Monday 28 September 2015

Automatic Otto

Well the so-called "easy part" of the Browns schedule ended yesterday with a loss to the Raiders. I don't think that Johnny Manziel would have made that much of a difference as once again it seemed that the strengths of the team let the fans down - the offensive line, and the defense.

The nice thing about the Raiders game is that I didn't go to it! Last year I made the drive to Cleveland with three friends to see the Raiders visit, and when this year's schedule came out we thought we might do the same. As much as I love the game-day atmosphere, I'm glad we didn't.

Since I really don't want to talk about yesterday's game I might as well change the topic.

One way that I can convince friends to go to Cleveland to see the Browns is to convince them they want to go to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

One of my friends thinks that the first half of it should be renamed the Otto Graham Hall of Fame.
Vince Costello's Collectibles - Otto Graham
Why not? In his 10 year playing career from 1946-1955, he played in 10 championship games, winning 7 of them. He was the UPI NFL MVP in 1951, 1953 and 1955.
Metal card sold by the Hall of Fame
I'm sure that many card collectors will agree that cards help them learn about their team. As much as we may make fun of the mass produced Pro Set sets, one of them provided me with my first Otto Graham card:

1991 Pro Set #SC4
I loved all the information on this card back

That year I also picked up the ENOR Hall of Fame card, and the Domino's card.
This summer, visiting a card store in Binghamton, NY, I added one of the highlights of my collection:
1950 Bowman #45

As you can see, it has a light crease through the middle, and the top right corner is pretty much a ding rather than a soft corner, but I was so happy to acquire this 65 year old piece of cardboard.
Almost as old are these oddballs that I bought off of eBay this summer:
1952 Wheaties

Thank you to whoever kept these for so long, and in such good shape. I'm always amazed when I see old cereal box cards.
According to what I have entered in to the Trading Card Database, I have 25 different Otto Graham cards out of the 233 that they list. I'm very happy with what I have so far, and look forward to getting many more. The biggest hole in the collection is an autographed card - I've seen them available but just haven't broken down to buy one yet. It is just a matter of time.
Otto Graham died on December 17,2003 in Sarasota, Florida at the age of 82.
One good thing happened over the weekend, the Mets clinched the NL East! I look forward to watching playoff baseball and having my team in it to cheer for.
Let's go Mets!!!

Saturday 26 September 2015

Recently obtained cards

This morning I drove down to my US PO Box to pick up my mail and I'm happy to show some of what was waiting for me there.

The first two cards were obtained in a trade with gwhy11 on the Trading Card Database. I traded some old WHA hockey cards that I've had since I was a kid, and received the following two cards:

I am thrilled with picking up the 1970 Topps Super Leroy Kelly. Until recently, I had never seen one, and the first one I ended up seeing was trapped in plastic. I really thought about buying it, and freeing the card, but didn't want to pay the obvious premium the seller wanted for the graded card.

The 1962 Topps John Morrow now gives me 5 Browns for my team set. It is probably an unrealistic set to obtain with Ernie Davis' RC being in it, but I'll still try.

I've been looking for the following since the set came out in 1993.

When the 1993 McDonald's cards were released, a couple of friends and I made the hour-long drive to cross the border to go to a US McDonald's and buy some cards. However, since we weren't in a NFL city, we were just able to buy an "all-star" grouping of players.  I've kept my eyes open for the Browns set, but never came across one in person. I finally saw a really good deal on e-bay, and welcomed the three sheet set into my collection.

I added three new autographed cards to my collection:
E.J. Bibbs was the only undrafted rookie to make the Browns this year. The middle card is a Leaf Trinity Pure Glass card. I really like how solid it is, and I love how sharp looking both this card and the clear acetate cards that I've picked up are.
I continue to add Terrance West autographs to my collection. This is a 2014 Topps Inception, and I have another West auto on the way in the mail.
Some Johnny Manziel parallels from last year:
Although it is tough to see, the Hot Rookies Scorecard is #/99, and the Bowman Sterling is a Blue Wave Refractor that is #/25.
And I also picked up an interesting set of cards. The seller listed them as 1986, but the Standard Catalog of Vintage Football Cards lists this 5 card set as 1987 Browns Louis Rich. They are 5"x7.25" with no numbers, and blank backs. They were originally created to be used as a promotion in Louis Rich products but the promotion was cancelled after the cards were printed. According to the Catalog, collectors that stopped into the Oscar Mayer corporate office were given sets of the cards.

