Archive for Cardboard Icons

Cardboard Icon: 1909-1911 T206 Polar Bear Back Walter Johnson

Posted in Cardboard Icon with tags , , , , on February 16, 2012 by Cardboard Icons

I like to show off my cards from time to time.  You know that.  I show them off because these are not cards you typically see on other blogs.

I show them off because I am proud to own them.  I show them off because I’m hoping to turn some of you onto some of the true Cardboard Icons. I show them off because these are the kind of cards that YOU could own. Yeah, you.

Today I present the newest Cardboard Icon:  The 1909-1911 T206 Polar Bear back Walter Johnson.

Johnson was part of the inaugural class of the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936.  He was inducted along with Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Christy Mathewson and Honus Wagner. Yeah, he was pretty good.

Dubbed the “Big Train,” Johnson hurled his way into history by playing 21 seasons during which he won 417 games (including 110 complete game shutouts), struck out 3509 batters, and posted a career 2.17 ERA and 1.06 WHIP.

This PSA T206 Johnson came to the Cardboard Icons collection in February 2012.  While the overall grade leaves much to be desired, the card presents nicely. Johnson T206 cards in this grade usually are offered for $250-$350, and they are usually of the more common “Piedmont” back.  This slightly tougher version went below that market.

Tip:  Remember, if you’re in the market for one of these century old cards, make sure they are already graded by PSA, BVG/BGS or SGC.  There are a lot of reprints on the market, many of which are falsely altered to look old.  Buying a card not graded by one of these three top grading companies could lead to an expensive mistake.

2010 Cardboard Icons Fantasy Baseball Teams

Posted in Newspaperman with tags , , , , on April 2, 2010 by Cardboard Icons
Cardboard Icons is awesome.

 I know you’ve been sitting near your computer screens for the last week just waiting to see what I was able to do in my fantasy drafts last week. I felt it. The pressure was there. Hundreds of you guys were spamming my e-mail box and twitter feed just trying to figure out who went where. 

OK, enough with the B.S. I’ll make this post short and sweet because fantasy baseball teams are like opinions and a-holes, everyone has one and no on really gives a crap. But I’m going to show you mine anyway. My fantasy teams. Get your mind out of the gutter.
I play in two 10-team head-to-head 7×7 keeper leagues in which we are allowed to keep five players and one guy who qualifies as a rookie. Team A is a league I joined four years ago, I won the first two years I played, and then took third last year. Core Keepers are: Albert Pujols, David Wright, Andrew McCutchen, Jon Lester and Clayton Kershaw. Tommy Hanson was my rookie.
The draft went so-so. My first three picks were Chris Carpenter, Brian Mc Cann and Adam Lind — hard to screw that up. I then took Cole Hamels, and proceeded to have a mediocre draft from there. My team isn’t flashy, but it’ll be fine. Unless things fall apart, I should be in it at the end. Here’s a screen grab of what my roster looks like on Opening Day.
Team A
Team B is a part of my primary league, which comprises a group of guys I have been playing with since 2001. During this off-season my team underwent a major overhaul. I unloaded younger talent and draft picks for more proven guys because my teams tend to be solid all year and then fail in the playoffs. I’m hungry for a title, been without one since 2003 — the first year we converted to a keeper. Nonetheless, I headed into the draft with these keepers: Prince Fielder, Ryan Howard, David Wright, Hanley Ramirez, and Clayton Kershaw. Rookie was Andrew McCutchen. Because of the quality I got in my trades, I entered the draft without my first two picks; my first selection was at 27th overall; then had two more in the next six picks. First three guys I acquired were: Ricky Nolasco, Ubaldo Jimenez and Brian Roberts. I think my draft went pretty damn well.
 Team B


 Quick reminder: I’ll be posting later today or early tomorrow the drawing for the 1958 Topps Mickey Mantle / Hank Aaron card. I hit my milestone mark Friday morning and there were about 30 entries into the contest. Good luck to all who entered.

Forget 2009 Topps 206, let’s see the real thing!

Posted in Newspaperman with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 9, 2009 by Cardboard Icons

I’ve been on a binge lately with 2009 Topps 206. The reason I love these cards so much is because they remind me of the real deal for 100 years ago.

