Friday 25 March 2016

Quick thoughts from the Philadelphia airport

First thing, a nice part of traveling is getting to eat at places you don't have at home. Mmm, Pinkberry...

Second thing, walked by a store in the airport called Rosters. It is a store devoted to all the Philadelphia sports teams, none of which I have ever liked. Frightening. (I have liked players on Philly sports teams before anyone brings up individual athletes and asks why I don't like them.)

And finally, my thoughts on the RGIII signing. Before free agency started I wasn't completely sold on either Wentz or Goff with the number two pick. I think they will both be good QBs but think that being a QB is artificially moving them up in the draft. If the Browns could trade down a couple of picks and get one of them, I would love it. But I know that isn't going to happen. A team trading up would probably want one of them.

All college season I liked Paxton Lynch but knew to draft him he would be a project at the beginning of his career. The Browns would need another starter as a bridge. RGIII could be great for that, and if he's successful then whatever prospect was drafted could be traded, provided they didn't need him especially since there hasn't been a recent season where the Browns haven't had to start three QBs due to injury.

An interesting thought occurred to me though... Would the Browns consider drafting Cardale Jones later in the draft as the prospect? With the free agency departures there are plenty of holes to fill. They need help on the O-line. Perhaps Jalen Ramsey if he is available at two, and then an O-lineman with their second pick?

If RGIII doesn't pan out they will have another high draft pick again next year, not that I like that idea but I think this rebuild has to be looked at in terms of more than one season. And I don't really want to see the QB drafted two running for their life behind a line that may not be that strong.

I hope this made some sense as my battery is nearly drained and I really can't review this.

Thursday 24 March 2016

Catching up on my Mets opening day project

As I finished up this post I heard about the RGIII signing. I'll have to comment on that and the rest of the Browns off-season at a later time. I had already started this post on baseball.

I ordered some Browns cards from a seller on Sportlots a little while ago and wanted to find some inexpensive cards to add to my shipment to make it a little more cost effective. I thought to myself that this would be a good time to look for some Mets cards to add to my Opening Day Starting Lineup Project.

Since it is my favorite position, I decided to look for some of the catcher cards that I needed.

(l-r) 1965 Topps #61; 1970 Topps #488; 1973 Topps #493

Each of these catchers only caught one opening day for the Mets.
The cards for Cannizzaro and Dyer match the years that they started.
J.C. Martin started in 1968. He has a Mets cards in 1968 and 1969 but this card is nicer so I decided to use it instead.
I also added some Jerry Grote cards.

Top (l-r): 1970 Topps #183; 1971 Topps #278; 1974 Topps #311
Bottom (l-r): 1975 Topps #158; 1976 Topps #143
Jerry Grote started nine season openers for the Mets, starting in 1966 after Cannizzaro, and through to 1976, except for the two years for J.C. Martin and Duff Dyer above.

I already had a 1973 OPC Jerry Grote card filling in for 1972, so I now have six of the nine Jerry Grote slots filled.

After his last start in 1976, he was succeeded as opening day catcher by John Stearns.

John Stearns started five season openers for the Mets, from 1977-1980, and then again in 1982.

I already had slots filled for the last two seasons so the three cards below fill out the John Stearns cards that I need.

Top (l-r): 1977 Topps #119; 1978 Topps #334; 1979 Topps #545
Bottom: 1990 Upper Deck #473
Barry Lyons had one opening day start for the Mets, in 1990, following Gary Carter's five years with the team. I ordered this card to fill into the collection even though I know I have a copy of it somewhere in a box will all the baseball cards I collected in the late 1980s/early 1990s.

And since I'm posting about catchers, I would be remiss if I didn't salute a former catcher and broadcaster that passed away yesterday.

1990 Pacific Legends #24

RIP, Joe Garagiola. Thanks for making baseball broadcasts more enjoyable.

I'll be leaving tomorrow morning for Arizona. (Hopefully I get there with all the ice coming down here now.) I have one trade post all ready to go and will post that at some point. Hopefully I'll manage to post more than that while I'm gone.

Wednesday 23 March 2016

Wallet Card Wednesday - 11

Okay, this week's wallet card post isn't the greatest...

