Wednesday, August 31, 2011

TTM #77- Another Crazy Celebrity Addition!

Hey guys, Drew back here. Well, I finally made myself some what of a come back, posting over 20 times for the first time since earlier this year. I definitely have gotten back into it, as I've spent a ridiculous amount of money on the hobby over this summer vacation. Unfortunately, with September approaching, school is coming right back into the picture. So, the next couple months will be rough on here, as 10th grade is definitely going to be a challenge. Anyways, I still have one more week to go, so I'm going to make the most of it. We'll start with a TTM success I got when I returned home from the card show, a TTM that I had completely forgotten about sending...

I don't know if this is real or fake, but I have to say, it would be sweet if this is an actual Johnny Depp autograph! I made the custom card one day when I was bored, about perhaps the most "Popular Pirate" around, Jack Sparrow! Regardless of the Pirates series, Depp is a great actor, even though sometimes he gets a little strange for me to watch. His autograph certainly looks strange, but I guess it fits his personality. The "Pirates of the Caribbean" and "Harry Potter" series' are the only ones out of the new movie series' that I can stand, so it's cool to add an autograph of the most famous actor of those 2 series.

What do you all think of it? Real or fake?

Yes, I had to.

See Ya!

Mail from The Lost Collector!

Hey guys, Drew back here. So apparently, there's been this "lost collector" running around the hobby lately. He's been running around to all the blogs trying to find his way into the hobby. I guess he's doing a pretty good job, considering he has a great blog and sends us bloggers some great packages. Kidding aside, I got a package from AJ of "The Lost Collector" about a week ago and wanted to show off my end of the deal. Take a look:

First off were a few extras he threw in for me. I needed most of them, and love that Tino Martinez USA card! AJ gave me a new Mattingly card, which is now the 188th card of his that I own. Just for reference, he is a big Yankee fan and Tino Martinez collector as well, so if you've got any good Tino stuff definitely go to him!

The actual deal was that I sent him 2 1968 Topps Game Cards, from the set he's collecting, for these two 1961 Topps Yankees! Luis Arroyo was a decent pitcher who played for several teams throughout the 1950's and 1960's, and Blanchard was a very good defensive player on his 8 seasons with the Yankees. Pretty cool stuff for sure, and glad to add them to the set! 

Lastly, AJ was cool enough to include this signed 1995 Pinnacle card of Danny Tartabull! I remember one of the first Yankees cards I ever owned in my collection was a Danny Tartabull card, so it's cool that this card made me remember my days as a (really) young collector in training. He was a solid player in the 80's and 90's, hitting 262 home runs in his career, and he's got a good looking autograph.

Thank you again AJ, I really appreciate the set help and the extras! Please everyone go check out his blog, ESPECIALLY if you have any of the 1968 Topps Game Card set that he's trying to collect!

See Ya!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

August 20th White Plains Card Show Box Break! A&G?

Hey everyone, Drew back here. So, we're not quite done reviewing the card show. When we all got into the car on the way back, dad pulled out this box from his bag, saying we have a box to break soon! It was a box of the new 2011 Allen & Ginter! He got a very good deal on the box, and while I hadn't been overly impressed with the product so far, I definitely was excited to open the box. Before I get into the results, here is a little bit of product information, although most of you already know what to expect:

Part 6:
2011 Allen & Ginter Box Break

24 Packs Per Box
8 Cards Per Pack
192 Cards Per Box
1 Box Topper Per Box (Cabinet/N43)
1 Mini Per Pack
3 Relic/Autograph/Printing Plate/Booklet/Rip Card Combo Per Box
Look for a lot of Variations and Inserts

Alright, let's get into my box!


Cabinet Card: Baseball Highlights- A-Rod's 600th HR

I definitely prefer these box toppers rather than the smaller versions, the N43 cards. As a Yankee fan, I couldn't have gotten much luckier than I was pulling one highlighting a Yankee's accomplishment. Never been a big A-Rod fan but it's definitely better than any of the others, for me at least. 

