the Browns from the Miami Hurricanes. After rushing for 554 yards in 11 games of his rookie season, he rushed for 517 yards in 32 games over the next three years.

Top: 2002 Fleer Authentix - Hometown Heroes #2 HH
Bottom (l-r): 2002 Finest #120 (#/1200); 2002 Pacific Crown Royale #160

William Green was a first-round pick of the Browns out of Boston College during the 2002 NFL Draft. He a strong rookie season, gaining 887 yards and 6 touchdowns, before personal problems hurt his career. He ended up rushing for 2109 yards in four seasons with the Browns.

L-R: 2004 Donruss Classics #155 (#/1850); 2004 Playoff Absolute Memorabilia #167 (#/750)

A seventh-round pick out of California, the Nigerian-born Echemandu was drafted in the seventh round of the 2004 NFL Draft. He played in four games in 2004, his only season with the Browns.

Top (l-r): 2005 Donruss Zenith #25; 2006 Bowman Chrome - Refractors #159
Bottom (l-r): 2007 Ultra #128; 2007 Playoff Prestige #38

The Browns traded for Reuben Droughns after he rushed for 1240 yards with the Broncos in 2004. He came close to matching that total with 1232 rushing yards in his first season with the Browns in 2005, and followed it up with 758 yards in 2006 before being traded to the Giants before the 2007 season. The bottom two cards list him as being with the Giants.

L-R: 2006 Bowman Chrome - Refractors #57; 2006 Bowman Chrome - Uncirculated Rookies #57 (#/519)

Left: 2006 Topps Turkey Red - Red #206
Middle: 2010 Panini Certified - Platinum Red #35 (#/999)
Right: 2010 Topps - Gold #224 (#/2010)

I've commented about Harrison in other posts. He finished the 2009 season on a roll, rushing for 561 yards over the final three games of the season. A fifth-round pick out of Washington State in 2006, he played with the Browns until a trade to the Eagles during the 2010 season.

Left: 2006 Topps Chrome - Refractors #211
Middle: 2006 Topps Total - Blue #429
Right: 2007 Upper Deck Ultimate Collection - Ultimate Signatures #US-TM

Lawrence Vickers had a good run as a fullback for the Browns from 2006-2010. He was a sixth-round pick out of Colorado in the 2006 NFL Draft.

When healthy, Lee Suggs did a good job running the ball for the Browns. However he had difficulties staying healthy in his three years with the team. He was a fourth-round pick out of Virginia Tech in the 2003 NFL Draft.

Former Miami Hurricane Tyrone Moss was an undrafted free agent signed by the Browns in 2007. He lasted about a week with the team. However, according to The Trading Card Database he has 62 football cards. I have 10 of them, with half showing him in a Browns uniform, but all listing him with the Browns. Seven of the ten cards are autographed.

Top (l-r): 2008 Playoff Absolute Memorabilia - Retail #35; 2008 Score Select #69
Bottom: 2008 Stadium Club - First Day Issue #42 (#/1499); 2009 Topps Triple Threads - Sepia #44 (#/249)

After signing with the Browns as a free agent for the 2007 season, Jamal Lewis was a good running back for the Browns. He rushed for over 1000 yards in each of his two full seasons with the team, and had 500 yards when his season ended due to an injury in the ninth game of the season.

Top (l-r): 2009 Donruss Certified - Mirror Red #163 (#/250); 2009 Finest #88
Bottom: 2011 Topps Magic Rookies #34

A sixth-round pick out of Clemson in the 2009 NFL Draft, James Davis appeared in six games with the Browns in the 2009 and 2010 seasons.

Owen Marecic was drafted by the Browns in the fourth-round of the 2011 NFL Draft out of Stanford. At Stanford he started on both offense and defense, as a fullback and as a linebacker. The Browns played him as a fullback, and he played 24 games over two seasons with the team.

Top (l-r): 2012 Topps Chrome #23 ; 2012 Topps Chrome - Refractors #23
Bottom: 2012 Topps Kickoff #8

There are a lot of Trent Richardson cards that I still need as his cards were expensive since he was the third overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. I'll pick up cards like these as I find them at good prices.

