Archive for Olympics

Lifetime of memories made during National Baseball Card Day 2016

Posted in Misc. with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 13, 2016 by Cardboard Icons

I decided to take my kids to the National Baseball Card Day event at South Bay Sports Cards (Sunnyvale, Calif.), where the shop — like many others across the country — was giving out packs to customers on this special day. What wound up happening was something that will never be forgotten.

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This story doesn’t end with some card worth a small fortune. But it does end with smiles.

I told the kids about the day and how they were giving away packs at the shop to promote the hobby, a fantastic move by the way. Topps is the company with the exclusive Major League Baseball license so they are the makers of the cards given away on this day. Such events have been around for at least a decade, and have over the years included cards from other companies, including Fleer, which is now an Upper Deck brand.

My son’s comment: “I LOVE opening packs!”

For the record, neither of my kids have been completely bitten by the  card collecting bug.  I actually didn’t start collecting until I was 7, almost three decades ago, so it’s still early.  My daughter collects American Girl dolls and Shopkins. My son has learned the joy of opening packs from sharing in the ripping of my packs when I buy them, and his own Skylanders Battle Cast cards. Gotta start somewhere, I suppose.

So we went and along the way we started talking about baseball cards, and even some Olympic cards, which I had recently purchased from Target. I told them that we might buy some more at the store, it just depends on how much they were.

Personally, I didn’t “need” anything. But I’m always down to see my buddy at the card shop — for the record he wasn’t there today, which I didn’t know until we got there — and I wanted the kids to get their free packs. That was what this trip was really all about.

I checked out the stuff at the shop and decided on three baseball packs and then opted for a “blaster” box of Topps Olympics cards. These “blaster” boxes are the same as those sold at Target and Walmart, 8 packs for $19.99. I figured let’s have a little fun. The kids were talking about Gabby Douglas in the car anyway.

So I made the purchase and the guy at the shop — whom I do not know on any level other than being a repeat customer — grabs three random packs from his stash of Topps National Baseball Card Day packs, and then grabs three of the Kris Bryant cards — which appears to be the last card in the set — and puts the Bryant cards into magnetic holders for us, all free of charge.

Outside the shop I snap a quick selfie of the three of us in front of the store with our free packs. I wanted to tweet at Topps and subsequently enter the MLBPA Twitter contest for additional stuff.

My daughter grabbed a pack with Nolan Arenado on top, my son snatched up the one with Joe Mauer on top, which left me with Clayton Kershaw, which was the one i was hoping the kids would leave me. Kershaw is my favorite active player; he’s No. 2 all-time behind Roger Clemens on my list of favorites.

My son ripped his:

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His cards: Joe Mauer, Ichiro, Sonny Gray, Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista and Joe Abreu

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My daughter then ripped hers and immediately says, “Oooh, Daddy!”

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You see, during our conversation about Olympic cards in the car I was telling them about game-used cards — those containing pieces of shirts, uniforms, caps, etc., worn or used by players and athletes.  I also told them about autograph cards.

Out of the middle of her stack of six cards was one with ink. She spotted it instantly.

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That’s injured Yankee Greg Bird’s autograph, serial numbered 062/165. The rest of her cards: Bryce Harper, David Price, Yadier Molina, Luis Severino and Nolan Arenado.

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She was so pumped that I was super happy for her. It really didn’t really matter who the autograph was, but she was so surprised that she actually pulled an autograph.

“It’s like everything we talk about comes true,” she said.

My day was already made. The Kershaw card already made my pack a winner, but now I was curious if more ink would be found. There was none in mine, but it was a solid pack: Clayton Kershaw, Felix Hernandez, Zack Greinke, Salvador Perez, Andrew McCutchen and Francisco Lindor.

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I purchased three loose Topps Chrome baseball packs in addition to the blaster.  Shiny, yet fairly uneventful.  I did pull the Kent Maeda rookie, which is a plus.

We decided to open the Olympics blaster box at home.  There was some discussion about doing a video, and we agreed to do it for fun but my phone ran out of memory. As we got through the first six packs, there was nothing of significance. We pulled three Aly Raisman cards — which my daughter liked — but still no Gabby Douglas.  And then it happened.

In pack seven, a base card of Gabby Douglas.

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About two minutes before we got to Pack 8 I told the kids about the memorabilia cards in this product and how they were worn by the athletes and then cut and placed into the cards. I also explained how the cards were a little thicker than the others.

My son opens Pack 8, the last one in the box and says, “Dadddddddy!”

Boom.

Ryan Lochte memorabilia card.

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“Oh my god, Daddy, it really is like everything we talk about comes true,” my daughter said again.

I realize these cards aren’t worth a fortune in terms of money, but the memories of how they were acquired are priceless. And before you start asking, neither the Bird autograph or Lochte memorabilia card are for trade. They belong to the kids.

This card adventure ranks right up there with the memory of my daughter’s first baseball game, which I wrote about here almost five years ago.

Blaster Break: 2016 Topps Olympics/Paralympic hopefuls (2 hits)

Posted in Box / Pack Break with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 3, 2016 by Cardboard Icons

IMG_0351Topps Allen & Ginter baseball has been out for nearly two weeks, however I have not seen a single pack of it at retail. What I did find, however, was a single blaster of Topps Olympic and Paralympic Team Hopefuls. With the Olympics kicking off this week in Rio de Janiero, Brazil, I figured now was as good a time as any to bust one of these blasters. And as it turned out, I defied the odds greatly with two hits in just eight packs.

Here’s a breakdown of each pack with a few takeaways at the end.

