Monday 30 November 2015

A very simple contest: 'Tis the season!

Here we are on the cusp of moving into December. Stores are all outfitted in Christmas decorations, some radio stations have switched to an all-Christmas music format until after the holidays, my choir had our first Christmas season concert out of ten last Thursday with number two on the schedule tonight...

What does this have to do with my card blog? Well, Gavin at Baseball Card Breakdown had an interesting post talking about how some trading seems cliquish, and how us members of the cardsphere (promoting the use of his word) could possibly reach out to each other more. (And at that, I'm not even on the Sports Card Blogroll that he mentioned. I need to reach out too!)

Anyway, what I'm getting to here is a very simple concept. I'll admit that I used contest in the heading to draw in readers, but it is going to be like a contest that everyone wins! To anyone that enters by sending me an email at my gmail account - armaclennan - I will send them a Christmas card with something hopefully relating to what they want. Send me your mailing address and what you collect (would prefer to hear it by teams but if you're only a player or non-sport collector I'll see what I can do) and I'll send you a Christmas card with a few cards, hopefully something you'll think is cool.

And what this will also do is allow me to have a better idea of who collects what so I can keep my eye out for neat things, and also build up an email and physical address list to mail things along to. Also, if you can, leave a comment here saying that you sent me an email - t will give other people an idea of if I've bitten off more than I can chew! This should be fun!

I'm very interested to see how many people will take me up on this, and when I hear from you, I'll try to get out the first batch of cards next weekend but no promises as to when things will get out because I do have to find something to put inside the cards.

Since I think that I need to have some pictures of cards in a blog post, here are some Santa football cards:
1989 Pro Set

1990 Pro Set

1991 Pro Line

1993 NFL Properties - Pacific

I know I have a few different Santas, and am sure that I have the second one shown here, but really don't remember all the ones that I have, or where they are. I would know if Santa were wearing a Browns uniform because then it would be in one of my binders!

Hope to hear from you soon!

Sunday 29 November 2015

Call from the local card store

After spending a fair bit of time and money acquiring a lot of new Browns cards on Sportlots and COMC, I got a phone call from the local card store letting me know that they had opened a couple of boxes of this year's football cards for singles. After spending a day getting my recertification for CPR and AED training, I popped over to the store. Let me show you what I found.

They opened some more of the regular Topps set and pulled a Browns autograph:

An interesting collection tidbit for a player that didn't make the team through his first training camp, this is the 7th autograph card I have of him.

I liked the 1987 Topps cards so I like this card, and the autograph is on card; you can pretty much feel the indentations from the pen. The back is interesting, though, it appears to be a UER - the text shows that he played for Washington State but the stats below list him playing for the Utah Utes, not the Cougars.

Then there was some Topps Chrome:

More Mayle, along with 1st Round Pick Danny Shelton. And once again, another reach back to an old Topps set, this time Duke Johnson in the style of 1989 Topps.

Continuing with Topps, another reach back to an older set, and another Mayle, here is some Topps Finest:

The Duke Johnson is in the style of 1995 Finest. The Mayle is a Rookie Atomic Refractor Die Cut.

The card on the left is the Black parallel, along with the regular base card on the right.

I was disappointed in Johnny Manziel's actions over the bye week. Whether or not he should be drinking after being in rehab over the summer, he is legal to do so. However if the coach asks you to behave and not drink, and you agree to that then it is disrespectful to the coach and the team if you do. Even if he was not asked to not drink, he seemed to be lying about his actions when he got back to Cleveland. Again, disrespectful. The coach has said that Johnny always seems to say the right things but doesn't back up his speech with his actions.

Too bad, I was looking to see what he would do over the rest of the season. I still think that he will start more games before the end of the season. They still need to see what he can do. If he doesn't start any I don't think he'll be on the opening day roster next year.

On to some Panini Gridiron Kings:

A couple more Johnny Manziels, red-framed and base, and a red-framed Taylor Gabriel. Hey, look! No Mayle!

And on to Panini Prizm:

The McCown is my first of him in a Browns uniform, and allowed me to add him to my list of Cleveland Browns Starting Quarterbacks on The Trading Card Database.

It is nice to see Paul Warfield in the set again. Always good to see a Hall of Fame player included in the team set.

The Dwayne Bowe is a Prizm parallel - and the back is great!

I love the optimism! Reality? Well, so far he's played in 4 of the 10 games this year and has 3 catches for 31 yards. Two year contract with $9 million guaranteed. Hopefully he'll turn it around.