Base Set: 127/350 (36%)

Most of you have seen one too many Allen & Ginter cards highlighted throughout the blogs, considering it's maybe Topps' most popular release every year, after the flagship product of course. I'm glad that Topps put a little more into this year's design, as it definitely has a bit different feel to it. They look pretty nice in my opinion, my favorite card being the Derek Jeter card. 

Crack the Code Cards: 3 (Jeter/Reyes/Hoffman)

Topps used the weird borders for the Crack the Code contest this year, with each card having a different border design. Does anybody know if the code has been cracked yet? Just curious.

Hometown Heroes: 18/100 (18%)

Here's Topps' annual insert that dedicates a country, state, continent, etc, where someone grew up. I have to say that this insert set has been way over done and it's gotten old. I barely even look at them anymore, and just throw them into a pile. 

Minds That Made: 3/40 (7.5%)

Floating Fortresses: 3/20 (15%)

Ascent of Man: 4/26 (15%)

In 2011, Topps really went out of there way to make this product way more than just a baseball set. With all these random subsets, considering smart people, boats, and the history of man, it really kills the purpose of Allen & Ginter. The first couple years I did a lot of Ginter breaking, I didn't mind this stuff, but after year after year of random inserts finding their way out in trades, I'm getting sick of them. 

Baseball Highlight Sketches: 4/25 (16%)

I really liked these the first year they brought them out, 2 years ago, but since then they've really gotten sort of boring. The paintings, to be honest, haven't been all that great, and the design is a bit redundant. I pulled the Mark Teixeira card and then 3 trade bait cards out of this box.

Base- 6
A&G Back- 5
Black Border- 3

Here are most of the minis. The top row is made up of the Allen & Ginter back variation minis, and the bottom row is made up of the regular minis.  While the minis are the most realistic cards compared to the original set of Allen & Ginter, I almost feel like they are just more variations and versions to chase after. I guess some people like the chase, but with the ridiculous amount of variations and parallels of every card made over the past few years, it seems close to impossible to get every card you need to finish a player/set/team collection.

However, I was lucky enough to pull the base and black border minis of Nick Swisher for my Swisher collection! I like the looks of the black border minis this year over any of the new changes, because I was sick of the regular black border that had no style or anything to it. Pulling these cards of Swisher was one of my favorite parts of the box, because I guess it means a little less eBay shopping for me!

Mini Inserts:
Animals in Peril- 2 (DHole, Ethiopian Wolf)
Uninvited Guests- 2 (RMS Queen Mary, Waverly Hills Sanatorium)
World's Most Mysterious Figures- 2 (Kasper Hauser, Captain Charles Johnson)
Portraits of Penultimacy- 2 (Watson, Igor)
Step Right Up- 1 (Fire Eating)

Again, way overdone on the non sports stuff this year. Does Topps really think we care a whole lot about these cards? What need do I have for a card of a DHole or Fire Eating? I can even tell you that 9 of every 10 kids probably wouldn't care all too much about a card having to do with these subjects. Yawwwn.

Bazooka Back Mini: 1 (Yovani Gallardo)

This card was definitely a surprise, and without it I may have been a little disappointed with the break. It's a hand numbered to 25 card of Yovani Gallardo. Gallardo is having a pretty good year, with a 15-8 record and a 3.37 ERA. He's definitely one of the more underrated pitchers in baseball, and had he been more well known this could've been a better pull. That being said, if anyone has a Yankee Bazooka back (especially Swisher/Cano/Granderson) and is interested in this, please let me know.

Relics: 3

I guess we'll start from the worst to the best. Here's a jersey card of former Yankee prospect Austin Jackson. Jackson was supposed to be everything the Yankees were hoping for in a future center fielder, until they decided to ship him out to Detroit in the deal that landed Curtis Granderson. So far, he's shown a lot of promise, but he's becoming known as a bit of a strikeout machine. Then again, so is Granderson. But who would I rather have based off of this so far? Granderson. 

