Friday, March 28, 2014

Friday Night Fun

The triumvirate that is the suite of services I pay a ton of money to a certain cable provider for were all non-functional last night, so I used that as an excuse to skip out on Airbrushed Fridays this week. Instead, enjoy some wacky Photoshop work via The Classical.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

March Radness Update

And some tall basketball players to boot!

We're through the first week of the NCAA tourney with action set to resume tomorrow. As has been the norm in recent years, there were many upsets and many busted brackets. My strategy of doing even less research than normal (which isn't much) has resulted in me doing even more poorly than usual, which I should have seen coming. Here are some other notable notes:

  • The legendary P00PSH00TER 2 is the overall leader, because of course! I have no actual idea who this is, though. It also begs the question - was P00PSH00TER already taken as a bracket name?
  • The Raz Card Blog and Roxfan17 have the highest overall PPR. I'm not exactly sure what PPR means, but I am guessing that it's the equivalent to Yahoo's total possible points. People that have the highest total possible points are usually sitting in better shape than the actual leaders, since you can really ruin your future score by overreaching (or under...) on a pick.
  • In Worst Place, and with pretty much no hope at this point, I'm sorry to say is Tribecards. As promised, this year's worst place "winner" is going to get something truly terrible. You guys may as well start emailing me with your list of things David really doesn't like. (Michigan Wolverines, maybe?)

Because this is a card blog and there must be cards to look at, here's another look at some cards that Howard has sent me. This is basically Part 2 of my last post.

Howard hit up the very beginning of my Portland Trail Blazers want list, by sending most of the Topps team set from their inaugural season. These cards are in tremendous shape for being nearly 45 years old! None of the players are depicted in actual Blazers uniform as they were just getting the franchise up and running at the time. Rick Adelman would play for a spell for Portland and would later become the head coach during one of the franchise's most successful runs, with two NBA Finals appearances and a franchise best 63-win season among his accomplishments.

Pat Riley?! This is actually one of the most expensive cards of the group, if not the most expensive. My knowledge of early hoops cards is pretty lacking, but I know this one commands some bucks. Riley never actually played for Portland, having been selected in the expansion draft from the then-San Diego Rockets before being sold to the Lakers before Portland's first season of play began. This wasn't as big as the team's whiff on Moses Malone, who they grabbed in the ABA merger before instantly trading him off. (They might have had some other whiffs, but I'm not going to talk about those.) The back of Riley's card, incidentally, claims his home as Portland which seems unlikely.

Schlueter is the only player in the '70-'71 tallboy lot that I have actually seen play in person... sort of. In the '80s and '90s he was a part of a locally traveling Blazers alumni team and I know I got to see him play in a high school gym or two against some faculty. My scanner ate part of his card's border.

The card backs are delightfully adorned with the old timey Topps cartoons that we all know and love.

The tallboy format (is that what we're calling it?) has been resurrected time and time again, and Howard sent me a few similarly sized cards from a couple of decades later.

I don't think I ever owned any NBA Jam Session cards until now, but I am happy to have them. I remember buying a couple of packs of NFL Game Day that came in the same size and then instantly being frustrated that I didn't have any appropriate Ultra Pro sheets for them to occupy.

Thanks again to Howard!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Eagles Cards from a Cardinals Fan

Yeah, I know. Not a football blog.

Reader John H has claimed some Cardinals cards that I had to get rid of (still have a lot of those!) in the past, and he kindly responded recently with some Philadelphia Eagles cards. While I am interested in your excess Eagles on occasion, I am going to try not to focus on it too heavily here. Still, since I haven't had much of a chance to post about stuff John has sent, I thought I'd show a few here tonight.

First off, Casey Matthews' card presents a bit of a conundrum. Matthews, the younger sibling of Clay Jr. (and son to Clay Sr., of course), is a Duck first and foremost. He goes into my Ducks binder. My Eagles cards don't even have so much as a binder, just so you know where my priorities lie.

Randall is my favorite NFL player of all-time. This is a great card. I'm not sure if it's a parallel or just Bowman (Topps) trying to be fancy, 1993 style. Cunningham got me into the NFL game by way of his dual threat game. I wasn't terribly interested in the three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust style of the game and still am not. Are you surprised that I'm a Ducks fan?

I still maintain that Donovan McNabb was a great quarterback. He never had a single season as impressive as, say, Dan Marino, but his career more than holds up.

Here's a classic card from the first and only valuable Score issue in any single sport. I think?

Friday, March 21, 2014

Airbrushed Fridays: 2014 Topps Stickers #119

Baseball starts this weekend! Sort of!

