Sunday 31 December 2017

Secret Santa and a couple of related matters

As I posted before Christmas, I went to visit my mother in Arizona. Needless to say I wasn't too happy with having an over 80 degree shift in temperatures when I flew home on Friday. I should have stayed in the desert.

In any case, I left before my Secret Santa gift arrived and was just able to drive the hour to my US P.O. Box to pick it up. Before revealing my Secret Santa, a big shout out to Matt at the Bob Walk the Plank blog for arranging this endeavor again this year.

So with almost all the blogs being baseball related, and mine pretty much being a football one, and narrowed down to the Cleveland Browns at that, which sucker got stuck with me to act as Secret Santa for? Why it turned out to be one of the first bloggers that I had any contact with, and who actually convinced me to start this blog in the first place, Tony at the Off Hiatus Baseball Cards blog.

Tony obviously decided to take my mind off the current Browns (PLEASE, let them win their final game of the season!), and send me a few cards of two Cleveland Browns Hall of Fame Running Backs.
2003 Donruss Classics - Timeless Tributes #125 (#/150)
It was nice to get this Timeless Tributes parallel card of the great Jim Brown, especially since I don't own the base version.

A funny thing about this parallel set compared to today's sets? It was the only parallel set for 2003 Donruss Classics. Can you imagine only having one parallel to chase? How much easier to track that would be.

1968 Topps - Poster #2
It must have been a tough challenge to follow Jim Brown as the starting Running Back after his surprise retirement, but Leroy Kelly rose to the occasion with his own Hall of Fame career.

I'm always amazed to see these paper posters in such good shape after nearly fifty years. With card companies always reaching back to old ideas, have paper fold-out posters been included in any products recently? The last time I remember seeing them was in O-Pee-Chee baseball cards in the mid-80s.

1970 Kellogg's #31

Doesn't everyone love Kellogg's cards? Tony knows that I share his love of oddballs, so this card and the poster sure brought a smile.

In Tony's note with the cards he added information about Leroy Kelly's baseball tie-in, also mentioned in the personal info above, that he is the brother of outfielder Pat Kelly. That is a pretty talented family - a Hall of Fame running back, and a 15-year MLB player.

Tony, thanks for the cards, and since I'm so behind on posting, I hope you don't mind that I add a couple of other things to the end of this post. I can kind of relate them to you, and this post.


After messaging with Tony for a while, I volunteered to offer some foreign assistance in a war he was involved in. How nice it was to help add to the chaos and not have to worry about my own turf being bombarded. Of course this war was with Wes, who I short-changed a bit last week when I posted about a package that he sent me. Two more cards that he sent me were from the 2015 Topps High Tek set:
2015 Topps High Tek - Tidal Diffractor #65 (#/75)
Okay, I'm using the parallel names found at the Trading Card Database, but I have no idea how Topps came up with all of these names and concepts. Nevertheless, I do like the acetate cards from the set. The big surprise, though, was the next card he included.
2015 Topps High Tek - Red Orbit Diffractors #60 (#/5)
I'm sure I share my amazement with other bloggers, but it still shocks me when out of the blue you get sent a card with a short print run. I was shocked to see this rookie card of the Browns 2015 first round draft pick numbered out of five. And I can't believe that I forgot to add it to my post. Sorry about that Wes.


So, Tony sent me cards of two Browns Hall of Fame Running Backs, but I'm currently reading about their third Hall of Fame Running Back.
No, not Motley on the cover - it is Kenny Washington of the Rams
I was looking for something to have available to read on the plane to Arizona if I couldn't sleep so I popped into a local Chapter's book store and spotted this book discounted to CDN$8.00.

This book was released in September 2016, but I was not aware of it and although the book's spine may have been showing on the shelf, I didn't notice it during past visits. The old photo on the cover, however, did catch my eye, and upon closer look I realized the book was about both the Browns and the Rams and how they broke the color barrier of professional football, which I have discussed in the past.

I read about half the book on the way down to Phoenix, but didn't read any on the way back as I was able to nod on and off on the flight home. I've really been enjoying the book and should finish it in the next day or so. It's always good to learn more of the early history of the Browns.