L-R: 2014 Panini Absolute - Hogg Heaven Anniversary Purple #2 (#/20); 2014 Topps Supreme #26 (#/162)

The Browns selected Terrance West in the third-round of the 2014 NFL Draft out of Towson where he had just finished a season where he had rushed for 41 touchdowns. Splitting time with fellow rookie Isaiah Crowell, West led the team in rushing in 2014 with 673 yards. During training camp in 2015, West was traded to the Tennessee Titans with whom he played two games before being released. He was then signed by the Baltimore Ravens where he finished the 2015 season and played all of this year.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Looking Back: Zellers Expos Baseball Pro Tips - Tim Raines

I'm posting this in advance of tomorrow's announcement where I hope to hear that Tim Raines has been elected to the Hall of Fame.

Having grown up in Ottawa, just two hours away from Montreal, the Expos were the closest team for me to follow in the newspapers, on radio and on television. My father also took me to Montreal for games a few times a year.

Tim Raines was a disruptive force on the basepaths. The scoreboard at Olympic Stadium in Montreal used to have a cartoon chicken show up on the screen, accompanied by the sound of a clucking chicken anytime a pitcher threw over to a base to try and pick off a runner, or just to keep them close. Every time the pitcher threw over, another chicken appeared on the scoreboard. It was a sound you would often hear when Tim Raines was on base.

He was a great base-stealer and lead-off man, overshadowed by playing at the same time as Rickey Henderson, the best ever in those roles.

With Raines having led the National League in stolen bases in 1981, it was only natural that he would be featured with sliding tips in the 1982 Zellers set.

The card backs should be read from right to left to match the card photos above

An unfortunate side-note to go with these cards is that Tim Raines had a cocaine problem in 1982. He entered into a substance abuse facility at the end of the season. Raines testified at the 1985 Pittsburgh drug trials that he used to keep his vial of cocaine in his hip pocket so as to not leave it in his locker, and would use a headfirst slide to not break the vial.

Having re-signed with the Expos for the 2001 season, Raines was traded near the end of the season to the Baltimore Orioles where he was able to play a game with his son, Tim Raines, Jr. They became the second father-son duo to play together in the same lineup on the same team, after the Griffeys.

Best wishes to Tim Raines for tomorrow's announcement!

Monday, 16 January 2017

Rant on article on Martin Luther King Day

Okay, this is a bit of a rant.

In a recent post, I commented on Marion Motley and Bill Willis being two of the football players that helped break the color barrier of professional football.

Of course, the NFL does not recognize stats or achievements of the AAFC like they did with the AFL, so an article today on does not recognize Motley and Willis as having helped break the color barrier in 1946.

What I want to know is why they aren't listed for the Browns as a 1950 entry in this article when the Browns entered the NFL that year?

Entering the 1950 season, the Browns also had Horace Gillom and Len Ford. And the Browns are not even mentioned in the article. Way to go, NFL!

Here is a nice article written by Steve King in 2013 on the Browns website celebrating Black History Month that year. An interesting quote is:

But the importance of what Willis and Motley did comes with the realization that when Robinson got called up from the Dodgers’ Class AAA team in Montreal, he called Willis and Motley for any pointers they could give him since they had already been through the challenging experience he was about to undertake. That is, Willis and Motley were the real pioneers.

And just to include some cards that I own in this post, here are some scans borrowed from The Trading Card Database:

1951 Bowman #109

I also own a 1948-52 Exhibit card of Motley, but do not yet own his 1950 Bowman rookie card. He played with the Browns from 1946-53. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1968.

1951 Bowman #37

This is Gillom's rookie card. He was signed by the browns in early 1947. He played with the Browns from 1947-56.

1955 Bowman #14

Len Ford played for the Los Angeles Dons of the AAFC for the 1948-49 seasons before being signed by the Browns as they entered the NFL. He played for the Browns from 1950-57 before finishing his career with one year of playing for the Packers. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1976.

1992 Sunoco Browns Hall of Fame #8

Bill Willis played for the Browns from 1946-53. He did not have a trading card issued of him during his playing career. As you can see on the back of this card, he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

COMC Black Friday: Part Six - Defense

I knew there wouldn't be too many cards of the defense in my shipment but I was surprised at how few there were to show. I wonder if that is a bias in how I was looking for cards to buy, or if it is just still so much that the card companies are putting out so many more cards of players at the skilled positions on offense.