Next is a bat card of perhaps one of the hottest hitters in baseball, none other than Dan Uggla! I never had the idea, even through his terrible start to the season, that Uggla couldn't do it anymore. A lot of hitters this year, for some reason, can't even bat .200. I'm not quite sure what the reason was, but guys like Adam Dunn and Uggla, guys who were some of the better sluggers in the game, suddenly are averaging 2 hits per every 10 at bats! Anyways, lately Uggla has pushed the average up quite a bit, and still has quite a few home runs, with 30. 

Lastly, the biggest pull of the box was this Albert Pujols bat card! You can't hit much better than King Albert, as he's by far the best all around hitter in baseball. Even battling a lot of injuries this season, Pujols still leads the National League in home runs and is well on his way for another 35 home run season, and maybe 40 as well. I sure hope Pujols is doing what he's doing in a fair way, as it would really be a devastation to baseball if he was caught using performance enhancers. I doubt it, but hey, you never know.

Overall Thoughts: All in all, 2011 Allen & Ginter is pretty much the same as always, with a ridiculous amount of oddball cards mixed in along the way. I would say better things about the product had the inserts been a little less redundant and if they used some actual baseball creativity rather than some cemeteries and near extinct animals. Make a seperate set for that stuff if you really think its THAT necessary to include in your product line.  The design this year was great, the price is better than ever, the hits are decent enough, but there's just something missing from this product, or that it's just getting old fast. Overall Grade: B

Well, that'll just about do it for the entire Card Show report! I want to thank everyone as always for sticking through it and checking the blog out, I can't even tell you how much it means to me. And also I would like to thank my dad once again for all of the great things he's done and given to me over the past few years, and I know you'll probably read this sooner or later, so well, thanks Dad. You're the best! 

See Ya!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

August 20th White Plains Card Show Review Part 5

Hey guys, Drew back here. Keepin' with the recent flow, lets jump right back into the review. In this post, we have one thing that is great news, and one thing that is bad news. I guess we'll start off with the bad news...

Part 5:
Autographed Photos

Oh hey remember me? If you all remember, back in January I bought this signed 8x10 autograph of Mark Sanchez, which was authenticated by "Left Field Sports Memorabilia". According to this company's website, they get their autographs checked by big name companies as well, such as PSA, JSA, etc. It came with the certificate of authenticity, assuring me that the autograph was real. Well lately I've been looking at other Sanchez autographs, and this just looked much different from the rest of them. So, I decided to take it to the card show to get it checked out by JSA, one of the best authentication companies in the world. It cost me $20 to get the picture checked, and it took over 2 hours for them to do their entire examination of the photograph. 

Dad picked it up for me at the JSA table while Mike and I were in line for Ernie Banks. It was bad news. JSA said that the autograph could not certify its authenticity. Does that mean it can still be real? Yes. Is it likely? No. The photo came from China, so unless they purchased the photo off another dealer, they couldn't have gotten it in person. 

So, when I got home, I checked eBay to see if I can contact the sellers, and unfortunately, I can't, since they close down their account. I did see their feedback, and they had almost 100% feedback with hardly any poor reviews. Something is definitely wrong here, and I may never know the truth about this picture. 

Do you guys have any advice for how to go about this? 

Moving on. Like I said, there was certainly good news as well! Dad and I were just about to meet Lou Piniella when the 1:00 door prize winner was revealed to be my dad! So dad sprinted down the line of people and tried to get there to claim his prize before they gave it to someone else. He got it, and this was the prize:

It was an 11x14 autographed picture of Robinson Cano! Cano, as you all know, is one of my top 3 favorite players, to go along with Derek Jeter and Nick Swisher, and he is one of the most fun players to watch in all of baseball. He can do it at the plate, with his glove, and he makes everything look smooth as silk. So, I was just a tad bit excited when dad came back with a prize that I can now hang up on the wall! 