To finish off this post, I want to offer best wishes to everyone for 2018!

And may 2017 end on a good note - a Browns win! (Whether or not it is against Steelers backups - I just want a win.) And if it doesn't end on that good note, I really can't wait for that calendar to turn the page.

Friday 22 December 2017

Favorite card of 2017

(Note: I had this prepared to post before I left for Arizona for Christmas. While just looking at my last post, I realized that I left out a scan that had an absolutely amazing card from Wes! Oops. Anyway, I'll post a follow-up when I return home after Christmas. Now to get to the new post.)

Since I'm posting again, I should make sure that I follow some of the blog trends and contests that are going on. With that, here is my contribution to P-town Tom's Favorite Card of 2017 contest.

Whether it is due to the disgust over the Browns winless season so far, following last year's great success, I really haven't picked up that many Browns cards this year, and that may have influenced my pick.
2017 Donruss - Press Proof Red #203
I guess I'm just living in the past but I love this card of a football legend, and to make the card even better I picked it up at a show with Night Owl. (Come to think of it, last year's favorite card was also found at a show with Night Owl too. Maybe the event helps make the cards better.)

I love the photo on this card - the mud on the uniform, and how you can see Jim Brown looking forward finding that hole to run through or an opposing player to run over!

A funny thing about this card is that I don't own the regular base card yet which is a little surprising because I've really enjoyed the Donruss cards this year. I think it says a lot about me that my two favorite sets put out this year are two of what would be considered the lower end sets: Donruss and Panini Classics. Now if Panini would just give me something similar to Topps Total I would be thrilled.

Thanks for running the contest P-town Tom. It is always fun seeing everyone's choices.

Thursday 21 December 2017

A Browns-hammer arrived in the mail

Like others have posted recently, I too have received a nice package of cards from one of the most generous bloggers out there, Wes of the Willinghammer Rising blog. He may not be posting now but he is still staying active with fellow bloggers.
2008 Upper Deck - Signature Shots #SS13
On September 13, 2003, as a member of the Baltimore Ravens, Jamal Lewis ran for a then NFL single game record 295 yards against the Cleveland Browns. Needless to say, I really didn't like the guy...and then he signed with the Browns after the 2006 season and rushed for consecutive 1000 yard seasons in 2006 and 2007. Believe it or not, my opinion changed. It was much better having him on my team than against it.
2010 Panini Absolute Memorabilia - Rookie Jersey Collection #27
Everyone hears about all the quarterbacks that the Browns have had since 1999. I know that I've mentioned it many times in the past, but in September when Joe Thomas was ready to reach his 10,000th consecutive snap from the start of his career, the NFL Network's Andrew Siciliano tweeted the following:

Oh, how familiar some of those names are to me.

Montario Hardesty had 153 carries for the Browns in 2011 and 2012.

Top Left: 2014 Panini Contenders - Rookie Ticket Swatch #RTS-14
Top Right: 2014 Topps Select - Rookie Jersey Prizm Red #RJ-JF (#/149)
Bottom Left: 2014 Panini Prizm - Panini Logo Prizm #103
Bottom Right: Panini Certified - Fabric of the Game #F-BM (#/99)
Some great cards from 2014. One retired Hall of Famer, and three players no longer with the team.

I love the photo on the Warfield card, and the old jersey, and old facemask on the helmet. Isn't it great when a company uses their own logo for a parallel? Or is that a sign that a company has too many parallels? I can understand the regular Prizm parallel, and appreciate a few colors, but there is the regular Prizm and 17 other Parallels to this set. However, I do need all the Browns I can get so I was happy to get this one.
L: 2015 Panini Contenders - Playoff Ticket #56 (#/199); R: Bowman - Die Cuts #BCDC-JM 
On to a couple of 2015 cards. Okay, Manziel was in the last batch, but this time he's joined by Travis Benjamin who's also no longer on the team. I miss having him on the team, with his speed he was a great deep threat and great on special teams.