2000 Topps Gallery #157

The former number 1 pick of the 2000 NFL Draft, after his rookie season he had trouble staying healthy. He showed flashes when healthy, but was a disappointment for a first overall pick. I hope we do better with this year.

Left: 2006 Bowman Chrome - Uncirculated Rookies #71 (#/519)
Middle: 2006 Playoff Absolute Memorabilia #176 (#/999)
Right: 2006 Topps Chrome #166

Kamerion Wimbley was the Browns first round draft pick in 2006, number 13 overall.

He had 11 sacks in his rookie season, and then 15.5 in the next three seasons. Following his four seasons with the Browns, he played two with the Raiders and then three with the Titans.

L-R: 2007 Donruss Classics #214 (#/1499); 2007 Topps Chrome - Refractors #TC257

Eric Wright was a second round pick for the Browns in 2007. He ended up starting 13 games at the left cornerback position during his rookie season. After playing with the Browns through the 2010 season, he moved on to play with the Lions, Buccaneers and 49ers over the next three seasons.

Top (l-r): 2008 Score - Red Zone #76 (#/100); 2008 Score Select #76
Bottom: 2008 Score Select #75

Three more parallels of the base 2008 Score set. The Bodden card is in the base set, as well as the regular parallels of the base set (Glossy, Gold Zone, Red Zone, Scorecard), but is not in a Browns uniform in any of the Super Bowl variants so I don't need to chase those.

I liked Sean Jones while he played safety for the Browns after being a second round pick in 2004. From the 2005-08 seasons he had 5, 5 and 4 interceptions for the team. After four years with the Browns he finished his career with one season with the Eagles, and two with the Buccaneers.

An undrafted free agent, Leigh Bodden worked his way up the depth chart to become a starting cornerback with the Browns from 2005-07. He had six interceptions in his 2007 season, and after the season was traded to the Lions with a draft pick for defensive lineman Shaun Rogers. He played on the 0-16 Lions for that one year before being released and signing a one-year contract with the Patriots. After intercepting 5 passes with the Patriots in 2009, he signed a new four-year contract. He then suffered a shoulder injury, was placed on injured reserve for the 2010 season. He retired after he was released after playing one game for the Patriots in 2011.

L-R: 2009 Topps National Chicle - Mini #C189; 2011 Topps Magic Rookies #65

Both of these players are still playing in the NFL, just not with the Browns.

Jackson was a second round pick in 2006, and after seven seasons with the Browns, has played the last three seasons for the Colts.

Also a second round pick (in 2011), after four seasons with the Browns, Sheard has played the last two seasons with the Patriots.

L-R: 2011 Topps Chrome - Orange Refractors #126; 2011 Topps Magic Rookies #92

Taylor was the Browns first round pick in 2011. Another player that had a good rookie season, but then had injuries strike. He played four seasons with the Browns.

Top: 2013 Topps Mini - Black #282 (#/5)
Bottom: 2013 Topps Mini - Black #417 (#/5)

I felt pretty lucky to get these two cards combined for $6.50 during the Black Friday sale. I really don't count on getting many cards numbered out of five or less.

The Browns first round pick in 2013, number 6 overall, Barkevious Mingo, after playing three seasons with the Browns, he was traded to the Patriots last August for a fifth round pick in this year's draft. He played in all 16 games for the Patriots this year, starting one of them.

L-R: 2014 Panini Crown Royale - Green #189 (#/5); 2015 Topps Valor - Speed #27

And finally, a couple of parallels of Browns first round picks from 2014 and 2015. The Gilbert card, numbered out of five, set me back $3.85.

Justin Gilbert was drafted 8th overall in 2014, ahead of the Browns other first round pick that year, Johnny Manziel. Sadly, playing wise, he probably brought less to the team in his two years. The Browns thought so highly of him that they traded him to the division rival Steelers for a 2018 sixth round pick before this season started. He really hasn't made an impact with the Steelers this year.

Danny Shelton had a very good second year with the Browns this year after an uneven rookie season where he seemed to battle some weight problems. Much more will be expected of him next season.

There you have it, the cards that I picked up for the defense. You can see a lot of fairly high draft picks in there. I think that some of the players may have had a better chance with the team had they not switched defensive coordinators, and systems, so often. There was a lot of talent, the Browns just couldn't seem to use it.

