Friday 30 October 2015

Collection showcase on Kevin Mack

Last June, the Cleveland Browns held a Fan Fest at the Cleveland Convention Center. One of the panels celebrated the 30th Anniversary of the Dawg Pound, and had former players Hanford Dixon, Bob Golic and Kevin Mack sharing stories.
1986 Topps #188 - NFL rookie card

Kevin Mack played for the Clemson Tigers, and was a part of their 1981 National Championship team. Following his collegiate career he played one year in the USFL with the Los Angeles Express. He was then chosen by the Browns with the 14th pick of the 1st round of a 1984 supplemental draft of USFL and CFL players. He went on to play nine years for the Browns, rushing for 5,123 yards and 46 touchdowns to go with 1602 receiving yards and 8 touchdowns.

Looking at my collection statistics on The Trading Card Database, I currently have 80 different Kevin Mack cards in my collection, all from the "junk wax" era. They aren't junk to me!

He rushed for over 1000 yards during his rookie season of 1985, and made the Pro Bowl. His season stats are shown below.

1986 Topps - 1000 Yard Club #19
Another thing to note from that season was that Kevin Mack was part of the third tandem, along with Earnest Byner, to rush for 1000 yards in the same season. (Byner passed the 1000 yard mark on the last play of the regular season.) Here is a great article on  their relationship. And below is a card from The Idols subset of 1991 Pinnacle that shows the two together.
1991 Pinnacle #376

Nice to see teammates so close

If you asked me what my favorite Browns card was from my collection, the following card by Pro Set would probably be the first that came to mind. It isn't a valuable card, it isn't an autograph card, but it is an insert card - one that I was thrilled at getting when I pulled it from the 1991 Pro Set Platinum set.
1991 Pro Set Platinum #PC5
Card titled "Touchdown!" featuring a photo by Louis DeLuca of the Dallas Times Herald
This glossy, premium set is a favorite of mine even though the cards didn't show any information on their front other than the set logo. Normally I don't like that, but I love so many of the photos used in this set.
Another action shot follows, from the depths of time when I was young and could look forward to seeing the Browns in the playoffs:
1988 Fleer Team Action #72

Little did I know the years of heartache (and hatred of John Elway) that would follow this game.
At the Fan Fest, it was fun listening to Hanford Dixon talk about how in training camp he would look to see when Kevin Mack was lined up to run, and then how he would try to arrange it so that he wasn't lined up to face him in whatever drill they were working on. Kevin Mack then echoed Dixon but said that the running backs would try to avoid having to face LB Chip Banks.
The great thing about cards is the variety of what we get to see. It is nice to see painted cards. I wonder how many players try to get the original art after the cards come out.
1992 Upper Deck #77

I'm not sure how I prefer having team checklists, like the painting above, or headshots of the team leaders like you used to see on the old Topps cards. Regardless, the art on this is great!
I'm going to finish this post off with a couple of Wild Cards:
1991 Wild Card - 50 Stripe #55
I might as well show that I have a 50 Stripe (along with the 5 and 20). I still need to find the 10, 100 and 1000. I don't have any of the 1992 Kevin Mack Stripes, and only have the 10 Stripe for 1993. Speaking of the 1993 card:
1993 Wild Card #39
Kevin Mack is waving bye to this post!

Sunday 25 October 2015

A Favorite Card Show Moment

Tony at Off Hiatus Baseball Cards is having a contest. Here is my story, I mean, entry.

But first, I'll answer the multiple card show questions originally from Sooz at Topps.

Q1 When is the last time you went to a card show?

I went to a small local show last Sunday.

Q2 How many card shows happen in your area throughout a year?

Define area. I'm willing to travel.

The local show runs monthly, but I think they take a couple of months off in the summer. I don't know of any others. I try to swing by each month.

About a month ago, I made the three hour trip to Syracuse to a great show. I'll probably do that again in November.

Q3 What are some of the benefits of a card show?