Unfortunately, none of us were crazy about the picture Cano signed. It looks like someone in the stands took a picture of him and blew it up to 11x14 size. No, we're not really complaining, as it was free and we were lucky enough just to win it. But still, I probably would've been a little happier with a picture of him batting rather than one of him just standing around with a ton of grass surrounding him. 

But anyways, I still can't wait to hang that one up, and also, I don't know quite what to do about the Sanchez picture. Anybody know what to do? 

See Ya!

Friday, August 26, 2011

August 20th White Plains Card Show Review Part 4

Hey guys, Drew back here! Time for you guys to see the 2 big Hall of Famers I added to my custom Hall of Fame set! Take a look...


This has been a post I've been dying to write for months now, because I couldn't wait to talk about my story of meeting these former greats to you all. We all had to wait quite a long time because, considering its one of the biggest card shows in the country and many people were there, a lot of people were in line to meet these guys too. 

The first Hall of Famer I met that day was former Cardinals All Star shortstop, "The Wizard", Ozzie Smith! Smith, known for his trademark backflips and incredible defensive plays, was larger than life back in his playing days. Fortunately, throughout his popularity and fame, he hasn't changed his personality one bit, as he was by far the nicest and most down to Earth player I've ever met. Before us in line was an older guy with his little son, holding a little toy when he shook hands with Smith. Smith proceeded to have the kid pose on the table while he held his little toy for a picture, and it looked like it was a cool memory for those people for sure. 

I came up to Ozzie and greeted him, and did the usual "I made this card of you on my computer, in your honor" deal, because it's always the shy guys way out of being loud and obnoxious to players. He responded by saying that I'm a really creative young kid, and it meant a lot for me to hear that from a guy who was certainly a unique baseball player:

So, I got him to sign my Hall of Fame card and we posed for a picture. Following that Mike did fellow blogger William a favor and got his baseball signed for him by Ozzie, giving him a chance to meet "The Wizard of Oz". We both strongly feel like he was the nicest baseball player we've ever met, and it was a great opportunity and memory for both of us.

My autographed card came out good, and my only complaint is that I didn't reprint it before I got it signed because the printer started to run low on ink as the card completed. You can tell by looking at the color comparison on the far right side of the card. Otherwise, the autograph, plus his Hall of Fame inscription came out awesome, and I'm extremely psyched to add it to the set! Before I get to the other guest we met, here are a few pictures of some of the other signers at the show:

Ralph Kiner
Fay Vincent
Mets Rookie Justin Turner
Mets Rookie Dillon Gee
Anyway, the second autograph guest was none other than "Mr. Cub", Ernie Banks! When I saw that Banks was on the lineup, I knew for sure I wasn't going to get a whole lot of "gifts" for my birthday, as I instead asked for money so I can save up to meet the legend! I eventually compiled the money, made his card, and went off to wait in line for him in the afternoon. Boy was he slow at signing autographs! It took Mike and I over 2 hours to wait in line just so we could make use of my autograph ticket. Mike ever so kindly stood in line for me since he was done buying stuff and had nothing better to do, as I ran out to buy more before the show ended and I came back with more money than I hoped to have had. The show was about a half hour from ending, with many more people still to go, Banks already having been way past his time allotment, and he decides to get up, and walk around a little bit...

I swear, I have absolutely no idea how I felt at this moment. I thought it was absolutely hilarious some of the stuff he was saying, and the fact that he decided to get up and personalize with a lot of the people still waiting for him, but on the second hand I was worried that he wouldn't finish in time and I ended up losing the price of his ticket! Fortunately, he soon finished joking around asking who was married and who has considered divorce, murder, or suicide, and finally returned to his signing table. (PS, turn up the volume on the video above, so you can hear him!)

