Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Basketball is Over


Closing the books on another NBA season. 

Last night, just a few minutes after tip-off down at the Rose Quarter, the Portland Trail Blazers 2016-17 season flatlined and could not be resuscitated. It was only the second playoff game I've ever attended in any sport, and it was pretty brutal. I thought I'd show off some old-school Blazers cards in their honor.

Before I do that, however, let's give some credit where credit is due: RAZ from The Raz Card Blog took the trophy in the first ever Cards on Cards fantasy hoops season. I don't think I announced this at the time, but in the spirit of things (and to hopefully sucker a few of you back into participating next year) I am giving out a prize to the winner. RAZ (and his excellent team name "Manute's Glutes") took down Bob Walk The Plank by the slimmest of margins (5-4!) I like to think the Glutes having Damian Lillard on their roster was the key to victory, so I'm just gonna go with that.


But we're all here to talk about cards, and cards are what Tim Wallach Cards sent to me, in thanks to some recent Wallach-related envelopes I sent his way. Did you know that timwallach.com redirects to his blog? That is seriously awesome.


With Nike taking over the NBA apparel contract for next season, there are rumors that the Blazers are up for a pretty serious redesign of their unis. I really hope they go back to more of a retro look, a la the Washington Wizards (née Bullets).


Mr. Wallach* also sent along some baseball cards, which will be heavily featured here at Cards on Cards (I promise!) for the remainder of the spring and summer months. O-Pee-Chee cards are always needed.


The internet tells me that these glossy and shiny Fleer parallels from the mid-'90s are called Tiffany. How did they get away with that? Did Topps not copyright the Tiffany name in the '80s? For that matter, how did... Tiffany... get its name in the first place? (Side note: I don't think I've ever known a Tiffany I'd consider to be classy.)


Finally, here's one more O-Pee-Chee card for the road, and it's a good one. I didn't scan the back of the card, but if you're a top notch card sleuth you could have known that this was Canadian all the way without looking at the back. (Or, perhaps, if you were a die hard oh my oh-pee-chee! reader like I was.) Check it: no rookie cup!

*Not his real name

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Rediscover Fred Toliver


Buyback shenanigans. 

Some people have opinions about the stamped buybacks that Topps has inserted into their products over the years, and many of those opinions are pretty strong. I was never one of those people that was fully against the idea, but the idea that one of your cards in a $3+ dollar pack can be one of those reject cards that you get in a repack box at the corner drug store, only stamped with some block letters, is kind of ridiculous. I have several stamped buybacks from past years of Topps Heritage, with foil logos affixed to cards from the '60s. They're not bad. But who would want this thing, outside of members of the player's family and some deranged Phillies collectors? (Okay, fine... if this was Curt Ford, I would probably want it for my collection.)


Freddie Toliver, for his part, pitched for 7 big league seasons and accumulated a handful of Major League Baseball cards, mostly ones from the late '80s. He's perhaps best known for being the other guy on Andres Galarraga's 1986 Fleer rookie card. (So awkward, by the way. For years, I was convinced that Bob Kipper was the "other guy" on Curt Ford's 1986 Fleer rookie card.) I'm pretty sure I saw Freddie pitch in person on more than one occasion, incidentally. His career stats reflect parts of three separate seasons with the AAA Portland Beavers, first as the Phillies PCL affiliate and later when they became associated with the Twins. He pitched professionally well into the '90s, coming just a couple of years short of joining Rickey Henderson (at least on a professional level) as a four decade player. Not too shabby.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Who Wants to Trade Some Heritage?


I'm collecting and I've got extras. 

I've put a pretty good dent in this year's Topps Heritage set, but I could use some help. If anyone out there has been collecting the set as well, or if you've even just bought a few packs, please check out my want list and let me know if there's anything you can spare. I will reward you handsomely*.

I have plenty of dupes from this set to spare as well, including a few short prints (Strasburg, Syndergaard, Lindor x2). Even if you're not collecting the set, but want some cards of your favorite team/player(s) or just want to work out a trade for something else, feel free to hit me up!

*in cards

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

That's a (Hockey) Winner!


Probably the one and only time I post hockey cards. 

The St. Louis Blues just finished off the Minnesota (...ugh...) Wild in an overtime Game 1 playoff win, which gives me the best excuse I could think of to finally post some of the hockey cards Sportscards From The Dollar Store has been sending me. I remain a thoroughly casual and ignorant hockey fan at best, but I like the sport and when given the chance it's fun to watch a playoff hockey game. I've only had a hard time getting into the sport because of time (I spend entirely too much time watching sports as it is) and finding a team to root for. After years of following various media members, friends and internet acquaintances who write about the Cardinals and live in the area, their enthusiasm for the St. Louis hockey team finally started to rub off on me a little. Just a little.