Friday, 13 January 2017

COMC Black Friday: Part Five - The Quarterbacks

I'm sure that most readers are familiar with the now-retired Browns jersey that lists all the starting Quarterbacks since the Browns returned in 1999. Not all of those QBs have Browns cards for me to collect, but many do, and I picked up a number of Quarterback cards that came in my COMC Black Friday shipment.

Not only did Tim Couch wear the number 2, but he was the second quarterback to start for the expansion Browns on the list.

L-R: 2001 Fleer Hot Prospects - Honor Guard #46; 2001 Quantum Leaf - Star Factor #SF-14 (#/2000)

L-R: 2002 Finest #46; 2002 Fleer Maximum - K Corps #18 (#/3040)

2002 Fleer Tradition - Headliners #12

Okay, I've said it before, I miss Fleer cards. First off, I love how the K Corps card is numbered out of 3040 - how random. But really, among these cards, the Headliner has to be my favorite! Enough so that I'm going to show the back too.

The card back is pointing back to the days where kids played outside? Awesome!

You know, as much as I can relate to that when I was young, and as much time as I spent at the outdoor rink as a kid, I consider the cold weather now that I'm older and ask how I did that.

Moving on, we find the sixth starter since 1999.

L-R: 2005 Donruss Classics - Stadium Stars Goal Line Bronze #10 (#/750); 2005 Upper Deck - Promo #43

As a Canadian football fan that also watches the CFL, I was very familiar with Garcia before he signed with San Francisco. I was happy when the Browns signed him, and disappointed when things didn't work out. It is nice to add more cards of him in a Browns uniform, even if one of them mentions that he was signed by the Lions.

Let's follow Garcia with the seventh and ninth starters.

L-R: 2004 Topps Pristine - Refractors #114 (#/1099); 2005 Leaf Rookies & Stars Longevity #98

I only ordered the one Luke McCown card, but it looks a lot nicer (shinier) in person.

The foil of the Longevity card really doesn't allow it to be shown off as nice as it could be, but this is a checklist card that has Charlie Frye and Braylon Edwards on the front.

Top (l-r): 2005 Press Pass SE #1; 2005 Press Pass SE - Class of 2005 #CL 3
Bottom (l-r): 2005 Press Pass SE - Old School #OS 9; 2007 Topps Draft Picks & Prospects - Chrome Black #69

It is always nice to get cards of Frye in his Akron Zips uniform. I was surprised to notice that I have over 100 different Charlie Frye cards.

Following Frye as the tenth starter, we get to the last Browns quarterback to make the Pro Bowl.

Top (l-r): 2007 SP Chirography #23; 2008 Bowman Chrome - Refractors #BC122
Bottom (l-r): 2008 Leaf Certified Materials #29; 2008 Stadium Club - First Day Issue #33

Top (l-r): 2008 Topps Lettermen #10 (#/949); 2008 Topps Mayo #227
Bottom (l-r): 2008 Topps Triple Threads - Sepia #11 (#/249); 2008 Upper Deck Icons - NFL Icons Gold #NFL16 (#/99)

2008 Upper Deck Draft Edition #208

Compared to Frye, Anderson seems underrepresented in my collection as I only seem to have 79 of his cards.

For college football, I am a Notre Dame fan, so I am partial to the eleventh Browns starter since 1999.

Top (l-r): 2007 Finest #102; 2007 Playoff NFL Playoffs Preview #P-4
Bottom: 2007 SAGE DECADEnce #15

DECADEnce?  Really, SAGE? Although, looking at the capitalized SAGE, I guess I believe it.

Top (l-r): 2008 Score - Gold Zone #68 (#/400); Red Zone #68 (#/100)
Bottom (l-r): 2008 Score - Future Franchise Gold Zone #FF-2 (#/500); Scorecard #FF-2 (#/999)

Continuing my collection of all the 2008 Score Browns parallels.

Brady Quinn will share the next scan with starter number fifteen.

Top: 2009 Topps National Chicle - Mini #C39
Bottom: 2010 Topps - 1952 Bowman #52B-22

A couple of modern QBs on old-style cards. I also picked up an old-style card of the seventeenth starter.

L-R: 2012 Panini Elite - Elite Series Rookies Silver #8 (#/999); 2012 Topps Chrome - 1957 #18

I almost passed up on the Topps Chrome card because I knew that I had a 1957 Weeden card from that year. Surprisingly it was card #17 which showed Weeden in a passing motion. Who knew there were two cards of all 15 players in the insert set?