Anyway, some interesting cards well worth the short trip to a local card store.

Friday 27 November 2015


Having my PO Box in the US, I very rarely get the experience of coming home and finding an envelope waiting for me, but yesterday gave me that pleasant surprise! The funny part was that I arrived home late after my choir's first concert of the Christmas season.

Why did the envelope arrive to my home? Well, to avoid having to go through customs. It came from the waxaholic, Captain Canuck, in Calgary.

I had no idea what to expect, and when I opened it I was pretty shocked:
A whole lot of rookie year Brandon Weeden cards, and a note hoping that I can give these Brownies a good home.

Amazingly, with all the memorabilia and autographed Weedens I already had, I needed all of these cards but one, the Topps Platinum Xfractor top center. But I've already got a home in mind for it.

I believe that Brandon Weeden is number 18 out of 24 Browns starting QBs since 1999.

That seems like a lot, but for fun, and comparison purposes, I decided to check what number starter he was for the Dallas Cowboys since 1999. I was rather surprised. He was 17th out of 18. The Cowboys used 9 different starters from 1999-2002. I so forgot about that.

Anyway, a big thank you to Captain Canuck. They have found a home, even though he didn't give me great memories. Anyway, I've got a couple of things in mind to send you in return. Expect something soon.

Tuesday 24 November 2015

Binder page

So, like a lot of other bloggers, I'm going to follow the Junior Junkie's lead and create a page of nine favorite cards from my collection.

Right off the bat, I knew what four of the cards would be, there wasn't even a question that they wouldn't be included. Some of the others surprised me since I bypassed some very nice cards, some great autographs and low numbered cards in putting this together. And I did put the cards into a page to scan, taking one card out of a protector that it had been in for over 20 years!

Here is the page that I came up with in the last few days:

My collection is a Browns collection, so people should have been expecting to see the Browns cards, but the place of honor in the center had to go to my all-time favorite player from childhood. Go figure, a baseball card.

Anyway, on to the reasoning for each.

Top left: 2013 Topps Archives - Fan Favorite Autographs #FFA-BG Bob Golic

I found this card at a card show in Albany when I drove down there for a Straight No Chaser concert, and happened to spot a sign for a card show on the outside of a hotel. At the show, flipping through one dealer's cards, I found this card for $4.00. There was no doubt that I would buy it - I needed it for my collection - but my first thought in buying it was to show one of my oldest friends, my old roommate that gave me my Kosar rookie card that I mentioned in a previous post. He is a Raiders fan, and I knew he'd get a laugh out of me finding a Browns Golic autograph instead of a Raiders one that he would like. Second of all, I've always liked the 1985 Topps design, and lastly, how could I not love one of the stars of Saved By The Bell: The College Years?

However the real reason I included it here was seeing him at the Cleveland Browns Fan Fest that I went to. After finishing his panel, he went to the side of the stage and sat there and signed autographs until I think everyone around got one. (I asked him to sign my Fan Fest ticket.) He had a great attitude, and joked with people as he signed. A true class act, and that small personal connection was enough that when I saw this card in my collection, that I wanted to add it to my page.

Top center: 1993 SP #58 Steve Everitt

This card is another one that is pulled due to a personal connection. Steve Everitt is the first former Browns player that I was lucky enough to meet, and even though I was a big fan of his while he played for them, I became that much more of a fan after talking to him. I'm going to have a spotlight post on him later this week where I will tell the story.

As for this card, as common as can be, the reason that I chose it is because the Browns were playing the Raiders. Those games are always fun to watch with my friend.

Top right: 2013 Topps Valor - Valor Autographs #VA-JG Josh Gordon

I love the design of the Topps Valor sets, and this has nothing to do with the rather boring autograph, but everything to do with the background on the card. It looks much better horizontally.

Middle left: 1950 Bowman #45 Otto Graham rookie card

Football cards have taught me a lot of the history of the game. I discovered Otto Graham's career thanks to an old Pro Set insert card. I then did my own research to find out more about him. Then when my friends and I went to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, one turned to me and commented that the first half of the Hall seemed to be the Otto Graham Hall of Fame.

When I had the opportunity to buy this creased copy in Binghamton this summer, there was no way I was going to pass it up. It is the oldest card in my collection, and one of the four sure things for this page that wasn't going to change.

Middle center: 1975 Topps #620 Rookie Catchers-Outfielders aka Gary Carter rookie card

Gary Carter was my hero growing up. He will always be my hero. After watching him in Montreal, I became a catcher. I wore number 8. And when he was traded to the Mets, I became a Mets fan. I loved his smile and his love of the game.  I was so happy to get his autograph on the back of my ticket stub through the netting behind home plate in Montreal before a game. I still treasure it.