Who is he? Robinson Cano is no stranger to anyone that follows baseball. He's been the game's top offensive second baseman in the past decade and is fresh off his fourth consecutive All-Star Game appearance. He possesses rare power for a middle infielder and was a key cog in the Yankees 2009 World Series win.

How did he get here? Cano did the unthinkable and took a major free agent payday from the usually luckless Seattle Mariners just months ago. There are a lot of skeptics making their skeptical sounds about the signing, considering what Cano does to the team's payroll and perceived ability to spend money on other resources. I think Cano will do just fine in the usually hitter-hating Safeco Park, but what do I know?

Repeat offender? No

Other versions of this card: None

Airbrushed Score: 10

Comments: This is probably the worst Photoshopping I've seen on a Topps product produced in the years that I've run this blog. It's bad. The Mariners sleeve logo is all stretched out and I don't even know what's going on with the cap. It's fortunate for Topps that stickers are smaller than normal cards and that much of  the front of Cano's jersey is hidden by his arms, because this could have been even worse.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Mo' Po-lice

These are real teachable moments.

Reader Ray claimed a bunch of cards from my Cardinalpalooza extravaganza and was kind enough to send me another huge pile of regionally issued oddball cards. The police cards are back! I posted at length about (and lulled everyone to sleep) some of these team sets that I had acquired early last fall. Ray helped fill in a bunch more blanks, and I thought I'd show off some of the "new to me" designs.

This was the lone 1996 card in the package. I'm in favor of the batting bird logo, but there isn't much to like about the rest of this design.

Kansas City Life (that's who sponsored these fun pieces of ephemera) decided to go with a very '90s baseball card trope when they replicated a bunch of faded Jim Edmonds clones for the backdrop of this busy 2002 design. Still, it's a new Edmonds card for me!

It would have been cooler if they had simply put Y2K on the front. Though that would've been more topical in 1999 I suppose.

Oh, the fonts! They burn my eyes! So much so that I can't even make fun of the very 1990 color scheme used in 1998.

This isn't too far off the mark as it looks like one of those early '00s trading card game sets. Who the heck was Larry Sutton, though?

Scarsone is someone I've actually heard of, but I'm not really sure why. Certainly this is my first Cardinals card of his. This is the 1997 design. It's a little more official looking than some, though the player name font is straight out of some sort of '80s computer game manual.

Dude, that's like his biorhythm on his card. Totally.

The cartoons on the back and the various do's and don'ts (mostly don'ts, to be honest) are just more of the same. There were a few more pieces of advice that the police had to dole out than I had seen last time, including this very specific message for kids who hang out in antique stores, apparently.

Finally, Ray was one of the first two hit up my 10 Most Wanted list. I discovered that I was missing this technically-a-Cardinal-card Kip Wells wonder from 2007 Upper Deck recently when I noticed that I had a First Edition version in my binder. Whoops! I'm sure I'll discover more cards missing from my theoretical team sets in the coming weeks and months as I attempt to get more organized, but I guess that's all just part of the fun.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Contest: Time to Make Your Picks!

And there's still time to enter!

Don't sleep on this year's March Radness contest. We're up to 28 participants, still short of last year, but it's an impressive number nonetheless. Will the Shockers go all the way? Will the Pac-12 manage to not embarrass itself? And what of the North Carolina teams... oh, who cares? Enter and win, maybe! If we top last year's number of entries, I'll add more prizes.

Tons o' Fun

Another massive pile of cards from... I bet you can guess.

Before I start, here's one more reminder that I'm holding my 6th annual March Radness contest. You have to join (evil) forces with ESPN to enter, but they've proven themselves to be less obnoxious than those fiends at Yahoo this year. Presently, I have 25 entrants that have signed up, but there's still a few days left before the games start and the contest closes.

Howard has struck again with another large package of goodies. I put the call out recently for Philadelphia Eagles cards, and he responded in kind with a bunch of players from somewhat recent years. I only briefly collected football cards before regaining my sanity back in the early '90s, mostly because they were extremely cheap, so the bulk of my Eagles collection is printed on thin Pro Set stock.

Brian Westbrook was a jack-of-all-trades, an under appreciated back in a very efficient Donovan McNabb-led offense. They're best known for making a Super Bowl appearance against the Patriots where McNabb sort of choked (it's debatable). They threw to their tight ends a lot, which reminded me of the pre-Chip Kelly era Ducks. I really became a fan, though, back in Tecmo Super Bowl's heyday when Randall Cunningham was running and gunning at will.