Not having to pay shipping.
Immediate gratification of getting the cards right away.
You get to see things that you might not normally see in person without a show.
You can talk to other collectors and dealers about cards and they'll understand you.
Just how cheap you can find some interesting cards.

Q4 IF you could revamp card shows, what would you change?

It really isn't anything about the format, or set-up or anything, but more to do with what I would like to see, especially here at home.

I want to see football cards, and I get so little at shows here in Canada. I'm really not interested in the hockey cards, other than to look at cool designs, and I'll flip through baseball to look for neat stuff for friends, but I have so little football to choose from. And then, and I understand why, when I do find some it is primarily only hits. The hits are from sets that I want base cards from. I'd love to see the base cards too. I want to fill my collection.

Q6 What is your best ever card show find?

Such a subjective question, and I don't know if I really have an answer, or one that won't change over time. At this point in time it might be going through a dealer's monster boxes in Syracuse last month and finding about 70 autographs, memorabilia cards, oddballs and inserts at just under $1 each. Remember what I said above about wanting to fill my collection?

But Tony's contest has asked something a little different. He wants to know our favorite card show find. Mine isn't necessarily a find, as much as a favorite card show moment.

In college, in the early 1990s, the card explosion had football cards coming to local shows. A roommate and I would head out to those shows and pick up boxes, sets, and team singles - me with my Browns, and him with his Raiders. With the explosion, we had started football card collections after both collecting hockey cards through our teens.

The card that would have topped my wantlist at the time would have been the 1986 Topps Bernie Kosar rookie card.


It wasn't even a huge value card at the time. It sat behind the Jerry Rice and Boomer Esiason rookie cards, and the Reggie White and Steve Young NFL rookie cards, but I really wanted the card and couldn't find it.

At a card show held at, I believe, the Nepean Sportsplex in October, during football season and right around my birthday, we found a dealer selling wax packs of 1986 Topps. My friend would remember the prices, he has a better memory for things like that, but knowing there could be an elusive Kosar rc in there, I was intrigued. Even with the price being a little more than I wanted to spend, broke college student that I was, I decided I would buy a pack. My friend decided that he would as well.

I opened my pack. No Kosar. However it did have two of the cards I mentioned above:
1986 Topps #374

1986 Topps #161
I was pretty happy with those. They were definitely worth the cost of the pack.

My friend opened his pack, flipped through them one at a time reading who he got, and sure enough soon there was Bernie Kosar looking to throw the ball. He finished looking through the pack while I was trying to figure out what I was going to have to trade him for the Kosar. He then turned, handed me the pack and wished me a happy birthday. A great present, and what is probably my favorite card show moment.

Saturday 24 October 2015

Filling some 90s holes in the collection

Once again another week has passed without a post. So we'll fix that with a quick post of some cards from Sportlots and eBay that I picked up in my mailbox this morning.

First up is a 1995 parallel team set from Topps. I already owned the regular team set (I still need the two Browns "Hit List" insert cards), and the parallel version from the Jacksonville Jaguars inaugural season factory set, but I didn't own any of the Panthers set. After finding a seller with all the Browns cards on Sportlots I decided to place an order.

Leroy Hoard was a favorite player, and I love the two horizontal shots above.

 Everitt and Turner were both favorites of mine as well.
I actually bought a copy of the Jaguars factory set to get the team set of it, and have passed on a couple of teams to other friends, but if anyone is interested in their team's cards just ask to see if I still have them.
The same seller also had the top two cards from the photo below. I'm slowly gathering old Wild Card Stripe cards when I see them for an acceptable price. From this set, for Michael Jackson, I now have the 5, 20 and 1000 Stripe. It is the only 1000 Stripe card that I own.
The bottom three are not cards, but are magnets from 1995 made by Chris Martin Enterprises, Inc. The logo in the top corner of each one says "Pro Magnets". The funny thing about them is that I bought a pack of these football magnets when they came out (no Browns) and put the magnets on my mom's fridge. They are still there.
Skipping a few year, I also picked up the following cards from the Browns comeback in 1999.