? is Dub Jones
And as happy as I am with these being added to my collection, I also added the following Dub Jones:

I had been watching this printing plate for a while on eBay, and finally figured that I should treat myself.
Dub Jones shares the NFL record of six touchdowns in a single game.

Monday 21 September 2015

Game two - First win!

Congratulations to the Cleveland Browns for winning their home opener 28-14 against the Titans!

The defense looked good in getting seven sacks, and recovered three fumbles, but the big star of the game was Travis Benjamin with receiving touchdowns of 60 and 50 yards, and a punt return touchdown of 78 yards.

For that reason I am going to highlight some of the Travis Benjamin cards in my collection.

The Trading Card Database shows me that I have 23 different Benjamin cards in my collection, six of which are autographed cards. This is probably my favorite of the autographed ones:
2012 Topps Valor - Legionary Autographs #LA-TB

From looking at his autographs in my collection, on most of the others it seems to show the start of a T (looking more like a 7) with a line trailing off to the right for the rest of Travis, inside a giant B with a line trailing off to the right to represent Benjamin. On this card, the B seems lazier, if it really can be. Or at least that is what the rest of them look like to me.
I generally like the Topps Valor cards. They have a nice feel to them, and the backgrounds are distinct enough to stand out from other sets. And I like how easy it is to identify the parallels as they break down into subsets of different characteristics such as Strength, Courage, and Glory.
2013 Topps Archives #38

I probably like this card more for referencing the 1976 Topps set than anything else but his eyes are interesting, perhaps focusing on an incoming tackler?
2012 Score #400

This is a great shot. Score usually comes out pretty early, and this photo from his rookie year was probably taken at one of the early camps after the draft. I hope he caught it!

2012 Panini Absolute #189

I like how this card scanned, with the colors coming out in the background.

Here is the only 2015 card I have of Travis Benjamin:
2015 Score #172

Expect these numbers to jump dramatically this year
He switched his number from 80 to his current 11 before the 2014 season.
It was nice to see the punt return touchdown, and the fact that he was actually giving us returns rather than fair catches. Hopefully he'll provide us with many big play returns throughout the year!
I'll finish up with a card for fans of "The U":
2012 Fleer Retro - Metal #M-66

He's from Florida, and credits his speed and agility to chasing rabbits as a kid.

Saturday 19 September 2015

Long-time want and 2015 Donruss football blaster

I'm very happy to add the following card to my collection. I've wanted it since the set came out in 1991.
1991 Action Packed Rookie Update 24-Kt. Gold #2G Eric Turner


Eric Turner, the number two pick in the 1991 NFL Draft, was one of my favorite players. I wish that back then I could have had a football package to watch all of his games. I really didn't get to see Eric play as much as I would have liked. Sadly, he passed away of intestinal cancer in May 2000 at the age of 31.
I was very happy to find this card on e-bay a little while ago, and thrilled to pick it up when I drove to my post office box this morning.
When I crossed into the US to go to my post office box, I also stopped at the Wal-Mart and picked up a blaster of 2015 Donruss football. Local Wal-Marts in Ottawa do not carry NFL cards.
Anyway, let's look at the seven packs as they are opened...
Pack one:
First, the colors. Then I look at them, and see that the borders are the team colors. Okay, this is interesting, let's see how it goes. I like the photos, and the name and team plates look okay. Good to see D'Qwell, an old favorite when he was with the Browns. And one of my Raider friends will enjoy the Murray. I see the Elite brand again. Not a bad first pack.
Pack two:

Hey, my first Brown! Good to see! Nice Dex photo. Good to see Urlacher in the set. Oh, I like the passing the torch card, but we need to see the back of it. The Rated Rookie Lockett is nicer than my scanner makes it. I have to avoid that part of the scanner that puts the faded lines through his name.
Okay, we see who White is passing the torch to now. I hope that Gregory does well. It would be a nice bonus for the Cowboys after he slipped in the draft.