The first photo that I wanted to have was my wallet card enjoying St. Patrick's Day last week, but it turned into a bust for me when the manager of my curling club asked me if I would go in there at night to see if the bartender was being overwhelmed and needed any help. And if she did, to jump in and help her.

I am the club's emergency backup bartender, so that is what I am still around to do, but as it turned out she had it well in control and the rush of heavy drinkers we thought might occur didn't. I had fun talking with the bartender and keeping her company for a couple of hours, but I didn't go out and enjoy some Guinness and sing songs like I planned. And no wallet card celebrating...instead I will celebrate St. Patrick Day's by posting a picture of a purchase from a St. Patrick's Day game two years ago:

Different sport, right city
I've been complaining about the weather, and was so happy last week to see Spring showing up. Well, last night, after trivia, I went out to my car and it was covered with a bunch of wet snow that was still falling.

I cursed, and then figured that I would pull out my wallet card and take a picture. I didn't look at it until today...

Crap! A lousy photo. You'd think that with digital photos I would have looked at it first but I wanted to get out of the snow and get home, and just looked at it when I was getting this post ready. Oops.

The card is covering the back left tail light of my car, and you can see a little bit of snow above it, but it doesn't show the rest of what I wanted to complain about. Oh, well.

Anyway, on Friday morning I will be driving to Albany, NY in order to fly to Phoenix under the pretense of seeing my mother over Easter. I *should* get sun and warmth there!

Really, I am planning on attending a few different sports related events in the Phoenix area - I want to go to the Celtics/Suns game on Saturday night, at least one Cactus League game (probably to see Tony's Brewers because I like the Maryvale park), and want to go to the art gallery since I heard there was a baseball card display going on there. I'll be sure to post some of what I'm doing here.

Looking around the office for something interesting to photograph, I found something my boss brought back after attending a meeting or reception a couple of weeks back.

I used to love the Pink Panther cartoons so I gladly took the stuffed Pink Panther that she brought me. Do kids today even know the Pink Panther? And how many of you are humming Henry Mancini's Pink Panther theme right now?

Here, I'll help:

That's it for this week. I hope that next week's wallet card photos will be a bit more exciting.

Tuesday 22 March 2016

Trade from the Clubhouse

I received a nice little envelope from Adam at the Cardboard Clubhouse which contained some Browns cards! Just what I wanted. How did he know? 

First off was some vintage:
To all those people that say that they don't like the 1980 Topps cards with no helmet logos, I don't know what you're talking about. These helmets are perfect!

He also included a card of one of my favorite players, with a horrible reminder on it that he was no longer a Brown.

With Eric Metcalf and Clay Matthews both going on to play for the Falcons, I definitely developed a soft spot for them. I figured I would show the back of this card since it had his career Browns stats. Sadly it only talks about his returns, and doesn't show the stats.

In the first NFL game that I attended, on October 23, 1994 in Cleveland, Eric Metcalf returned a punt 73 yards for a touchdown against Adam's Bengals. Also in that game, Jeff Blake threw his first two passes as a Bengal. When he came into the game we were grabbing programs trying to figure out who he was. He was the third QB to play for the Bengals that day.

Adam also sent me a few cards from last season:

Of course the top two players are no longer with the team, but I'm hoping for a lot from the bottom two players. Ifo Ekpre-Olomu was drafted knowing that he would be unlikely to play for them last season after injuring his ACL and dislocating his knee in December 2014. With his talent, he was definitely worth taking a shot on with a 7th round pick. Last month he said he was getting close to 100% healthy. It would be a great bonus to Browns fans if were to come in and play at his pre-injury level.

And one other great thing about those bottom two cards? I needed them for my collection. Woo hoo!

Thanks, Adam!

Sunday 20 March 2016

Starting Lineup figures

One thing about being in Canada is that we don't get all the toys that collectors find in the United States.

In the early 1990s, I had heard about Kenner's Starting Lineup figures, but I don't remember ever seeing any NFL ones in stores around me. I think that I had seen a few baseball and football Starting Lineup figures at card shows, but never saw a Cleveland Brown to buy.