Well all know about Brett Hull and his cool guy hockey hair. This Bowman design is similar to the 1990 baseball design, and I like that they used some weird old spy hat for the "Hat Tricks" logo. (Serious question, do people wear really cheap/unwanted hats to hockey games just on the off chance that they might be able to toss them on the ice?)


Classic Blues! This is from the 1979-80 O-Pee-Chee set.


This had to be scanned. I mean, his name is Jablonski. I think I may have actually opened one of these Score packs back when I was a teen, and was disappointed to find out that not every card was Wayne Gretzky.


The hilariously named Shattenkirk was traded away late in the season, which leads to at least 20% less giggling during broadcasts.


Pietrangelo became the Blues captain this season, and took on an increasingly important role after Shattenkirk's (heh) trade.


I'm only scanning guys I've heard of, and one of them is goalie Ryan Miller. He was very briefly with the Blues. Their current goalie, Jake Allen, was phenomenal tonight.


Same set, different guy. Steen is in his 9th season with the Blues. I completely fail to understand the name of this Rookie Anthology set, as these guys were both longtime vets.


Here's the man, Tarasenko. At this point a year ago he's the only player I could have named on the team with any confidence. Anyway, he's really good, and he gets name-dropped a lot during Cards broadcasts.


More Tarasenko.


Ha ha, Tony Twist! There's a great sports name.


Finally, David Backes was probably still with the Blues when this card was sent to me, which should tell you how long I've been holding back some of this stuff.

I really enjoyed the cards, but I want to tell everyone - if you send me Blues stuff, it will probably go into a box to enjoy on a rainy day. I am probably not going to start a serious Blues collection, These are fun to look at, though, and hockey is fun to watch. I just wish Portland would get an NHL team someday.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Crossing Over to the Dark Side


No logos here. 

I've long had an aversion to buying unlicensed cards that probably has roots in always feeling like someone or something was trying to get one over on me as a kid consumer. Store brand chips? Not great. Generic soda? Awful. And you can clearly tell that Safeway boxed mac & cheese is nothing closed to the Kraft blue box stuff. I don't exactly feel like it's a snobbish attitude, as I like saving money just as much as the next guy. I even use coupons. It was always hard for me to take baseball cards with airbrushed logos very seriously.


So it was in a fit of boredom (or maybe something else?) that I picked up a fat pack of the new 2017 Panini Donruss product last night. This is the first unlicensed pack of anything I've intentionally bought, maybe... ever? I guess I was looking for something new, or at least something that was not Topps flagship. I don't hate the design, even though it's a nod to one of the worst Donruss sets (1990, of course). The new-fangled Donruss cards are always more substantial (i.e. thicker) than Topps, which is another thing I like. But, you know, logos.


This year's retro inserts are a nod to the 1983 Donruss set, the one with the mitt and bat instead of 1982's ball and bat. The Wizard plays for the St. Louis Strategically Placed Arms.


All of the photos are closely cropped of players in action, in frame. This would be great if they mixed some other kinds of shots in here, but nope. Instead, almost every card of a position player features this pre-swing pose.


Samesies. Well, they didn't actually use the exact same photo, but it looks like it's a different frame from the same sequence of shots.


Rated Rookies are still a thing (thankfully, that logo is timeless!) but I don't know who this is at all.


I did get one sort of kind of hit, in this serial numbered card of fantasy stud Jonathan Villar. It and anything non-Cardinals you see here is available, of course. And if you are collecting this set, I do want your Cardinals doubles. Thanks!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

We Have a Winner!


It was a close one. 

I want to extend a hearty congratulations to P00PSH00TER, who wins the big March Radness prize in a tiebreaker over akquillen (from the Tomahawk Chop blog). Yes, we knew the day was inevitable when I'd eventually have to spell out the name P00PSH00TER on this blog again, and that day is here. P00PSH00TER (that's 3 times now) and Tomahawk Chop tied in total points, so we went to a tiebreaker, with P00PSH00TER (4!) picking UNC in the final with a closer score (75-73) to the actual final (71-65) than Tomahawk Chop's prediction (78-75). The other runners-up were Bump and Run (3rd place) and Wilson (4th). The clearly deranged Erin wound up with this year's worst bracket, and she will be finding spiders in her handbag for weeks to come. If you're one of our winners, please get in touch with your mailing address as I am terrible at keeping track of these things.


