Monday, July 27, 2015

Cowboys Heads up Quad - A tale of four boys from Dallas

So I just watched North Dallas Forty the other day, and it was a pretty good flick - I didn't realize Nick Nolte had such acting chops back in the day before he became somewhat of a caricature.  It's fitting, as a result, that I post this Heads up Quad of the Cowboys that I picked up in my most recent COMC lot.  It's got on sweet patch, three plain ones, and four stories of NFL careers gone...something or other.

Here's the front:
Michael Wiley was an Ohio State kid, picked in the 5th round in 2000 by the Cowboys.  They thought about turning him into a slot wide receiver, but that didn't work, and he ended up a career third down back/special teamer with just over 500 career rushing yards and 3 touchdowns.  He was waived after the 2002 season and never played again.

Troy Hambrick had lower expectations placed on him at first, but rose to higher heights.  He was undrafted in 2000, and started slow, but did enough in 2001 and 2002 that the Cowboys used him as their replacement for Emmitt Smith when he moved on to Arizona.  Hambrick was okay, with 972 yards on 275 carries and 5 touchdowns, but the Cowboys let him go at the end of the season.  He was briefly a Raider, was then traded to the Cardinals for Peppi Zellner where he played his last NFL football, and then was basically done.  He had trouble with the law in the mid 2000's and ended up serving 5 years in prison for selling crack, but has since gotten out and semi-turned his life around, so this story has a somewhat happy ending.

Here's the back of the card, with that aforementioned patch:
Darren Wooson is a 5 time Pro Bowler and 3 time First Team All Pro - why he's on this card, I do not know.  He was a 2nd round pick in 1992, and proved well worth it, as he could play the run equally as well as the pass and helped the team win numerous championships.  He has been mentioned as a potential Hall of Famer off and on since 2008, and I wouldn't be surprised if he made it in some day.

Anthony Wright is a GSNHOF favorite, but obviously not anywhere close to Woodson's level.  The Steelers actually signed him as an undrafted free agent in 1999, but the Cowboys quickly signed him in 2000 to back up Quincy Carter.  He saw six starts in three years with the team, with mixed success.  Clint Stoerner (another GSNHOF fave, I loved the crappy early 00's Cowboy QBs) was a constant thorn in Wright's side and took his spot on the roster in 2003 when the Cowboys cut Wright.

Wright ended up in Baltimore in 2003, and had 14 starts in three years there, including a very solid 5-2 run in 2003.  He then kind of faded though, and spent two years as a backup in Cincy and with the Giants before retiring.

Who wins the cards?  Clearly Darren Woodson.  Then Anthony Wright, then Troy Hambrick, then Michael Wiley.  Rarely is a quad jersey card so easily placable from 1-4.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

I Choo-Choo-Choose You: My first four Choo printing plates

So a while back, Dennis mentioned that he was bidding on some stuff for me on Ebay.  He mentioned he won a pretty big lot of Shin-Soo Choo plates (which was amazing!) and that there were a few others still around too.  The end result was me getting 4 Shin-Soo Choo plates in the span of like thirty Ebay minutes.  Insane, right?  I'll show them all of here.

The first is the one plate Dennis didn't get.  When he said some were still around, I quickly sorted Choo plates by time left, and found this one with a few minutes to go.  It was a decent price, and it's got Choo featured on the Reds, which is how I prefer to remember the guy, so it's definitely an awesome get!
All that said, his eyes are REALLY CREEPY here.  It kind of cracks me up.  I love the yellow band here up at the top too - it really shows that used quality which is cool to see in plates.

The back is your typical looking back for a plate:
I love when they detail the set like that - always a plus.  I do wonder about the "Online Exclusive Trading Cards" piece, because I didn't realize there was a regular vs. online difference.  If so I guess there would be 8 mini plates?  Can anyone shine any light on that weirdness?