Looking online, I found the Starting Lineup Figures website and spent some time looking around. Going through the football sets listed, there are 21 Cleveland Browns figures. I currently own 7 of them, all being the most recent, and am sure it will be tough to track down the rest. I'll consider it a very long-term goal, especially seeing the eBay values on some of the older figures.

I'll list them here, and show the figures that I own.

1988 (Kenner)

Brian Brennan
Bob Golic
Bernie Kosar
Kevin Mack
Ozzie Newsome

1989 (Kenner)

Bernie Kosar
Kevin Mack
Hanford Dixon
Frank Minnifield
Webster Slaughter

1990 (Kenner)

Bernie Kosar - Brown jersey
Bernie Kosar - White jersey
Webster Slaughter
Eric Metcalf
Felix Wright

1994 (Kenner)

Eric Metcalf

1995 (Kenner)

Michael Dean Perry

1999 (Hasbro)

Tim Couch

2000 (Hasbro)

Tim Couch
Tim Couch - Ames exclusive
Ozzie Newsome

Of course, as you can see in each of the packages, the figures come with cards.

According to the Trading Card Database, the 1989 set included a card for Earnest Byner that didn't come with a figure.

The 1990 Starting Lineup figures came with two cards for each figure - one a "rookie card" of the player, the other a regular card.

I own the following loose cards, but don't own any loose figures.

1988 Ozzie Newsome

1989 Bernie Kosar

1994 Eric Metcalf

1995 Michael Dean Perry

1999 Tim Couch

Saturday 19 March 2016

A thank you missing bubblegum

There are many things to thank Jeff from Wish They Still Came With Bubblegum for, including all the comments he leaves on my posts. But this thank you is for an envelope of cards he sent me, most of which reminded me of better times.

We'll start with the feature card of the package:
2014 Panini Prestige Rookie Autographs #290
To me the most interesting part of this card is the signature. I've got plenty of signed Terrance West cards, and most are like yesterday's with a T with a line following it, and then a W with a line following it. This card actually has a squiggle for "errance" and I can see where it might say "West".

You know, I wonder if card companies should almost say to rookies that if things don't work out, this might be how collectors will get to know you. Do you really want your signature to fans to always just be an initial or lines?

Now, I know that I'm a hypocrite since my signature is horrible, but I'd like to think that if I was in a place where people might actually want my autograph that I would actually develop an autograph.

Anyway, although I had the other cards in his package, they were pre-move cards that brought back fond memories.

Here is a sampling of the cards that he provided:

Brian Brennan wasn't very big or fast, but had great hands. He is almost what you'd think of as a possession receiver now except you often think of bigger receivers in that role. I am waiting on a nice Brennan card to arrive for a future post.

I like subsets from the 1990s so much more than insert sets now. The Hot Gun Kosar is nice, but it isn't something you would want to see as part of an insert set in your pack.

I've seen that Jeff has sent out Stars n Stripes to a bunch of people. I liked that you got candy when you bought them, and Clay Matthews is one of my favorites to ever play the game.

Why is Pio Sagapolutele's card in there, other than the fact that it is a great photo? The name! It took me a while to get it down pat, but then seeing the card brought it back right away.

Michael Dean Perry was an awesome defensive lineman that got so much less press than his brother William. I guess being on Super Bowl winner and what many would argue is the best defense ever helps "The Fridge" a lot.

I love the Michael Jackson card - a wide receiver throwing!

The late Eric Turner was a great safety that I loved watching play.

Vinny Testaverde played 21 years in the league for 7 different teams, and threw at least one touchdown pass in each of his 21 seasons, a NFL record.

And Antonio Langham, a Brown pre-move, and post-expansion.

Thanks, Jeff!

I've got a bunch of stuff put aside for you. Hopefully I'll get it in the mail soon. (I keep saying that to people. I really need to organize more.)

Friday 18 March 2016

A few recent eBay purchases

I'm sure that to help spread out shipping costs, most of you will do the same thing that I do when you see a card you like - look to see if the seller has any other cards you can get shipped together.
Top: 1962 Post Cereal #75 Paul Wiggin
Bottom: 2008 Sage Hit Make Ready Cyan #57 Brady Quinn / John Carlson
As it turns out these two cards were being sold by a seller that had an Eric Metcalf Starting Lineup figure that I wanted to buy, and I wasn't going to leave these cards in that seller's possession when they had a place in my collection.