There was no doubt that this card would be the featured card in my nine. And frankly it is the only baseball card I wouldn't want to do without. I always wanted a copy of this card, and bought this one on ebay last year when I decided to get back into card collecting, even though it isn't football, and it isn't the Browns.

Middle right: 1965 Philadelphia #41 Paul Warfield rookie card

This is another of the four sure things of the nine. This card sat in the display case at a local card store for years while I was in college and the card explosion hit and football cards became readily available to me in Canada. I kept looking at the card, and looking at it, wanting it, but not being able to justify spending the money on it. Finally I broke down and bought the card in the early 90s, and it had been in a protector ever since. Today is the first time in a long time that I've held the actual cardboard of the card in my hand.

Bottom left: 1992 Sunoco Browns Hall of Fame #5 Lou Groza

In a visit to the Pro Football Hall of Fame last October I picked up one of the those packages of 50 Cleveland Browns cards. In it was a Jim Brown card that I couldn't identify. After doing some online sleuthing I found it was from the 1992 Sunoco Browns Hall of Fame set. I quickly found and bought a copy of the set on ebay, and then added it scans and all to the Trading Card Database. There were great action shots in the set, and this was probably my favorite of them. A great shot of "The Toe".

Bottom middle: 1991 Pro Set Platinum #PC5 "Touchdown!" featuring Kevin Mack

This card immediately came to mind as a definite when thinking about this page. As I previously wrote in my showcase on Kevin Mack, this card might be my favorite Browns card ever.

Bottom right: 1991 Pro Set #699 Ozzie Newsome

Ozzie Newsome and Clay Matthews are my two favorite Browns players. They were both drafted by the team in the first round of the 1978 draft, and I guess I was at the right age to watch both of them in the peak of their careers. Hopefully Clay will join Ozzie in the Hall of Fame.

I loved this card when I pulled it from a pack and own many copies of it! I'm a little surprised that I put it ahead of so many of the action shots that are out there, but I also feel a lot of the art cards are amazing as well.

I'll have to make a post some time later with a bunch of the honorable mentions that didn't make this page.

Sunday 22 November 2015

Bye week additions to my collection

So far behind on the Browns bye week. Work has been busy, and my choir's holiday concert schedule starts on Thursday night. It is going to be an interesting concert season as I'll be performing my first solo this season. I hope I don't fall flat on my face!

Speaking of the bye week, the good news is it meant that the Browns couldn't lose! I've been so very frustrated watching the Browns play, hating the lack of discipline - way too many penalties, especially before snap penalties - and watching the defense continue to not live up to expectations. I take games too hard. When they lose it pretty much ruins watching the rest of the games that week. It was a nice week to just sit and watch football without being in a bad mood.

I have a few different posts that I want to get at, and hopefully will this week: one a focus on Steve Everitt with a great article I read on him, and the second an answer to the Junior Junkie wondering what everyone's best binder page would consist of.

I didn't get down to Syracuse for a card show that I was hoping to get to this weekend. I was just a little too tired for the three hour trip each way, but I did make my one hour trip to Ogdensburg to pick up mail. Here are new additions to my Browns collection:
(L-R) 2011 Panini Limited #131, 2012 Panini Totally Certified Blue #87, 2012 Panini Certified Blue #155

Bernie Kosar is pretty much the Browns quarterback of record for my generation. His awkward sidearm throwing style might have been strange to look at, but he was very accurate and retired ranked 12th all-time in passer rating.

All three of these cards were numbered. The Limited card is #/499, the Totally Certified is #/199, and the Certified is #/100.

Moving to another quarterback with three 2012 rookie cards of Brandon Weeden.
(L-R) 2012 Topps Platinum Xfractor #102, 2012 Panini Limited Rookie Jumbo Jersey #6, 2012 Topps Platinum Rookie Jersey #PRR-BW

Brandon Weeden was let go by the Cowboys this week, and was claimed on waivers by the Houston Texans. I wish him luck as he continues his pro career.

The Limited card is #/99.

One older card showed up, which could have been part of my previous post of 1995 cards:
1995 Collector's Choice - Player's Club Platinum #253
I have all of the regular Player's Club inserts for the Browns team set, but I think this is only the third platinum parallel that I have.
2014 Press Pass - Blue #30 and 2013 Panini Prominence #109

Johnny Manziel has been named the team's starter for the rest of the season. He had a good game against Pittsburgh (one of the few bright spots), and it is time to see what he can do for the rest of the season. Of course, this trial period may determine if the Browns will be drafting a quarterback high in the first round next year.