Top (l-r): 2016 Donruss Optic - Blue #23 (#/149); 2016 Panini Select #283
Bottom: 2016 Panini Black Gold - Motherlode Triple Memorabilia ML4 (#/249)
Okay, two of these three from 2016 are still on the team.

It will be interesting to see what happens with Corey Coleman next year after playing two seasons with lots of injuries. Maybe he'll stay healthy and get less attention on the field if he's playing at the same time as Josh Gordon. He's young, hopefully his career will get on track.

With all of Deshone Kizer's troubles this year, I'm surprised that Cody Kessler didn't get another chance to start a game. To be honest, I don't expect him to be with the Browns next year. I think a quarterback will be drafted with their first pick, a veteran will be brought in and Kizer will be kept as a project. There are only so many roster spots available. Too bad he didn't really get another chance after being forced to start so many games last year as a rookie.

As you might also guess, the Black Gold Kessler card looks better in person.

Top (l-r): 2016 Panini Select - Tri-Color Prizm #186; Light Blue Die-Cut Prizm #186 (#/125)
Bottom: 2016 Panini Certified - Mirror Red #224 (#/249)
I was among many that expected big things from Ricardo Louis this year. On a team with a thin wide receiver corps, and that drafted many receivers in 2016, I was impressed by his rookie season and expected him to step forward with a big year. Sadly it hasn't happened, but I also think that Kizer's lack of accuracy has hurt all of this year's receivers.

Some great cards of Louis. I always enjoy getting a piece of the number on a patch. It is a nice card.

Wes, thank you for the great cards!

Tuesday 19 December 2017

Season of Giving from TCDB member herkojerko

Near the end of November, Trading Card Database member herkojerko started a Season of Giving thread in the forums. He offered to send cards from members' wantlists to the first five members to respond. I was lucky enough to see the message fairly quickly and today found some cards in the mail.
1994 Signature Rookies - Autographs #30

Antonio Langham was selected with the ninth pick of the 1st Round of the NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns. He started every game for the Browns for the two years he played in Cleveland before the team was moved to Baltimore, intercepting two passes in each of those seasons. He made the 1994 NFL All-Rookie Team.

He played two seasons in Baltimore before going to San Francisco for the 1998 season. After one season in San Francisco he returned to Cleveland for one season with the 1999 expansion Browns before playing his last NFL season with the Patriots in 2000.

It's pretty cool to get an autograph that I needed from 1994!

Also included were the following cards that tell part of a story.

As Night Owl will probably agree, Porky Pig wearing a Browns uniform makes these Browns cards. (Well, he's not in the middle card but I scanned it for the story.)

Should I make some sort of comment about having Porky be a Browns quarterback is fitting? No? This set came out while Bernie Kosar was the starting quarterback. I don't know if the Browns would have a win with Kosar at quarterback now, as he is 54, but obviously he couldn't have a worse record and his decision making in the red zone would be better.

Anyway, I'm sure most of you remember the various Comic Ball sets that Upper Deck put out in the 1990s. These cards are from 1992's Comic Ball IV set which was a football crossover. These are card numbers 38-42, and Porky doesn't appear in the rest of the "Run and Shout" story. (A Browns quarterback benched? No!)

If you want to see the rest of the story you can find it continuing in the set's gallery at the Trading Card Database.

A big thank you, and Merry Christmas to herkojerko!

Monday 18 December 2017

Cardboard History knows what I'm wishing for

I know, I know, it has been over half a year since I posted. A lot of things have happened in that time period, but one thing hasn't happened - a Browns win! Still waiting on that, and I guess I'll have to go to the same bar/restaurant that I went to in Phoenix last year to hope that Santa will bring me another Christmas win.

Last week, however, I popped down to my PO Box and found a small package from Billy at the Cardboard History blog. Having had him previously tell me that he was sending me the only two Browns cards that he managed to find, I was very curious as to what he sent me.
An awesome Christmas ornament!
"S'more wins"?!?!?!  Yeah, at the start of the season, I did. Now I just want ONE win!