Darrin Chiaverini was a 5th Round Draft Pick by the Browns in 1999, and had a very good rookie year with 44 receptions, 487 yards and 4 touchdowns. He had more competition at the receiver spot, as well as a knee injury in 2000, and was then traded to Dallas in the summer of 2001. He is currently on the coaching staff of the Texas Tech Red Raiders.
According to my collection list on The Trading Card Database, I now own 33 different Darrin Chiaverini cards.
The last card I picked up today escapes from the 90s.  
2012 Topps Chrome Blue Wave Refractor BW-23

I don't think the scan does the card justice. I know that Trent Richardson worked out for the Bills earlier this month without being signed. I hope, if he still wants to play, that he eventually gets his career on track.
Tomorrow, while watching the Browns play in St. Louis, as part of a contest at Off Hiatus Baseball Cards, I'm going to tell a fun card convention story. See you then!

Sunday 18 October 2015

What a week!

As I mentioned in my last post, I went to New York last weekend, and fit a lot into a short time. I tried creating a post with my tablet, taking photos that will show up here, but wasn't able to get the photos to import into the post.

Last Friday I drove to a friend's house in Union, New Jersey to park my car before taking the train in to NYC. On the way I stopped at LJ's Sports Cards in Binghamton and spent about an hour going through boxes of football cards.
2000 Topps Collection Browns
I found these cards to complete my 2000 Topps Collection team set. I already had three cards from this set that I think I pulled from a Browns team section at LJ's the previous time I was there.
The great thing about card collecting is getting cards of players like Jamir Miller and Wali Rainer that I normally wouldn't think about when I think of years past.
Upon arriving at another friend's place, that I was staying at in NYC, we then left for dinner and then to go out to Marquee. I really don't go to clubs that often but I don't think I've been anywhere that has the same atmosphere as New York clubs. Being old, I really don't understand just how many people are pulling out their phones and tablets to take photos and record the happenings. I don't think that I would have wanted photographic reminders (or evidence) of when I went out in my early 20s.
Saturday, I woke up and went to New York Comic-Con for the day. I found some cards to buy when I stopped by Jimmy Palmiotti's table in artist's alley. He was selling a card set featuring covers from his books. All of the art is by Amanda Conner & Paul Mounts, except for the Painkiller Jane cover sitting on the plane, which is Amanda Conner & Dave Johnson.
Top (l-r): Denver, Tattered Man
Middle: Retrovirus in middle, flanked by 2 Painkiller Jane covers
Bottom (l-r): Weapon of God, The Big Con Job

I love Jimmy and Amanda's work, and posted these safe covers from the 20 card set (19 cover cards, and 1 card autographed by Jimmy and Amanda). Their work can be found at the PaperFilms website.
After the show, and after dinner, I went to The Playwright Irish Pub on West 35th Street to cheer on the Mets with members of The 7 Line Army. I was truly among the right people to watch the game as at home none of my friends would have cared about that ugly Chase Utley tackle slide. But enough about that.
Browns fan that I am, I had to find somewhere to watch them play in Baltimore on Sunday. For the first time I had the opportunity to join the Union Square Browns Backers at Brother Jimmy's BBQ by Union Square.
Logo from Browns Backers t-shirt I bought
They had the basement room at Brother Jimmy's with about 12 TVs and a couple of hundred Browns fans cheering on the upset win in Baltimore. Gary Barnidge's amazing touchdown catch was definitely the play of the day!