So, about a half hour later it was FINALLY our turn to meet him. His price was $90 an autograph, so I guess he was trying to make it worth every penny! The lady in front of us worked in the media section for the Pittsburgh Pirates, and she decided to have a long conversation with him about the old Pirates teams, etc etc. I'm standing there, right in front of Mr. Banks, while he's holding my card and about to sign it, while not having said one word to me yet and continuing the conversation with that lady. He finally turned to me and I said hello, and the usual, custom card deal, and I asked him to inscribe his Hall of Fame year on it. He responds to me by saying, almost as if he was in awe, "You made that?", and I said yeah, and he told me he was really impressed. He finished signing my card and the 3 of us, dad, Mike, and I, all went around the table for a photo opportunity. My dad decides to be the funny guy he is and says "See that kid there (pointing to me)? He's 15, married, and murdered his wife!" Banks turned and stared me down for a good 5 seconds with his jaw dropped until dad said he was kidding and that I would never do that. Banks knew and just said he was going with the joke basically. What a hilarious and memorable meet with "Mr. Cub"!

Overall, Banks really made my day, and it was definitely something I'll never forget. He seemed like a real gentle giant, and had one of the better personalities I've came across in a long time. The autograph came out beautiful and is easily my favorite of the set so far. You can't get a whole lot better than a 14 time All Star who slugged 512 home runs, winning 2 MVPs along the way!

So, my advice is this. If you ever see one of these guys, Smith or Banks, coming around your area for a signing, don't miss out! Both of them are complete gentlemen and class acts, and it was a day I'll never forget...

See Ya!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

August 20th White Plains Card Show Review Part 3

Hey guys, Drew back here. Well, keeping everything moving, here's part 3 of the on going card show series!

Part 3:
Meeting Former Yankees

So, on the 20th, I met 4 players, 2 former Yankees, and 2 members of Cooperstown. We'll start off with the 2 Yankees, and the first of the 4 that I met that day!

None other than "Sweet Lou", Lou Piniella! Words couldn't describe what I was thinking when I first saw the name Lou Piniella on the autograph guest list prior to the show. He surprised me as being somewhat quiet, but we did a little talking about my custom and how I made it in his honor, etc etc. He was very nice, and I really hope he gets a shot at making the Hall of Fame one day!

As I mentioned, I got Lou to sign a Yankees Greats custom card I made. This set isn't huge, but I've gotten quite a few former Yankees to sign them now. Piniella won't have a shot at Cooperstown for his playing days, as he was simply just a solid player on a great team (ie: Jayson Werth). His lifetime batting average was .291 but otherwise his stats were just not enough. However, he managed the Yankees following his retirement, as well as the Reds, Mariners, Devil Rays, and most recently, the Cubs. He won in 1990 with the Reds, and even while managing some bad teams, his career managerial record was a little over .500. 

Next, Dad, Mike, and I all met Bob Watson, a former 1st baseman throughout the 1970's and 1980's, for the Astros, Red Sox, Braves, and Yankees. While his stats were very good, maybe even better than Piniella's, Watson was best known as the first African American GM, when he took a job with the Houston Astros following the 1993 season. He went on to become the GM for the Yankees throughout the beginning of their dynasty in the mid-late 90's. Also, a neat note was that Watson scored the 1,000,000th run in baseball history on May 4th, 1975, scoring on a home run by Milt May.

I got a baseball signed by Mr. Watson that day, and I think it came out pretty nice! The ball I used to get signed was cheap, as it was a freebie when you came into the show, so you could use it for autographs. It's made by Steiner, and it's nothing special, but it looks good in person for sure. Watson was again, very quiet, and I didn't have much to say to him, because frankly, I barely knew anything about him when I met him. 

See Ya!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

August 20th White Plains Card Show Review Part 2

Hey guys, Drew back here. So, last night, I went to the Yankee game, and it sure was a nailbiter. I don't know if I've ever been to a closer game, as the Yankees wound up losing 6-5. I'll have more on that including some pictures sometime soon. For now, let me reminisce of dad and I's vintage pickups at the White Plains show this past weekend.