So that shipped straight to me quickly.  The other plates shipped to Dennis first, then he sent them my way - and now they are here in all their beauty.  They are:

Red

Cyan

and Yellow

plates from 2014 Topps Triple Threads.  Which means this is the first plate set ever where I have 3 of the 4 plates (only missing the black).  The backs look really cool together too:

Obviously getting 4 plates in one day is huge for my Choo collection, and once again I have Dennis to thank for it!  Thanks man, and hopefully I can track down that black Threads plate someday to make this awesome collection whole!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

FIELD TRIP!: A Very, Very Delayed Futures/Celebrity Softball Game Recap (I got a really cool autograph too!)

Awww yeah...bringing back the blog segment that has been dead for 6 years.  Could the name hall of fame be far behind?  Eh...don't hold your breath...but maybe lol.

So the All Star Game was in Cincinnati this year, and I really really wanted to go to something.  After all, how often does the All Star Game come to your city?  Problem was, tickets to the game itself were like $300+ each for nosebleeds.  And with homerun derby tickets it was like $150+ for nosebleeds.

So I decided pretty early that I wanted to go to the Futures Game and the Celebrity Softball game.  Two games for the price of one (I had never been to a professional double header in my life), so that was really cool.  But since the tickets were cheapish, I also wanted to sit really close.  Like Row A, on the field.  And we did - here were our seats, not too far down the first base line:
My wife took the pictures, so I don't have any of the Futures game (typical).  But it was awesome.  It was drizzling throughout, but never rained enough to delay anything, and the players were pretty great too.  Jose Berrios and Lucas Giolito started out throwing zeroes, and it continued that way a while until the overmatched World team pitchers kind of lost control in the later innings.  Cubs super prospect (and all around giant human being) broke things open with a generous triple (really a double with an error) that knocked in two and made the game 3-1.  Then Josh Bell crushed a homerun, and late inning contributions from J.P. Crawford and Trea Turner (who is going to be an amazing major league shortstop) put the game far out of reach.

For me, some of the coolest parts of the game were the defense.  Crawford made a leaping grab at one point at shortstop, and later on Raul Mondesi Jr. one upped him with a great play behind 2nd base.  Then Arcia (some Colorado prospect) made the play of the day on a surefire single up the middle, twisting and twirling and hurling to first for an amazing out.  It was pretty cool to see up close.

After all that awesome, they got ready for the Celebrity game.  Which started with a gross country concert (ugh) but then ended up with celebrities right in front of us playing catch.  Like Nick Lachey here:
That was pretty darn cool, and set the tone for a nice little game.  It started really boring actually, but Snoop Dogg refused to let that continue as he tried stretching a single into a double and was called out on a close call.  He argued it, they challenged it, the crowd screamed "Safe, Safe, Safe" and the call was reversed.  Fans cheered like crazy, and from then on the game was great.  Vlad Guerrero got MVP for going 4/4 with 4 epic homers, and he was clearly the best, but Snoop was great too - he hustled like crazy, his hat fell off a bunch, he even relieved Jennie Finch - he was amazing.

My wife likes to take pictures of player's butts when we're sitting close, so she did that during the celebrity game.  Her favorite was Snoop:

Her least favorite was urban Meyer, who was booed mercilessly by the fans.  Like, Andy Dalton was booed a lot...this guy was booed on another level:

The coolest part of the celebrity game though was definitely the fan interaction of Josh Hutcherson, aka Peeta from The Hunger Games.  He played right field at one point, and unlike a lot of the celebs interacted with the fans a lot.  He was running over and letting people take selfies with him between pitches, but also crazy focused on the game, running back when the ball was hit and even making a play or two.  After that inning he walked down the line taking pics with people, and after he high fived my wife I asked if we could get an autograph too.  He said sure, and so my Jose Lopez autographed ball:

gained a second signature to be friends with:

All in all, an amazing day.  So I'd say, fellow bloggers, if the All Star Game is ever in your city, and you want a good time but don't want to spend all your monies on one seat, go to the Futures/Celebrity game combo.  The tickets are pretty cheap, the games are awesome, and you might even get a free concert in between (but hopefully it's not country!).

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Spring Cleaning COMC Purchase: Highlights from the Baseball Serial #'d PC Stuff

So the baseball stuff is a lot quicker than the football stuff, and it's just two guys, but I wanted to give it its own post because BASEBALL.  So Elizardo Ramirez and Jose Lopez fans, rejoice,  This is your moment.