 I really wish that I had some Gary Barnidge cards to show, but he has only had cards issued during his 2008 rookie season with Carolina. Hopefully one of the late season football sets will remedy the situation.
After the game I left the restaurant and walked down Park Avenue to Grand Central, and the Library, and then on to Times Square. While there I passed by the TKTS booth, and decided to go see a show. I don't know how many people attend Broadway shows in football jerseys, but my Ozzie Newsome jersey was a conversation starter before and during the intermission of The Jersey Boys show that I attended.
Monday was why I travelled to NYC. My first ball game in New York.
What a beautiful day!
Had to track down my hero's banner.
As expected, since you know the results, I really enjoyed Game 3, it was truly a
On Tuesday I drove home, and since the timing worked so well, I stopped at the Buffalo Wild Wings in Watertown to watch Game 4. I'm sure that Night Owl enjoyed that game, but I probably should have just continued on for that last two hours without stopping.
I'll just share one last photo that I tried to post while in New York:
2001 Topps Archives Hall of Famers that I needed found at LJ's.
I brought a couple of envelopes of cards to mail while I was on my trip but didn't get to it. They will probably have to wait until next weekend when I drive down to Ogdensburg again.

Setting this up was rather slow going as I was doing it while watching Game 1 against the Cubs. Woo hoo! A good start!

Hopefully Sunday will be twice as good with the Browns vs. Denver, and the Mets vs. Cubs!


Tuesday 6 October 2015

Not a good sign

So the Browns lost again last week, giving the Chargers kicker a second chance at a game winning field goal by jumping offside during the first attempt that the kicker missed. This, after allowing the Chargers to march down the field after they had tied the game with just over two minutes to go. When they tied it up, I turned to my friends and said that for all the Browns Defense's talk that they are among the elite of the league, that this would be their chance to prove it - coming up big when the team really needed it.

Sadly, I didn't get mad. I am already resigned to the Browns losing again this year. Last year the Browns owner, management and coaching staff got upset when people talked about the "same old Browns", but that is how I feel a quarter of the way into the season. That isn't good.

Oh well, I'll look at one positive - Isaiah Crowell had a solid day, highlighted by a couple of big plays. So I'll highlight his cards today.

I currently have 23 different Isaiah Crowell cards - 18 from 2014, and 5 from this year. I have no doubt that this total will grow pretty quickly.

2014 Topps Chrome - Rookie Autographs #225
I currently have four different autographed Crowell cards, the other three are all sticker autos. All are the same, a looping 'I', followed by his last name where you can see the 'C' and then a curve leading into the 'll' to finish his name. If you saw it on a regular piece of paper, you probably wouldn't have a clue what it was, but when signing cards you can understand how the signature fits.

It's funny, as I look through his different cards, I really only seem to have about seven different pictures. The above picture seems to be used in his Topps Turkey Red and Valor cards, as well as by Panini in his Prizm and Rookies & Stars cards. Although Panini made one change with his Prizm card: 
2014 Panini Prizm #286

Look! They removed the name from his helmet! Magic...

I like Prizm cards. They are solid, and although they might scratch I just like the look and feel of them. There are, however, way too many parallels in their sets.

With his 2015 cards, it looks like they used photos just a second or two apart against the Saints last year:
2015 Panini Prestige #72

Score #142
With one shot being more of a close-up, I wonder which was taken first. I would think that the top card is first, with him looking at the field and then tucking the ball upwards to run as the Saint lies back after missing him, but I don't know.
I've said it before, but I also really like the looks and feel of the Topps Valor cards:
2014 Topps Valor #72
To get a look at the guy under the helmet, here he is:
2014 Score #413
In general, it is a pretty boring card from a lower price set, but it stands out among all his other cards by letting me see the guy.

Isaiah Crowell is an undrafted free agent that played one year at Georgia, and then two years at Alabama State. He is the only running back left on the team from last year's opening stable with Terrance West, and Ben Tate. Last year he ran for 607 yards on 148 carries for a 4.1 yard average, with 8 touchdowns.
It's funny that I think back to last year and my memory says that he fumbled a lot, but when I look up the stats he only fumbled three times, losing two of them.
2015 Bowman - Rainbow Foil #28. Protect the ball!