The Post Cereal card is a Short Print, and brings me up to having 11 of the 15 Browns from the set. I'm slowly getting there but need Jim Brown, Bobby Mitchell and two more Short Prints (Galen Fiss and Sam Baker) to finish the set. Hopefully some day.

As a Notre Dame fan, I love the Brady Quinn and John Carlson card. I don't have the base version of it, so I'll have to track it down at some point now that I know it exists.

Okay, for the next part, no judging. I'm a Browns fan and want all the Browns cards I can get.

When I saw this card with a BIN for $50, I thought for a few minutes before pulling the trigger.
You might not fully see it in the bottom left - 3/3
Although his Browns career wasn't successful, he's still a Heisman winner, and has his notoriety. I don't think the value of a card like this will plummet and make me regret buying it. And you have to give him credit for having quite the signature.

What helped the decision to buy that card was to get the following cards at under $2.00 each and have the combined shipping not increase.

Again, let's look at the autographs. Isn't Connor Shaw's so much nicer than Terrance West's and Vince Mayle's? Mayle's seems to get smaller and smaller on the different cards that I get.

I have to research to find out what the bottom Manziel card is. Does anyone know, is it be a box topper of some type?

And lastly, a few exciting parallels from 2015 Topps that I needed to fill my collection!

Say what you want about his short stay in Cleveland, and about the fact that it is an airbrushed Browns uniform, I do like that photo on the Dwayne Bowe card.

Wednesday 16 March 2016

Wallet Card Wednesday - 10

I've been watching a lot of other bloggers posting about beer recently, and as much as I enjoy beer and expect to have a Guinness or two tomorrow, I thought that I would post a different picture with my wallet card.

These are just a few bottles that were sitting outside of my liquor cabinet. I probably have another four or five bottles in the cabinet at various stages of consumption. The unopened bottles are just waiting for an occasion to open them, or some time when I feel like opening one.

The 18 year old Glenlivet is one of my favorites, and one that a couple of my friends that don't really like scotch actually like. This is just my latest bottle to enjoy.

The Cardhu was a gift from a friend. It has been years since I've had Cardhu but I always enjoyed it many years ago before the distillery stopped producing it as a single malt for a while.

After talking with an uncle I found out that Glen Ord used to be our family scotch. I guess the first distillers were MacLennans working for the MacKenzies of Ord. I used to buy bottles of it (and had a few regular hangouts buy it for their bar) but eventually the distiller stopped selling it in bottles and started using it in blended scotches. A friend found that James MacArthur selection of Glen Ord for me a couple of years ago. It is being saved for a good occasion.

The bottle of Drumguish was brought back for me by a friend visiting the Maritimes where he said it was pretty inexpensive. I hadn't tried it before and was happy to give it a try.

From drink to food
Nate's Deli has been around Ottawa since 1959. This location just opened a year or so ago, and is right behind the building that I work in. Very dangerous having such good smoked meat that close by. So tasty.

And on to music
Yesterday at lunch I went into a nearby store and "Stray Cat Strut" was playing. The young cashier was singing along and I made sure to make a comment to her about the great music. She laughed and said that she loved the Stray Cats. I asked her if she had heard the Brian Setzer Orchestra version of "Rock This Town". She hadn't. So last night I dug out this CD to listen to it, and then brought it to her store to lend it to her today. It had been a while since I had listened to the CD, and I forgot how much I enjoyed it. I foresee that it will spend a while in the car being played after I get it back.

Tuesday 15 March 2016

Will the third time still be a charm?

Continuing on from yesterday's post I am going to show some of the cards that I needed from a third 400+ lot of Browns cards that I ordered from the same seller. One thing that I didn't mention, though, was that this lot said that it included four jersey cards in it, and had a photo of them. So while bidding on the auction I knew that I needed two of them for sure.