Fortunately, I own two copies of the original cards, two of the biggest stars of the period, Christy Mathewson and Nap LaJoie. I received these cards back from Beckett Grading on Tuesday and they are even nicer than they were two weeks ago when I cracked them from their less-superior PSA and SGC cases. The Mathewson is a Sweet Caporal back while the LaJoie features the more common Piedmont back, a design Topps used for the common backs for its 2009 minis. I do have a question for Topps though: Is the company looking to produce this set again in 2010? The original T-206s were distributed in 1909 AND 1911.

Is 2006 Bowman Heritage Underrated?

Posted in Newspaperman with tags , , , , , on June 10, 2009 by Cardboard Icons

2006BowmanHeritageThe 2006 Rookie Card Crop is perhaps one of the best in recent memory. We had Evan Longoria, Justin Upton, Clayton Kershaw, Alex Gordon, Cameron Maybin and Jon Lester, just to name a few. But in most of these cases, it seems the only way to get each player’s first MLB card is to bust a bunch of Chrome-laden product or shell out good money to buy the Chrome single. Of course, that’s if you’re looking for the high-dollar rookie card of each player.

Over the last three years it seems as if the hobby has forgotten about another product from that year that featured almost all of the aforementioned players and more — 2006 Bowman Heritage.

Now I have no real stock in this product other than what you see above and a few other low-priced cards from the set. But the fact that there are cheap versions of each player’s first MLB card in this set makes it interesting to me. Don’t get me wrong, no one is going to mistake either the above Justin Upton or Evan Longoria for being worth more than $5 or so. But for collectors on a budget — ones who cannot justify spending $250 for a Longoria Bowman Chrome Draft autograph — this Bowman Heritage set offers a nice alternative.

In addition to the base cards, there are also prospect autographs seeded within the packs. That insert set is headlined by ON-CARD autos of Alex Gordon, Cameron Maybin and Justin Upton.

This product was almost instantly shunned by the Hobby upon release due to the asinine “parallels” that are damn-near indistinguishable from the base cards. Supposedly there are “white” versions of each base card, but unless you’re going to spend several minutes pouring over two versions of the same card, they are almost impossible to differentiate.

Nonetheless, the result is a product that has largely been forgotten. This has afforded budget collectors an opportunity to snag some rookie-year cards of some excellent rising stars.

Yu Darvish sighting / Bowman Chrome

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 3, 2009 by Cardboard Icons


I’m kind of going into 2009 Bowman a bit blindly. I’ve not read a bunch of reviews, but given the fact that box prices are already under $60 at Dave & Adam’s, I’m guessing this product features a list of lackluster prospects. If I’m wrong, someone tell me.

Anyhow, that didn’t stop me from buying a single back at Target the other day while buying my wife’s birthday gifts. Based on the headline of this entry, you can guess what I pulled … the card on the left.

The rest of the pack was pretty un-eventful. Base cards were Cliff Lee, Andre Ethier, Mark Teixeira, Rich Harden and Chris Young; Gold parallel of Scott Kazmir; Base prospect Michael Stutes; WBC Base Alex Liddi (Italy), Chrome prospect Michael Swinson; and of course the Darvish Chrome.

For some reason this card made be extremely excited. Probably because it was one of the cards I was hoping to acquire this year. Getting it in the first pack was great.  Judging by eBay sales, it’s not worth a ton, but it’ll take a nice spot in my “rookies” box. Every time I hear this guy’s name I think of this damn Soulja Boy song. I’m not really a hip hop guy — used to be in the 90s — but this song is really catchy.


Cardboard Icons Returns! Sorta …

Posted in Newspaperman with tags , , , , , on June 2, 2009 by Cardboard Icons

BenAlexaYes, I am still alive.

For much of the last three months, there has not been a bunch of new content here. No pithy comments about drama in The Hobby, not many “Card of the Day” posts, and surely no product reviews.

And as I write this today, I have no plans to bring all of that back in a flash. I’d love to sit here and proclaim that Newspaperman is back, and that Cardboard Icons will be bigger, better than ever. But the simple fact is that I’m not “back,” and this blog is what it is — a blog that you either read or you don’t. If you enjoy what I’ve written thus far — and what I may contribute in the future —  then I’m happy to have impacted your life for even a moment. If you’ve stopped reading, I can’t blame you — I’ve stopped caring to an extent.