Switching the topic to baseball, I'm travelling to NYC this weekend, and will be going to Game 3 vs the Dodgers on Monday. This will be my first Mets home game. I'm really thankful to a friend that suggested I think about coming down, and that if I did I could buy a ticket from him.
Does anyone know any good, easily accessible card stores in NYC where I can dive into some football singles some time over the weekend? I hope to stop in to a store in Binghamton that I've been to before on Friday as I drive down, but I would still like to check out other places.


Sunday 4 October 2015

Odds and ends

I went on a bit of a run buying oddballs for my Browns collection.

The weather is starting to cool off here, but I did need a Popsicle:

1976 Popsicle Cleveland Browns
And a cool glass of milk:
1986 DairyPak NFL Players Superstars Series
I am a pack rat. I save a lot of things that most people wouldn't but I don't think that I ever would have saved a player card clipped from the side of a milk container. As much as I thank people for saving the old Post Cereal cards, I'm happy they also keep things like this.

I also picked up all six Browns from 1990 Star-Cal Decals, although editing could have been better:
Can't see the bottom left that clearly, but Matthews should have two "t"s.

I don't remember Ernie at QB

I also picked up some more buybacks from this year's Topps set:

The top two are red-stamped buybacks, while the bottom three are black-stamped.

I have won and lost a couple more auctions with Browns buybacks in them and it makes me wonder, how many different Browns cards did they print? There is no way I'll ever know. I suppose I could track auctions that I lose and that would give me more of an idea of what else is out there.

And I'll finish with one more purchase that other Browns collectors should not expect to scratch off of their wantlists:

I just hope that Haden is healthy enough to play well this weekend against San Diego.
Here we go, Brownies, here we go!

Saturday 3 October 2015

Heroes and Villans

I just picked up a trade package from Tony, and so in showing some of the cards I will borrow from him and show some videos.

The first video, however, isn't a music one, and the card below it isn't one that he sent me, but I need it for the theme.

It is too bad that the end is slightly off, but I remember watching this commercial on tv.

Gary Carter is my first sports here. I was a catcher. I wore number 8. (A good number for a catcher, RIP Yogi.) And, he is the reason I became a Mets fan. I always kind of liked them, but when Carter was traded there I was all-in! Besides, it gave me a team to root for against my father.

When I restarted collecting last year, one of the first cards I looked for was one that I always wanted as a kid, and saw plenty of but never at a price I could pay. Anyway, I quickly found this at a very reasonable price, and I'm very happy to own it:

As much as I love Carter, when I got back into collecting I decided to only collect Browns cards. Cheering for the Browns can be tough:

This came out a couple of years ago, but change the names and it remains the same.

Tony sent me a small packet of Browns cards. I had all the cards below, but here are some of my old favorite players:

Eric Metcalf was great, a Raider-killer to give me bragging rights with two of my friends. And at the first NFL game that I was able to attend, he had a 73 yard punt return touchdown. It was so nice to see that live.

Michael Dean Perry was a better player than his brother "The Fridge", but isn't as well known.

And I always thought that with the last name of Slaughter that it would have been awesome if he had been a defensive player.

However, while looking through the cards Tony sent, to my surprise I found two that I needed!

Sadly, JaJuan Dawson died this past July at the age of 37, drowning after falling overboard on a family boating trip.

With a more pleasant story, David Patten escaped Cleveland to New England where he was a member of the three early 2000s Super Bowl winning teams, catching a touchdown in Super Bowl XXXVI.

Always nice to add new cards to my collection.

Finally, the main cards that Tony sent were for a friend of mine:
Looking at Wikipedia, Aston Villa has a storied history having spent 104 years playing in the top tier of English football. They are one of the few teams that have played in every Premiership season, although from what little I follow of them it has come down to the wire the last couple of seasons to see if they would stay there.

Aston Villa is currently owned by former Browns owner, Randy Lerner.

1991-92 Pro Set English League

Tony, thanks for the cards! I'm sure my friend will enjoy them.