I won the auction for $4.50, and shipping for this order was $9.00. Again, knowing my luck with the two previous lots, and figuring that the seller must be running out of unique cards to send, I didn't really set the bar high - I would be satisfied if I could add at least 25 new cards to my collection.

Let's start with the two jersey cards that I knew that I needed.

l - 2002 Leaf Certified #108 Andre Davis 684/800
r - 2002 Pacific Private Stock Titanium Post Season Edition #86 Tim Couch 313/435
I'm a bit of a hypocrite. I complain about how many memorabilia cards are out there, but I'm always happy when I add another Browns one. I don't really care whether the jersey is "event-used" or "game worn" as the two cards above, I just like seeing that little piece of fabric there. I'm such a sucker. And in a way I would rather the jersey that was cut up was just used for an event, a practice, or made for the occasion as opposed to actually destroying one that was worn in a game.

Each of the lots had a small amount of pre-move Cleveland Browns. This lot had one that I needed, a nice gold parallel of a card of which I already owned the regular version.
1993 Power Moves Update Moves Gold #PMUD3
It is funny that Vinny Testaverde was Bernie Kosar's college backup in Miami, and then was signed as his backup and replaced him in Cleveland, and that he was 12 days older than Kosar.

Of course I'm not going to get 1999 expansion Browns cards without getting some Tim Couch and Kevin Johnson cards that I need.

The Collector's Edge Odyssey card on the right is a base card that I needed
3-2 in 1999 cards shown, but I picked up more needed Couch cards than Johnson ones in the lot
I was happy to get the base cards below from the 1999 Upper Deck Victory set. They bring me down to only needing three more base cards from that set.

I love seeing the helmet on the checklist card
From what I remember when I sorted this lot, the largest piles were from 2000 and 2004. I needed 13 cards from 2000. Add that to the cards shown above, and you can see that I made it over the 25 cards I wanted from the lot.

I love Ozzie Newsome as a player. It really hurt to see him wearing his Ravens golf shirt in the "A Football Life: 1995 Browns" episode. Yes, I know he needed to be interviewed, but he could have worn a neutral shirt. Just an extra way after the fact jab to this Browns fan. Watching that episode hurt, and just thinking about the move still causes me to get angry. I'm not over it.

I like getting the various Metal cards, but don't think that I would want to see them brought back as an actual set.

Not living or going to school in the US, I don't have a natural college team to support. As a kid I started cheering for different colleges in the different sports. This being March, I will be cheering for the Arizona Wildcats who I've been cheering for since Kenny Lofton played with Sean Elliott and Steve Kerr in the late 1980s. Arizona isn't my favorite college football team, but I still find myself somewhat following them (sort of like I can't help but read Indians and Cavs articles/headlines on Cleveland sites) so it is nice to see the Dennis Northcutt card in his Arizona uniform.

Most of the cards that I needed from 2000 were from the Skybox Dominion set. I just showed these three because I liked the players and photos.

Obviously there are insert and base cards among the cards that I needed, but some of them were numbered.

Okay, the Gerard Warren is just a regular un-numbered base card
With the Quincy Morgan cards, the 2001 Sage Hit is an Emerald Die-Cut parallel #/299. The 2002 Fleer Tradition is a Tiffany parallel #/225. The 2003 Fleer Authentix is a Balcony parallel #/250.

The 2003 Fleer Showcase Tim Couch is a Legacy parallel #/125.

There were also a couple of numbered Leaf Limited cards (from 2005 and 2006) in the lot.

A sampling of the 2004 cards I needed
In a common theme, I was hopeful when the Browns signed Jeff Garcia. I liked watching him in the CFL and was happy with his success in San Francisco. As much of an optimist that I am, I'm having a hard time seeing the positives this off-season, although I'm still going to try to wait and see how the front office does over time before I go off on a rant.

I really like the 2004 Fleer Tradition cards and still have many of the parallels to hunt down. I was happy to see this blue Winslow card.

Although the card design for the Platinum Youth Movement card doesn't fully fit the retro feel, the picture does of the player in a stance in front of empty stands.

Above I wrote about being an Arizona fan in college basketball. In football it has always been Notre Dame since I was a kid. It is one of the few teams that I cheered for that was the same as who my father cheered for. It might have something to do with growing up Catholic. Anyway, being a fan, I was happy when the Browns drafted Brady Quinn.