And I really hope that the Browns win in Chicago next weekend because I'm sure the Steelers would be more than happy to put that final nail into a winless season in Week 17 if the Browns are 0-15 when they get there.

As for the two cards that Billy sent, here they are:
L: 1990 Pro Set #46; R: 2016 Donruss Optic #23

As much as some people might complain about Pro Set, wasn't it nice to see cards of Offensive Linemen? And I love the photo with the dirty uniform protecting Bernie Kosar behind him.

Mike Baab was drafted by Cleveland in the 5th Round of the 1982 NFL Draft. He played 11 seasons in the NFL and had two stints with the Browns, from 1982-87 and 1990-91.

Robert Griffin III had just one season with the Browns, starting five games for the Browns last year, and collecting their only win against the Chargers. There was a recent news article that said that he still hopes to play in the future, but that he had turned down opportunities with the Ravens and Cardinals this year. Hopefully he'll find somewhere to play next year that satisfies him.

Now for a bit of an update:

I want to apologize to anyone that sent me cards (or gave me cards in person - thanks Daniel, and Greg!) and I didn't post about them. I found that I was just piling up all the cards that I had acquired in the last year without actually putting them into my collection because I wanted to post about them. In late October I realized that I really needed to actually get my collection in order because I wasn't really sure if I had everything together. Part of that was due to the fact that my cards were split between work and home since my scanner at home wasn't working properly and I had started staying late and scanning what I needed at work. I have now organized everything and think that I found all the missing cards. (I just have to finish comparing my collection to what I have listed on the Trading Card Database.)

Scanning at work went well until my job suddenly came to an end. I had a couple of months notice, received a nice severance package and really enjoyed my summer, but wasn't fully sure where some of the cards I had packed up went.

To somewhat shorten a long story, I'm still not working even though I fully expected to be back to work by mid-October. I'm still waiting for some upcoming opportunities at my old job to present themselves but the timing isn't in my control. I hope it is soon.

Now, as to my summer, to make everybody not feel sorry for me, here is a list of most of the things that I did:
  • Over the Easter weekend, went to Cooperstown and two AA Binghamton Rumble Ponies games. (This was pre-unemployment, but after my boss had informed me that our jobs were coming to an end and I needed to just give myself a getaway.) I re-watched the Ken Burns baseball series before going to Cooperstown.
  • A three week trip to Arizona to visit my mother, where I met Daniel of It's like having my own Card Shop blog. I met him at a Diamondbacks game, and then he treated me to a second game a couple of days later. We also met up at a Phoenix store for National Baseball Card Day. It is great to meet other bloggers!
  • During the Arizona visit I also went to a WWE RAW event on July 3rd.
  • Drove to Canton, Ohio for a card show in July, and followed that up with a Straight No Chaser concert (with Postmodern Jukebox opening for them) in Cleveland that night. The next day I drove to Cincinnati to see a Reds matinee game.
  • The next day I flew to San Diego for Comic-Con, staying an extra day to watch my Mets defeat the Padres.
  • Sadly, shortly after getting home, I had to travel down to southern Ontario for a family funeral. The one positive about it was seeing my cousins and letting them know about the baseball games that I had attended. That had one of them ask me if I wanted to come down again during the Labor Day weekend and go see a Tigers game.
  • A little after returning home from the funeral, my mother asked me to come out to Arizona again for a week where I saw another Diamondbacks game and another Straight No Chaser concert (same tour with Postmodern Jukebox opening for them).
  • I came back from Arizona and then hit the road again for a game convention - GenCon - in Indianapolis.
  • For Labor Day weekend, I drove to the Muskokas to have lunch with an old colleague, and then continued on my way to stay overnight in London, Ontario with an old roommate. I left his house to drive to my cousin's house in Windsor, Ontario and then we crossed into Detroit to see the Indians early in their big winning streak. After staying with my cousin overnight, I drove to Burlington, Ontario the next day to enjoy a nice ribs barbeque with an old university friend. A good, tasty trip.
  • The following weekend, I drove to New York to see Aubrey Logan (a soloist with Postmodern Jukebox) sing on the Saturday night, and the depleted Mets lose badly on Sunday afternoon.
  • In early October I drove down to meet Night Owl to go to a card show in Syracuse. Did I mention it is great to meet other bloggers?
  • Later in October, a Titans fan friend of mine wanted to go see them play in Cleveland. How was I to resist having my arm twisted to go? We drove down to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on the Saturday, saw the Browns game on Sunday, and then went to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame before driving home on Monday. A lot of fun. Would have been better if the Browns didn't lose in overtime.
  • And finally, in November I went back to Detroit to see the Browns again, visiting again with my old roommate in London, Ontario.
Since then, my choir has performed nine concerts in just over two weeks, and finishes our concert season on Wednesday. I will be flying out to Arizona for Christmas on Thursday, staying there for a week. (Hey Corky, and Daniel, if you're reading, I'll be sending you emails...) I'm debating going to the Cactus Bowl while I'm out there - who knows, Josh Rosen may be the Browns QB pick next year.