Now let's look at a base card back:

(Of course I'm picking the Brown!) Okay I like the team color back. I would prefer more years of stats and more personal information (college, how they are acquired, etc.), but the information that it does have is very clear and presented well. The logo (helmet) looks good in the middle of the card.
Pack three:

I like the red, white and blue on the Bills cards. I like the photos for Johnson and Floyd. Johnson's is just different than I usually see, and it is fun to see that little hold, and the jersey tug, against him.
Oh, and here comes the blaster's "One Exclusive Rookie Threads" card:

Not bad, but I wish it was one of the Browns rookies...oh, wait, the last card in the pack:

Best wishes, Duke! I want to see a long, successful career.
Two Browns in three packs. A lot of people might not like it, but I sure do!
On to pack four:

Quarterback heavy first half of the pack. I don't really like those Packer uniforms. I don't know which old uniforms are worse, those or the Steelers. Kaepernick looked good last weekend. You can really see the time he spent with Kurt Warner has helped. Hmm, I don't know what I think about these Gridiron Kings. I think I would have preferred just the close-up profile picture instead of having two pictures.
Pack five:

I really like the Deion card. LT, nice. Kuechly, too bad he's going to miss the first game of his career this weekend due to a concussion, he's a great player. JPP...what can you say? How can you derail your career like that. The Antonio Brown insert is familiar, but I'll have to go back and look through my collection to find where it is from.
Pack six:

The Gridiron King Wright has the Career Stat Line and is #/215
I expanded the last photo so that you could see the stat line. It is in a green foil that doesn't show up well on the scan. Nice, but again I think I would prefer just one photo on the card.
Last pack: (Need more Browns!)

No Browns, and the hated Elway. Oh, but what's this? A Press Proof numbered 1/10 Colts Andre Johnson. Very nice, and unexpected.
All in all, I like the look of the cards, and really like the retired players (no retired Browns though). I don't think that I'll try to complete the set, but I'll probably pick up another blaster at some point.
It is nice to see the Donruss name on football cards again. Thanks for bringing it back Panini.

Thursday 17 September 2015

Do you remember these quarterbacks?

My previous posts have mentioned that the Browns have had 23 starting QBs since their comeback in 1999. Looking through my collection, here are four Browns cards of QBs that either didn't make the team, or ever have a start in that same period.

2000 Bowman #216

I have three different Kevin Thompson cards over 2000 and 2001. He appeared in a December 3, 2000 loss to Jacksonville (48-0 ouch!). Looking at the game log at, it appears that he played in one series.

On first down he had a carry for no gain that included him fumbling, and recovering his own fumble. After a false start by the NFL Network's Shaun O'Hara, on second down he handed off to Jamel White for a 4 yard gain. Facing 3rd and 11, he completed his only pass to Jamel White for 8 yards and then the Browns punted.

2001 Leaf Rookies & Stars #102

I have four different Josh Booty cards between 2001 and 2003. He isn't listed on
2003 SP Authentic #203, #/1200

This is one of the cards that I picked up at the card show in Syracuse last Saturday. It is one of two   Hybl cards that I have from 2003. Nate Hybl is also not listed on
2006 Upper Deck Legends #206, #/750

I have 11 different Darrell Hackney cards from 2006, including 4 autographed ones. Yet I chose this card to show of the Future Legend. As with the previous two QBs, he does not have a listing on
None of the above were drafted by the Browns. Josh Booty was originally a 6th round draft pick of the Seahawks, and the others were all undrafted free agents.


Tuesday 15 September 2015

Funny Verizon commercial

While watching football this weekend, I saw the following Verizon commercial a few times:

Luke McCown was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the 4th Round of the 2004 NFL Draft. He had four starts for the Browns that season. He is starting quarterback number 7 out of the 23 that have started for Cleveland since 1999. (His older brother Josh just became number 23 last Sunday)

My Browns collection contains 20 different Luke McCown cards, including 3 autographed cards. Here are some of them:

2004 Bazooka #220
I like the look of concentration. I should really find the parallels for this.

2004 Fleer Tradition - Rookie Throwback Threads Helmets #TT-LM
Neat to have something that isn't a jersey swatch. Fun insert series.

2004 Leaf Rookies & Stars - Rookie Autographs #262, #/50
On this sticker he almost writes out Luke. My other two autos have an L with a line after it.

2004 Upper Deck #273
Nice smile. I guess that I would be happy too if I made it to the NFL.
Verizon, great commercial! Nice to see a backup quarterback get a national commercial.
Luke, great job with the commercial, and good to see you still in the league. Somehow though, as unfair as it may be, I don't think that Sean Payton is going to set up that rotation that you might be longing for.