I don't want to re-use a Brady Bunch reference from yesterday, do I?
All in all, I needed 54 cards from this lot, which means the post-shipping cost works out to $0.25/card. I'm happy with that. Now, do I quite while I'm ahead if this seller lists another lot? Surely he can't keep coming up with so many cards that I need.

Anyway, trying someone else, I just bought a 300 card lot from a guy on eBay today. Eventually they won't work out, but until then I'm happy to fill holes with the cards they provide, and I'm getting all these cards for under the cost of a blaster.

Monday 14 March 2016

Going back to the well

In January, I wrote about winning an auction of 400+ Browns cards at a very cheap price that proved to have a lot of cards (about 120) that I needed. Since then, over the last couple of months, the same seller listed two more lots of 400+ Browns cards.

After the success of the first lot, I figured that I would try and win the second one. Better for the seller, but not as good for me, the second lot ran up to $4.50 (plus $8.00 shipping) - a bit of an increase over the $0.25 that I won the previous lot for. Once again, I set expectations fairly low figuring that I might see a lot of doubles from the previous lot in this lot but thinking that even if I didn't get very many cards that I needed, that the orders would average out nicely. I set my hopes low, hoping to get at least 25 cards that I needed, which would be  $0.50 per needed card - a ratio that I could live with, especially after the last lot.

Well, once again, the lot proved more than worthy of the bid, it had just over 80 cards that I needed. I'll pick out some through the years, cutting my new acquisitions almost in half.

Some 1999 inserts
In the middle of the Kevin Johnson card, the stamp is "Gold Ingot". The Sparklers Tim Couch card looks better in person, and the Score Scoring Core insert has a little damage on the bottom and some spotting on the front but I still needed it so I'm happy to have it.

With this lot, I added around a dozen Tim Couch cards that I needed. He is the player that I own the most different cards of, and I keep getting more. The sad thing is that I still need so many more of his cards.

A few 2000 Courtney Brown and Tim Couch cards
Lots like this provide me with a lot of the college issue cards. They are cards that I don't always look for on my own. And you know what? I like die-cut cards.

More Tim Couch inserts. I like the Skybox Superlatives insert and how it models itself after a comic book cover.

WRs up top, Travis Prentice on bottom
I gained a few more Kevin Johnson cards (#2 in my collection), but not enough to keep pace with the Tim Couch cards in the collection.

Gerard Warren from 2001, others from 2002
Again, more college cards, including an insert of William Green.

I like the retro style cards that Fleer put out
The Fleer Tiffany card is #/225. It was a nice bonus to find parallel cards like that inside the lot.

Top from 2003, middle and bottom from 2004
I love the photo on the Andre Davis card in the middle.

I don't know if there are many Tim Couch cards that reflect him signing with the Packers. It was nice to get this card.

The Upper Deck Power Up is a little freaky.

New blood and a HOFer
There were actually a few different Charlie Frye cards in his Akron Zips uniform. I chose to show this insert.

And I'm never upset to add new Jim Brown cards to my collection.

A nice rookie card of D'Qwell Jackson. And I liked this version of the Gold Medallion Ultra cards. The players really stand out from the background. Antonio Bryant is listed with the 49ers.

A Brady bunch!
Again, a sampling of Brady Quinn cards that I needed. I think there were four other college cards that I didn't show, three more of them being part of the Aspire 5 Star insert set.

I was very surprised to see that I needed that Joe Thomas rookie card. I really don't know what to think of the Browns approach to free agency this year, but if the team is completely starting over from scratch, as much as I would hate to see the guy in a different uniform, maybe it would be best to trade Thomas to a team where he'll have a chance to win. I hope the team lets him make the decision if he wants to leave though.

The bottom two cards are both numbered, with the Edwards being #/250 and the Anderson #/75.

As you might have guessed, I was pretty pleased with this lot, filling in some holes from 1999-2008. It was enough that I was willing to push my luck again on the next Browns lot that the seller listed. That auction also ended at $4.50. Did my luck run out? We'll find out next post.