Since this is a card blog, let's check out some cards, since presumably if you're still reading this you didn't win anything. Maybe next time? Way back in the winter month of January, I received some stuff from Canadian trade partner Sportscards From The Dollar Store. Court Kings seems to be the hoops version of Diamond Kings, with fancy artwork on faux-canvas cardstock. It looks good.


I don't think I've ever seen an Elite card that I really liked, but I appreciate getting new cards of The Glide.


On another outlandish Panini design, it looks like Dame is either about to get eaten by gargoyles or licked by sheep. I'm not sure which.


Hey, here's a baseball card... kind of! As much as I was excited about the Hamm cards from the First Pitch insert set in 2015, these get old rather quickly. I like Wilco and all, but Jeff Tweedy is a bit of a step down from Jon Hamm, don't you think? I pretty much took the year off from flagship Topps (something I am repeating this year), so it is nice to get ahold of any insert or parallel because I wasn't going to pull this in a pack.


Buckstorecards is your leading source for O-Pee-Chee CFL cards, which allows me to brush up on my Oregon Ducks football history. Oldham was a UO alum who won the Grey Cup with the Ottawa Rough Riders in 1973, and according to the back of the card he was known to be the fastest man in the league.


Lefty Hendrickson played tight end for the Ducks in the '60s before he made it in the CFL. A bit of Googling led me to this article from the archives.


Someone remembered that I liked the Eagles! Carson Wentz got off to a nice start as a rookie, but quickly began to struggle with the lackluster receiving corps that surrounded him. The team has made some significant moves this offseason, and it will be interesting to see how Wentz does in year two. This card is from Panini's Black Friday promotion.


I really like Jordan Matthews, but he has a share of the blame for the offense's struggles last season. (As does, probably, first year head coach Doug Pederson.) I don't know what Panini Spectra is, but they sure do make a nice and shiny dual jersey card.

Thanks again to Sportscards From The Dollar Store, and everyone who participated in this year's Radness.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Blazers of Prestige


I bought a slot in a @SCCTradingCards Group Break. 

I know it's been basketball-heavy around here at Cards on Cards, but I've got just a couple more of these to get off my chest before we head full swing into baseball season. After being tantalized on Twitter a number of times, I finally bit and plunked down some cash for a group break guaranteed team slot (I don't do random) for a new Panini set.


I'm going to show you every card I received, sans duplicates. This set has a bunch of unnumbered parallels with dumb names like Crystal, Horizon, Metallized, Rain, and Compost. Through some research, which should really not be so necessary, I've determined this this is "Metallized". Also, I may have made one of those parallel names up.


Back to the base cards. You know you're having a truly cursed season when just when it looks like you're finally getting integrated into your new team's offense after a really rough go of things for several months, you break your hand. Turner is back now, and was playing his best ball right when he got hurt. Hopefully he can get enough time to be a key part of the team before the possible playoff series.


Rookies have had little to no impact on the Blazers season, which is a little bit surprising considering how they spent nearly the entire season outside of the playoff discussion. They're back in it now, battling with Denver for a single spot. Layman is best known for a barrage of garbage time three-pointers he hit during the first week of the season. And the hair.


At the price point, this wasn't a great break for me, but I did end up with an autograph. It wasn't bad. This is one of those cards that probably goes for $10 in the Greater Portland Metro Area and $1 everywhere else.


Obligatory Dame card!


Here's the other "hit", and it's a serial numbered (to 75) parallel. Lillard had a really rough prolonged stretch to this season as he was trying to play through an injured ankle, but he's been deadly as we head closer to the end of the schedule.


These Stat Stars inserts looks pretty similar to the base cards, but there's a bit of gold foil on them.


I have to say this: Mason Plumlee was better than advertised in his time with the Blazers, and there are so many things he does well on the basketball court that it's hard to say anything negative about him. I liked watching him play. The guy that replaced him has really done some interesting stuff, though.


While he's not pictured shooting here, one of my favorite things about CJ is his shot selection. I can't think of anyone who puts up smarter shots than he does these days. There are probably people with a better understanding of advanced NBA stats than me who could back this assertion up.


Here's the other rookie of the team set. Quarterman was undrafted and made the team as the 15th man as a bit of a surprise. He's played even less than Layman, but undoubtedly has some good stories to tell after his experiences this season.


This is the Metallized 1/4 Man.


Another thing I need to admit publicly: I wanted one of these guys gone, as recently as last month. As great as they are (and they're pretty great), the two shooting guards in point guard bodies thing just wasn't working, as it usually doesn't for most teams. There's a lot of redundancy. And while I still don't really believe in it long term, even in this current three-shooting happy version of the NBA, the Blazers found another way to make things work by going out and making a different move. Jusuf Nurkic is now running wild on the court for the Trail Blazers, and we're all just along for the ride.