The two Elizardo cards I got are weird because they're from the same set.  I got both the Topps Golds from 2007 - card #84 and card #554:
Has anyone realized this before (I mean in general I'm sure, but on the blogs)?  Does anyone even collect 2007 Topps with all its chipping issues?  Anyways, it's cool for one of my PC guys to get two cards in a base set, since often they get zero.  So I'll take it!

The other cards I'm featuring here are all little runs of Jose Lopez parallel.  Like I got his Bowman Blue:
and Orange:

I also grabbed a Topps Finite Blue:
And the base:

And then grabbed a Triple Threads Emerald card:
Bronze card:
And the base:
I just love seeing so much color in my binders, so all those parallels in one fell swoop did a lot for my Jose Lopez PC.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Spring Cleaning COMC Purchase: Highlights from the Football PC Serial Numbered Cards, featuring duplicates

You'd think that when buying 100 cards all at once, you wouldn't buy any duplicates (unless on purpose).  But sometimes you find one card at a good price early on, search a bunch of other stuff in between, and then find the next highest price card also at a good deal.  And that's how you end up with two of the same card and a facepalm.

Luckily all the other cards here are distinct, but I'll start with the twins, which are both Deion Branch Playoff Tickets /99:
I can totally see why I bought this the 2nd time (let alone the first time).  It's a great looking card in general - one of the better ticket designs I've seen over the years of Contenders, with a nice ticket look but also a nifty space for a crisp photo.  But my favorite part is the serial # = it's on the ticket portion as the seat number, with each one individually stamped with one number between 1 and 99.  Pretty epic.  I'll be keeping one of these and either trading the other one or sending it back to COMC, so if you want dibs call it, otherwise it'll eventually be off to other places!

I grabbed a few other Branchs (Branches?) too.  I especially liked this cool little Box Score card about his first ever touchdown:

And then this dual card from 2003 Pros and Prospects with fellow Patriot great Troy Brown:
I know 2003 P&P pretty well since Seneca had a card in the set.  I wish Troy and Deion had a relic card like Seneca and Antwaan Randle El do, but I don't believe that to be the case.  Regardless, I need to find a sweet card of Troy Brown's someday - he's the man.

Speaking of awesome Patriots cards, I picked up this awesome jersey #'d card of J.R. Redmond for my PC, 21/25:
Is there a better addition to cards ever than gold?  I swear, put gold in a card's title and I am 250% more likely to purchase it.  It's just always great.

The lowest serial #'d card I grabbed was this Mohamed Massaquoi - 5/5!
People seem to hate on college jerseys so much - this was barely $1 during the COMC sale.  I'll pay that all day for something this rare of a PC guy, and I happen to think the colors here look great.

I grabbed two cards from Playoff Honors for my PC, one was the rarer X's version of Lamont Brightful:
 And then the other was the more basic version of Woody Dantzler:
I feel like I never pick up cards of these guys since their card counts are so small, so it's nice to add something to those collections!

Ditto on Shantee Orr - I grabbed a Scorecard parallel of his /100.  It's real rainbow-y when the light reflects on it:

And ditto for Ben Gay, this one is #'d /750 right on the front:

I also grabbed a real low numbered Jarrett Brown card from Elite - always a great set, especially when die cut:

And a few Joique Bells - about dang time I got this collection started!
I like how all these photos are pretty much from the same practice.  I also dig how Bell's early cards are all Eagles and Bills - the two teams who had him and let him go before he went to Detroit and became a semi-star.  Makes the rookies pretty strange looking, but in a good way.

Speaking of rookie cards with teams that the guy isn't known for, here's Thad Lewis, who is pretty much always a Ram on his cards but was basically never a Ram:
This is a ticket /99 (like the Branch above).  Looks great, but I still prefer the Branch one.

Last but not least, I grabbed like 15 Priest Holmes serial #'d cards.  Here were my 3 favorites:

The Bowman and the Finest just look amazing - Chiefs colors go good with almost anything.  The Ravens Graded card is just cool because I love old higher end upper Deck, and it's great having some Holmes Ravens cards in my serial #'d collection too.