I bought a new scanner during a Black Friday sale, and hope to post a few more times before I leave. Sorry for my blogging absence.

I'm going to leave you with a couple of Aubrey Logan videos from youtube. She has some amazing original music that you can look for, but I'm going to leave you with two familiar songs that she added her own style to.

U Can't Touch This:

California Dreamin' (feat. Casey Abrams):


Friday 12 May 2017

RIP: Former Browns WR Michael Jackson

I haven't posted in a long while, and have some news to share, but I don't want to go into it in this post.

I just read that that former Browns WR Michael Jackson died today in a motorcycle accident in Louisiana at the age of 48.

1992 Pro Set Power #101

I'll admit it, my friends and I laughed when we heard that the Browns had drafted Michael Jackson in 1991. We would have been among the countless numbers making the same jokes about his name.

In any case, as a Browns fan and card collector, I soon started collecting as many Michael Jackson cards (and a few Michael Dyson cards too for a short name change) as I could get. I have 142 different ones in my collection.

Looking at a gallery of his cards that I own on The Trading Card Database, and borrowing the images from that site, I am surprised at how many different action photos they used of him that I like. Not just on the front of the card, but on the back too as shown below.

back of 1992 Pro Set Power #101

After playing for the Southern Miss Golden Eagles in college, Jackson was drafted by the Browns in the 6th round of the 1991 NFL Draft.

1991 Wild Card Draft #10 - 20 Stripe

He spent the 1991 and 1992 seasons wearing the number 1, which makes him, as far as I can tell, the only Browns player to wear that number. He switched to number 81 for the rest of his career - 1993-1995 with the Browns, and 1996-1998 in Baltimore.

1991 Upper Deck #610

back of 1991 Upper Deck #610

Here are some of the action shots on cards that I love throughout his career.
1995 Crown Royale #119

1991 Pro Set Platinum #292
1993 Game Day #316
1993 Playoff #169
1993 Pro Set Power #101
back of 1993 Pro Set Power #101

1993 Wild Card - Field Force #CFF-98
1994 Pinnacle #140
1996 Collector's Choice #204

back of 1996 Collector's Choice #204
1996 Upper Deck #153 (looking familiar)

back of 1996 Upper Deck #153
1996 Stadium Club #81

Oddly enough, there are quite a few cards that show him throwing the football. This made me curious to see how many passes he threw with the Browns in his five years. The answer was four. He completed his first pass, was incomplete on the next two, and then the fourth was intercepted.

1992 Game Day #423
If he didn't throw on this play, he sure looked like he wanted to, or was going to.

1994 Bowman #182
1994 Finest #189
1994 Score #49
1994 Stadium Club #370 (same as Finest)
1995 Collector's Choice #309

Thanks to Pro Line I have a few autographed cards of Michael Jackson.

1995 Pro Line - Autographs

1996 Pro Line - Autographs Blue

1996 Pro Line - Autographs Gold

Finally, a last few cards to remember him by. Rest in Peace.

back of 1994 Upper Deck #246
1995 Score #175
1994 Action Packed #18