Finally, the last QB that I picked up cards for would be happy to sign autographs for you at the Super Bowl for a small fee, he is the twenty-first starter since 1999.

L-R: 2014 Topps Supreme #88 (#/162); 2014 Topps Valor - Speed #50

I know I refer to these QBs by the number of the order that they started in a lot of my posts (I have to laugh about it or I'll cry), but I always have to look it up. Should I try to memorize the list sort of like people do with the US Presidents?

Thursday, 12 January 2017

COMC Black Friday: Part Four - Cards from before the 1999 expansion return

Okay, this post won't have very many cards. This COMC order didn't have too many cards from before 1999, but I'm very happy to have picked most of them up.

Some time last year I became aware of the 1978 Topps Holsum football card set. Upon looking around, I found the one Browns card in the set at a good price on COMC and snapped it up.

I wasn't familiar with Holsum breads, but I'm very happy to add a new oddball to my collection.

An interesting tidbit that was pointed out in the description of the set on the Beckett website is that there is no mention of Holsum anywhere on the card even though the cards came in their loaves of bread.

Cards that I have been aware of since the late 1980s are the Fleer Team Action sets. I picked up a number of packs of the 1987 set while on a vacation in the US at that time. As a kid I thought they were okay, but I didn't like that they were team cards and didn't focus on players.

Now, as a collector, I have done a good job of picking up most of the cards and stickers of their sets, and here are two more stickers to add to my collection.

Left: 1985 Fleer Team Action Helmet Sticker; Right: 1986 Fleer Team Action Helmet Sticker
It is sometimes difficult to figure out exactly what year each sticker was issued, and I have received improperly identified stickers in the past from eBay, but if you're looking into Fleer team stickers I highly recommend The Fleer Sticker Project website.

This website let me know that the 1986 stickers had a red back, as opposed to the 1987 ones, which I had from those original purchases on vacation, that had blue ones.

Here are the backs to the above stickers.

Pretty cool prizes on the back of the 1985 sticker. Back then I would have loved the jacket and autographed team football, but now I find the trading card proof sets to be a more interesting prize.

The next card may look familiar to football collectors, but is a little different.

Okay, that is the same picture and design as the regular 1991 Pacific card of Eric Metcalf, but as we look at the back of this card...

...we see that it is card number 66 as opposed to the regular card which is number 83.

This is one of the Prototype cards for the 1991 Pacific football card set.

Here is the back of the corrected version of the regular 1991 Pacific card, with a scan borrowed from the Trading Card Database:

Now, I say corrected version of the back, because if you look at the last line of text on this card, there is an error version that says, "Terry is the son of former NFL running back Terry Metcalf."

Knowing that, look at the prototype back...  Okay, the text is different, and they refer to his father, but now look at the sentence in orange above the stat line...  Pretty funny that it is a different error mixing him up with his father.

And above his picture, it says Cleveland instead of the trademarked BROWNS. I like seeing things like that.

I'm really happy to get this prototype. It will look nice sitting next to the error and corrected cards in my binder.

The next card that I picked up doesn't excite me as much, mostly because of the player involved.

1995 Donruss Red Zone Update

This is the only Browns card in the Red Zone Update set. I'm sure I was happy when the Browns originally signed Rison, but I soon became disillusioned with his free agent signing, especially when I heard his comments that he was looking forward to the move to Baltimore, and when I heard that Art Modell needed to get loans to guarantee Rison's signing and that it probably was a factor in the move to Baltimore, well, that just made me love the player so much more. (Please read the sarcasm that was meant in that previous sentence.) And, yes, I know that that is completely unfair, but hey, I feel how I feel. But the card was needed for my Browns collection.

Finally, let's look at a pair of Michel Jackson autographs.

1996 Pro Line Autographs - Blue and Gold

You weren't thinking of that other guy, were you?

It was nice to add these Blue and Gold autographed Michael Jackson cards to the Blue and Gold Keenan McCardell ones that I previously owned.

Some of the Gold autograph cards from this set were numbered out of 250 on the back. Both Browns (well, I guess they were technically Ravens then) players in the set that I have cards for did not number their card backs. Maybe that's why they eventually started actually printing the serial numbers on the card.