Barkevious Mingo seems to be one of the Browns defensive players that will wind up doing better when he moves on from Cleveland. They are using him mostly as a coverage linebacker as opposed to the pass rusher that I believe that he was drafted as. He struggled through injuries in his first couple of years, but I would love to see his speed used to try to get some pass rush.

Moving on to 2015 cards:
(L-R) 2015 Bowman - 1948 Mini #BM-DJ Duke Johnson; 2015 Bowman - Rainbow Foil #29 Terrance West; 2015 Bowman - 1948 Mini #BM-DSH Danny Shelton; 2015 Panini Gridiron Kings #77 Taylor Gabriel; 2015 Panini Gridiron Kings #29 Isaiah Crowell

Generally I like the 1948 Bowman minis, but I often can't identify the player without looking at the back of the card.

As it turns out, after scanning it, I realized that the Terrance West is a double. I'll pass it on to another Browns fan.

The Gridiron King cards have a nice feel to them, and I like the what looks to be stylized artwork on the fronts. I'll work on getting the rest of the Browns later.

Lastly, on to a couple more 2015 Topps buyback cards:
Red stamp buyback of 1972 Topps #211 Bill Nelsen; Black stamp buyback of 1981 Topps #170 Joe DeLamielleure 

I have both of the original cards, and will store these with my 2015 Browns card collection.

As you can see, there are different color stamps on the buyback cards. I should really write down somewhere what I saw that the stamps represent, but I know that the red stamps are supposed to be a little rarer than the black stamps, which are the most common. I now have 7 red and 9 black Browns buyback cards from this year's Topps set.

I don't think that I'll make my way down to Ogdensburg next week. I don't want to compete with the border traffic trying to get across for any of the weekend Black Friday sales. I can't wait until I get some of my newer purchases though. One is a lot of around 50 cheap autograph cards that I bought off of COMC's pre-Black Friday sale. I know I'll be spending more money on COMC this week, I just don't know what I'll be buying!

I've got a few odds and ends to send to some people; sorry I didn't get them out this weekend.

Tuesday 10 November 2015

New to me 1995 Browns cards

I'm just going to start this with a link to Gordon Lightfoot's song "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" to commemorate today, the 40th anniversary of its sinking:

Cutting that 40 years in half, here is about half of a card purchase of 1995 Cleveland Browns cards I picked up on Sportlots. We'll start with the quarterbacks:
I had a bunch of the parallels, but didn't have the regular Testaverde 1995 Collector's Edge card that is top left. I really like the plastic of the old Collector's Edge cards, it really helps them keep their corners. The castle shape of the Excalibur die cuts are nice. This shipment put the number of Vinny Testaverde cards higher than those of Bernie Kosar in my collection. To me, that really shows the card explosion of the mid 1990s.

Some Eric Zeier cards bringing my collection up to 59 different, with 5 being autographs. Although I had a few different Browns players phone cards, this is my first autographed one. The top right cards is a 1995 Pacific Triple Folders Crystalline insert. It is a clear plastic, and you can see some of the writing from the back coming through his white jersey.
Moving to running backs, I added more Leroy Hoard cards, although he still trails Eric Metcalf in my collection.

A couple of base cards there with the Playoff Absolute, and the Fleer Ultra. It shows there are still commons out there that are needed.
A few more running back cards, including one Metcalf to try to keep a bit of a cushion on Hoard:
It was nice to see Earnest Byner come back to finish his career in Cleveland. As for Lorenzo White, when I restarted my collection he was one of the players that I had forgotten was a Brown, but then again I've tried to forget much of that 1995 season. My bitterness has not quite gone away.
On to a few wide receivers:

I almost didn't include an Andre Rison card but figured it went with the Michael Jackson one. There were a couple more cards of each of them in the order.
On the defensive side of the ball I'll start with some Eric Turner cards:

I love the photo used in the SP Championship die cut card in the top right. The photographer's eyes must have lit up when he saw Turner wearing his helmet like that.
The top two cards below show two old Giants that Bill Belichick brought to Cleveland from New York. Most people won't remember them as Browns.

The three bottom cards are all former first round picks. I like seeing Steve Everitt cards, and would love to see more Offensive Lineman cards.
I also picked up a couple cards from this century, although none of the players are still with the team.
Okay, you can't expect Kosar to be there but picks from 2010 and 2011? Sigh.