Part of my desire for this blog left after Mario at Wax Heaven removed my link from his Heavenly Seven. And as I write this I have no ill will toward Mario for doing so. I didn’t deserve to be there any longer; there were (are) dozens of other bloggers whose product reviews and smart comments were (are) worth reading. Hell, even before that, I kind of already had one foot out the door — not because I lost the love of the hobby and writing, but because my life had changed.

In January I welcomed my first child into the world. And without getting all sappy and what not, I realized that there are certain priorities in my life (family is No. 1, hands down) and cards and blogging were not at the top of the list. And because of this I have spent less time sorting cards, and almost zero time writing about the cardboard that has been a part of my life for more than two decades.

Today, as I write this, I am still unsure what the future holds for me in this hobby. It’s expensive, time consuming, and requires an insane amount of patience and organization. But truth is I still love baseball cards.

Over the last three months I’ve attended a “major” card show, and purchased cards at garage sales, flea markets and thrift stores — the same activities I’d done before — but I have not taken the time to write about these adventures. In all of these cases I’ve wanted to sit down, scan some images and write, but I’ve been short on time. The kicker:  I’ll have even less time in the future.

But I think my mistake is believing that I HAD to write something every day, because that was what I expected of myself. In my line of everyday work — I’m a journalist at a daily newspaper — it’s in my blood to write something everyday, sometimes multiple pieces within just a few hours. But the difference between my day job and this blog (which I consider to be part of my hobby) is that one of them pays the bills and the other merely sucks time away from my family. I’m sure this struggle for time is a common issue among married men, particularly those with young children.

Just before my wife and I headed to the hospital, I wrote about it here. That was one of the greatest weekends in the history of this blog. I had nearly 1,000 hits over a series of three days, beginning with a post that basically announced that we were heading to the hospital. (Big props to Mario for the extra plug that day.)

In the weeks after my daughter’s birth, I continued to blog and proudly stated that I’d basically continue as I had in the previous months. I also said that this blog would not turn into a journal about fatherhood. But I think that was a mistake because my experience in the hobby, especially now as a new parent, is valid to share with others.

Having said that, I’m going to do what I can to write what I can, when I can — without pressure. If you decide to read it or not, that’s out of my control. If you do, I thank you and I hope you learn something or find this entertaining. If not, thank you for at least taking the time to read this entry.

When I started this blog last year, it was not about page views — it was about writing about a hobby loved. And as I look forward, I hope to return to my roots, all the while injecting a new element: parenthood.

This blog won’t be about fatherhood per se, but it will be about a card collector and father who is trying to maintain a hobby while being the best father and husband he can be.

Got questions or comments, feel free to leave them below of e-mail me at

Card of the Day: 1990 CMC (ProCards) Jeff Bagwell

Posted in Card of the Day with tags , , , , , , , on April 22, 2009 by Cardboard Icons

procardsjeffbagwellJeffrey Robert Bagwell has always been one of my favorite players. I absolutely loved watching him crush pitches when he was in his prime with the Houston Astros. In fact, when I was a kid I liked to emulate his batting stance — I also copied lots of guys, and this was before The Batting Stance Guy — but his was pretty neat.

Of course he showed the world how neat it was when he constantly got drilled on his left hand. This act always ended with some broken bone and a trip to the disabled list. But if you think about it, Bagwell’s list of injuries may have actually started the “armored batter” trend. After having his hand broken several times, Bagwell learned to wear some sort of guard to deflect direct contact. This guard then lead to big shin, ankle and foot covers, followed by massive elbow padding like the one that Barry Bonds wore. There could have been players before Bagwell who donned the plastic military grade body armor, but for some reason Bagwell seems to stand out to me as being the first. I know Kevin Mitchell wore one on his left leg, but that looked more like a soccer shin guard.

I digress. The reason I really pulled this 1990 CMC/ProCards Jeff Bagwell card from the archives is because every time I think about Bagwell, I think of The Trade (See No. 2). If this rant sounds familiar, it’s because I mentioned it late last year when writing about Bagwell’s 1991 Leaf “Gold Leaf Rookies” card. I’ll spare you the dramatics of that ordeal, and just say that this card — as well as one other Bagwell minor league issue (1990 Best) I own — is a constant reminder of what could have been. Damnit!


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