LeSean McCoy is the real star of the current team and arguably the best all around back in the game. Shady's rookie card can apparently be had for less than a buck on the open market, which is kind of sad. I don't understand football cards at all so I'm not going to try to figure this out.

I really liked McNabb, but he did seem stubborn and I can at least listen to his detractors to a point.

There were Cardinals cards a plenty in this package, and they included a bunch of cards from an early Topps Opening Day effort. How long has Topps Opening Day been around? I know that they skipped a year (2009) but don't know when it actually started.

Speaking of early, here's an early Matt Holliday card! Yes, he used to be a third baseman if you can believe that.

A bunch of cards in the package were from the 1975 SSPC set. I don't see too many of these and they were mostly in fantastic condition.

It's been awhile since I've posted a Darryl Kile card. I need to work on getting my Kile collection accounted for.

Lance Lynn has been having a great spring so far. Once again, he's proving himself to be a very key member of the Cardinals rotation despite some of his detractors.

This is a weird insert design that I haven't seen before. I really don't understand the capitalization.

This is from the inaugural SP set, which was home to history's greatest Derek Jeter rookie card, apparently. This stuff (and Flair) was way out of my price range when it came out, and I had already begun scaling back from collecting by 1993.

This scan is really funny.

Howard joined the halls of the immortals when he sent me this card from my 10 Most Wanted list. It's sad that I actually needed 3 of these, but I believe I am set now. If you have some free time, please consider checking out the want list. I tried to keep it affordable.

Cloyd Boyer has a better known relative in longtime Yankee Clete, but Topps was likely looking for someone available to sign that appeared in the '52 Topps set when they were putting together 2011 Topps Lineage. In any case, I am more than happy to have a certified autograph from a '50s Cardinal player. This is great!

Topps Lineage was the spiritual predecessor to the current Topps Archives reboot. I was lucky enough to receive another autograph, this time of the current Cardinals TV broadcaster who appeared in 2013 Archives.

And there was one more auto... Josh Pearce? Pearce seems to have been one of those players who merely existed to sign baseball cards as I am pretty sure I have a couple more of his autographs somewhere in my collection. I like the die cut idea, but I am not so keen on the metal sticker business.

Thanks again to Howard! I should mention that this package also contained a bunch of Blazers cards of a specific size and shape, but I am going to hold those out for another day.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Contest Reminder!

You can make your picks as soon as tonight when the brackets are finally set.

Read all about this year's March Radness contest here.

Sign up here!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Airbrushed Fridays: 2012 Topps Opening Day #135

We are getting so close to baseball season again. So close!

Who is he? Josh Reddick is an outfielder who has become more known for his beard than his actual play on field. This isn't usually a good sign for a player's usefulness. Reddick put together a very impressive 2012 season after a solid rookie campaign, but he ran into trouble last year due to a wrist injury among other things.

How did he get here? Oakland's Billy Beane pulled off another classic reliever-for-position player trade, sending Andrew Bailey to Boston to acquire Reddick. Bailey was stellar in his first two seasons with Oakland but has had a rough go of it with Boston so far.

Repeat offender? No

Other versions of this card: 2012 Topps #158 (completely different photo); Pre-Photoshopped Photo

Airbrushed Score: 10

Comments: I finally found a source image! Compare them side-by-side if you're feeling up to it.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

March Radness: Let's Try This Again

You know you're gonna fill out a bracket. May as well do it for a chance to win some free cards!

Yahoo decided to be incredibly lame and is requiring all entrants to valid a phone number so it can spam everyone with text ads, so I've gone ahead and made an executive decision to switch platforms to ESPN this year for the first time. ESPN uses a slightly different scoring system than Yahoo's default scoring, which is what I've used in the past. Both systems are weighted towards gaining more points for higher stakes (later rounds) games, so I don't think the overall experience will be all that different.

Prizes are going to be slightly different this year in order to make things a bit easier on myself! Read the rules below.