Monday 2 November 2015

Weekend Disappointments

I'm not going to say that it was a depressing sports weekend, but I was disappointed with the results after it started so well.

On Friday I was telling my friends that while I wanted the Mets to sweep, my main hope was to just get the World Series back to Kansas City. Friday started well with the Mets win, but then my disappointments began.

Saturday morning I drove to my post office box in Ogdensburg. I was hoping that a bunch of Sportlots shipments would have arrived but only a few things were there waiting for me.

One package contained a card that I've been meaning to pick up for a while, but never remembered to buy:
1993 Playoff #125

A feature on The Trading Card Database is User Lists. I've created some Cleveland Browns lists for my collection, and for them I only want to show players in Browns uniforms on cards that I own. For my list of Cleveland Browns starting quarterbacks, I was missing Mike Tomczak, and shortly after creating that list another collector pointed out this card. I had missed it because in the set checklist it is marked as a Pittsburgh Steeler since it notes on the back that he had signed with them.

With this card, I also picked up the last 1992 Topps base card that I needed for my team set:

1992 Topps #605
I don't know how I didn't have it before, but discovered that it was missing when I finished my 1992 Topps Gold team set months ago and realized that I didn't have this base card.
Another interesting card that was waiting for me was an oddball:
2007 Donruss Pepsi National Convention Football #1
Brady Quinn, one of the many Browns quarterbacks that inhabited Browns fan Tony Timoteo's Halloween display.
Also waiting for me was a card from another inhabitant of the display:
2012 Panini Rookies & Stars #223

This is the fifth autograph in my collection of Brandon Weeden, who is currently the backup quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys.
Since I didn't have as many cards to play with as I hoped, and always enjoying the Topps Valor cards, I decided to stop at a local card store on the way home and pick up a box. I'll show the "hits" in a future post, but I'll show the Browns cards that I pulled out of the box now.
The very first card that I saw from the first pack that I opened was a Brown - I was hoping that it would be a good omen. 
2015 Topps Valor #74
Also in the box were: 
2015 Topps Valor #41
2015 Topps Valor #92
I wound up with three of the four Browns base cards, missing #27 Danny Shelton.
I never purchase a box expecting to get Browns hits, and very rarely do, but I hope to get cards that friends will be interested in, or that will be good trade bait to obtain Browns. Unfortunately to me, both autographs were Houston Texans, but as I said those will be in a later post.
Saturday night passed with the Mets, and my hometown NHL team Ottawa Senators both losing, and with a disappointing turnout of kids in costume stopping by for candy. I always like seeing the kids' costumes, but this year there I only saw about 4-5 little kids during the evening, along with about 20 older kids who didn't put very much effort into their costumes.
I used to love Halloween, and always make sure that I have lots of candy to pass out to pay the holiday forward. I didn't wear a costume, but I was wearing my 1986 Mets Gary Carter jersey, and would have rewarded any kid that commented about the Mets or World Series with large amounts of candy, but none did.
Sunday I woke up to reports that the Browns would be having a fire sale before tomorrow's trade deadline, and that Joe Thomas was one of the names being mentioned.
2007 Leaf Rookies & Stars - Rookie Crusade Green #9
Talking about it with friends yesterday, I said the only way I would be okay with them trading him is if I heard him say that he wanted out. If he did, I wouldn't blame him, but I always want to see a future Hall of Famer like that play his entire career with one team. As it turns out, he came out after the game and said that he wanted to stay in Cleveland. Good to hear!
As for the Browns game itself, well, they got turnovers, they were winning at the half, and then Josh McCown got rocked early in the third quarter. Since he was already playing hurt from the previous week, he wasn't in good shape. He was bent over after plays on many occasions. At that point, the team should have over-ruled his not wanting to come out and put in Johnny Manziel. I think, at that point, that a healthy Manziel would have been the best chance to win yesterday's game. And to make things even better the Browns have no time to rest as they play the Thursday game this week against the Bengals.

As for the end of the World Series last night, I want to congratulate the Kansas City Royals for the team that they have built, and the never quit attitude they have. I am thrilled with the season that the Mets had, and hope that they will work to fix some of the weaknesses that were exposed in the Finals. If you had told me that the Mets would appear in the wild card game, let alone the World Series, at the start of the year, I would have been ecstatic! Add in that I went to Citi Field for Game 3 of the Dodgers series, and what a year! I can't wait for it all to start up again!
Anyway, on to the Bengals on Thursday!
1985 Fleer Team Action #14