Yeah. I just went there. I started off a "vintage" post with a 1984 Donruss Don Mattingly rookie card. I know what you're saying. "THIS ISN'T VINTAGE?!?!" Well, it isn't necessarily vintage, but it had to go here. So, deal with it. Anyways, I got this card for $12, since it was in great shape but was the only one of the major rookies Mattingly has that I didn't have yet. Always nice to mark one off the list. Oh, and this one's my favorite of the 3!

Next was a very off centered, but cheap, 1979 Topps Ozzie Smith rookie card! I'll have more on Ozzie before this series ends, but for now I'll just write about this one. His rookie was one that I've wanted to add to the Hall of Fame rookie collection for a while now, no matter what the condition was. 

Now onto the picture I took rather than taking each card out of their holders and scanning them and putting them away. Boy was I lazy the day I scanned these. Anyways, oh yeah, the cards. Dad got me these, and I needed most of them, and even if I had them, definitely happy to add seconds of them! I've really taken interest in 60's and 70's cards, recently buying a huge box just to hold them in. My favorite of these is probably either the 1979 Willie Stargell (Pirates!) or the Bob Allison card, from 1961, that I'm pretty sure is not a Topps card. Interesting...

Also included in dad's little vintage bunch were these 2 1967 Topps League Leaders cards, both featuring Frank Robinson on them. It's funny because Robinson also was the first one on the Home Run Leaders card. Oh thats right, he won the Triple Crown that year! I should probably add the home run card sometime just to finish off the trio of Robinson-leading cards. 

HOLY 1961 TOPPS! Yeah, Dad wasn't done with the vintage shopping, to say the least! Between the two of us, we combined for just under 90 new cards to add to our set. I picked up a lot of 20 cards for $5, while I only had 2 of them already. Dad got all the ones in toploaders, and I can't wait to add all these into my box of 1961 cards!

Those were just some of the bigger cards of the bunch. Most of the cards were just commons, but a few cards stood out, such as the Dick Williams card, the Whitey Ford postseason highlight, Johnny Podres, Elston Howard, and a MVP card of Jim Konstanty, my ex-little league teammate's grandfather. The condition of most of these are decent, some could be better, but for now they'll fit for sure!

.... we're not done with 1961's. Here we have the Yogi Berra base card, as well as the Rizzuto MVP card. I bought the Rizzuto and Dad got the Berra as well as the following two cards. Yogi's card from that year is one of my favorite cards he has, I'm not sure why though. It just really pops though. 

Dad also got me the Ron Santo Rookie Card, featuring the famous Topps All Star Rookie trophy. Santo surely was an All Star throughout his career, and possibly should've been considered a lot more for Cooperstown. A career .277 hitter with 342 home runs, as well as 9 All Star selections and 5 Gold Gloves makes me wonder why he's not in when guys like Orlando Cepeda, Jim Rice, and Bill Mazeroski are in. The card is in great shape and is definitely one of the best looking cards in the entire set. 

 But wait, there's MORE! The final 1961 card I obtained at the card show was the rookie card of Hall of Fame pitcher, perhaps the best pitcher throughout the 1960's, the Dominican Dandy, Juan Marichal! Marichal, as well as Santo and Billy Williams, was the last top rookie card to acquire for the set! Marichal was a 10 time All Star with a career record of 243 wins and 142 losses, and an ERA of 2.89. He won the most games throughout the 1960's, using his intimidating leg kick to put a scare in some of the best hitters in baseball. This card is a little off center but otherwise the corners are sharp and it's perfect! No need for a replacement with this one!

So, well, Dad and I really did some damage with that set we're building. If any of you have any 1961 Topps cards laying around, please check out my have list and let me know what you have that I may need. Thanks so much once again to Dad, I wouldn't be nearly as close if it wasn't for him!

See Ya!