Please note that this contest is open to all Cards on Cards readers. Unfortunately, I only have access to about half of the email addresses of last year's participants, so if you received a Yahoo invite the other day you may not have received an invite to the new ESPN group. Don't fret - follow the instructions down below to enter:

One of the requirements is having an ESPN account. ESPN should not ask you for any creepy information as part of the conditions for signing up. If they do, please tell me immediately and I'll consider other options. If you absolutely, positively refuse to sign up for one of those things, go ahead and send me your bracket before the deadline in some sort of legible form and I'll send you a prize if you manage to pick a lot of winners. 
ESPN's default scoring rules apply. Play-in games do not count because they are still incredibly stupid. Should you choose one of the play-in winners to advance in the real part of the tournament, not only do you do so at your own peril but you also have the advantage of showing success no matter which play-in team makes it in. Please, please, PLEASE make sure you fill out the entire bracket, including the tie-breaking final score of the final game. (There are actually 9 total tiebreakers in ESPN's official rules.) I hate to disqualify people for not filling everything out, but it always seems to happen. 
What's the incentive here? Other than bragging rights, the first prize winner will receive a 2014 Topps Heritage baseball blaster (OR another unopened product of equal value because not everyone likes Heritage.) Five runners-up (runner-ups?) will receive any card from my Trade Bait list (which will be refreshed/updated before the tournament is over) plus a special secret bonus card from their team of choosing. Worst place will receive something truly terrible. I'm not joking this year. It will be bad.
If you participated last year, you should have already received an email at the address attached to your Yahoo account. Ignore this. We are not using Yahoo this year. Some of you may have also received invitations to the ESPN group, which you should definitely sign up for. Anyone who hasn't received an ESPN invite should click here and click on the "Get Started" button (password = marchradness). The deadline is the morning prior to the first real (non play-in) tournament game on Thursday, March 20th, though I would suggest getting your bracket done by the night before just to be safe. Leave a comment here or send me an email if the invite link doesn't work or if you are otherwise having trouble joining up so I can send you a direct invitation.

Monday, March 10, 2014

March Radness is Real

You know it.

March Radness VI is very nearly upon us. This is Conference Tournament Week in college basketball, which means Selection Sunday is this Sunday. Soon, people will be calling in sick to work and frantically studying up on something they didn't care the slightest bit about for the past several months. For us, it means that it's almost contest time. I've sent out the Yahoo invites for previous entrants and will be providing juicy details here later for those who haven't participated before or at least didn't last year. UPDATE 03/12: We are using ESPN this year. Tell your friends. I can tell you that I am making some changes to the prize allocation (more winners!) but the top prize will be the same as it usually is: a brand spanking new Topps Heritage blaster! Or something similar if you hate Topps Heritage!

(h/t Erin for the photo from the truly excellent Ducks/Illini game at the Rose Garden last December.)

Friday, March 7, 2014

Airbrushed Fridays: 1974 Topps Traded #330T

Daylight Savings is approaching! So is Opening Day!

Who is he? This man hardly needs an introduction. This Hall of Fame hurler was a 10-time All-Star and threw a no-hitter at the height of his powers. He spent most of his career with the Giants, which makes this card a strange little anomaly.

How did he get here? On the back of a killer pun, of course! Actually, the Giants sold Marichal to Boston near the end of his career, where he didn't pitch well despite a 5-1 W/L record.

Repeat offender? No

Other versions of this card: 1974 Topps #330T

Airbrushed Score: 5

Comments: Not much of Marichal's cap is visible, but they seem to have toyed with the small part that is. The Red Sox and Giants both have dark primary colors so things probably could have been left alone, but nope, this is Topps in the '70s.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Hitting All the Sets

A trade stack for every occasion.

The Topps Baseball Fanatic is arguably the biggest Topps Heritage fan around. His collection is certainly putting mine to shame, but when you are doing as well on your set quests as he is, you're bound to have some doubles. Fortunately, I was once again the beneficiary of some cards he didn't need and was able to punch a few more holes in quite a few different sets that I'm working on. The Fanatic is also a big Dustin Pedroia collector, and I'm working on something to that end that he'll hopefully enjoy.

The 2012 Heritage set is probably the one I'm most sick of, but it's probably because I've opened more of it than any other year other than possibly 2008's offerings. I still have a bunch of doubles from this year, but I was able to snag a couple of short prints including CarGo here.

I actually forgot I was trying to collect these inserts. This is from the 2012 Topps Archives 3-D collection. I like these weird lenticular Sportflics-ish cards that occasionally pop up in recent products.

Josh Hamilton is surprised! And he has no signature. This is one of the variations from the 2007 Bowman Heritage set. I should really put this one to bed soon.

There are so many Dodgers collectors that I've traded with, so I don't get many chances to scan and post Dodgers cards on this blog. They're usually gone almost as quickly as they arrive. This one is staying home.

Here's another Bowman Heritage card of the foil variety. It's also a "no sig" version.

I still need base cards from 2009 Topps Heritage. That's sad. I'm missing 5 non-SP cards from the main set and 2 from the high series.

Finally, my favorite Topps insert set of all-time still has quite a few names on the list to cross off. Someday!