 

Pack 1

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Parallel: Bronze Kami Craig; Insert: Kim Rhode

Base: Gabby Douglas (Gymnastics), Claressa Shields (Boxing), Nathan Adrian (Swimming), April Vioss (Volleyball), Adeline Gray (Wrestling), Diana Taurasi (Basketball), Sam Mikulak (Gymnastics), Candace Parker (Basketball)

Pack 2

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Parallels: Silver Candace Parker (Basketball), Bronze Perry Baker (Rugby)

Hit: Bronze Relic Paige Selenski (Field Hockey) 64/75 (odds: 1:132 packs)

Pack 3

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Parallels: Silver Phil Dalhausser (Volleyball), Bronze Leo Manzano (Track & Field)

Base: Matt Stutzman (Archery), Jake Dalton (Gymnastics), Claressa Shields (Boxing), Danell Leyva (Gymnastics), Tatyana McFadden (Track & Field), Summer Ross (Volleyball), Kim Rhode (Shooting), Ryan Lochte (Swimming)

Pack 4

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Parallels: Gold Sam Mikulak (Gymnastics), Bronze Brittney Griner (Basketball)

Base: Alana Nichols (Para-Canoe), Lex Gillette (Track & Field), Cullen Jones (Swimming), Nathan Schrimsher (Modern Pentathlon), Bob Beamon (Track & Field), Madison Hughes (Rugby), Jenny Thompson (Swimming), Carly Patterson (Gymnastics)

Pack 5

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Parallels: Silver Tom Shields (Swimming), Bronze LaShawn Merritt (Track & Field)

Hit: Bronze Commemorative Olympic Medal (1:122 packs)

Base: Conor Dwyer (Swimming), Brad Snyder (Swimming), Margaux Isaksen (Modern Pentathlon)

Pack 6

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Parallel: Bronze Jake Gibb (Volleyball) Insert: Sam Mikulak (Gymnastics)

Base: David Boudia (Diving), Brady Ellison (Archery), McLain Ward (Equestrian), Haley Anderson (Swimming), Joe Kovacs (Track & Field), Merrill Moses (Water Polo), Galen Rupp (Track & Field), Courtney Mathewson (Water Polo)

Pack 7

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Parallels: Gold Nathan Adrian (Swimming), Bronze Emily Day (Volleyball)

Base: Aly Raisman (Gymnastics), Missy Franklin (Swimming), Ryan Lochte (Swimming), Megan Rapinoe (Soccer), Abby Wambach (Soccer), Carlin Isles (Rugby), Elena Delle Donne (Basketball), Sue Bird (Basketball)

Pack 8

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Parallels: Silver Abby Wambach (Soccer), Bronze Gary Hall Jr. (Swimming)

Base: Steven Lopez (Taekwondo), Simone Biles (Gymnastics), Jake Dalton (Gymnastics), Natalie Coughlin (Swimming), Mariel Zagunis (Fencing), Kayla Harrison (Judo), Paige Selenski (Field Hockey), Rulon Gardner (Wrestling)

Takeaways:  It’s not every day you nail two hits in a single blaster. This feat seems even more improbable since you are not “guaranteed” even a single hit. What’s interesting to note is that the relic card of the Field Hockey player is like twice as thick as the Bronze Medal card.  It just seems like it would have been the other way around since the medallion is heavy and the relic seems to be a piece of a T-shirt.

Also, look at the star power in pack No. 7. That’s a star-studded Olympic lineup right there from across all sports at the Olympics.

I posted briefly on Twitter about this blaster and someone wrote back they they didn’t have much luck in theirs. My response bears repeating: The product is always hit or miss. The key is to limit how much you buy. Even though it’s not mainstream sports cards, it’s enjoyable in small portions.

In case you’re wondering, here are the posted odds for these blasters:

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Instagram Portrait: 2004 Sports Illustrated For kids Michael Phelps rookie BGS 9

Posted in Instagram Portraits with tags , , , , on March 20, 2013 by Cardboard Icons

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I usually don’t like ManuPatches, but …

Posted in Newspaperman with tags , , , , , on May 7, 2012 by Cardboard Icons

I’ve been up and down on ManuPatches over the years.

Some of them are kind of neat for player collectors, while others are just a nuisance.  I mean did we really need ManuPatches of the Rookie Card Logo? Ugh.

But I think I found one that I actually really, really like:

I pulled this from a blaster of 2012 Topps Olympic Team & Olympic Hopefuls on Monday.  They’re not super tough to pull and are not even serial numbered.  But these are done PERFECTLY.

Good job, Topps.

Topps Allen & Ginter: Making baseball irrelevant on baseball cards

Posted in Newspaperman with tags , , , , , , , on July 5, 2010 by Cardboard Icons

Since returning to the hobby in 2007, I have come to love and hate Topps Allen & Ginter. True, I missed the 2006 incarnation of the set — which featured arguably the best checklist of autographs — but from 2007 to present, the set has featured a solid share of subjects who have intrigued me. But what I’ve come to love about the product — the non baseball subjects — has also sort of made me despise it.

I’m not among the segment of this hobby that hates baseball cards of people who do not play baseball. In fact, I actually like them quite a bit. Like this 2010 card of Sig Hansen, the captain of the Northwestern fishing vessel featured on the hit television show “Deadliest Catch.” And I loved that the 2007 line features an autograph and relic featuring Olympic Gold Medal Sprinter Tommie Smith, who in 1968 made history on the track and on the podium. Of course there are some other odd-ball ones like an air guitar champion, a skeet shooter, and a dancer shown in a viral video.

But what these guys/subjects have done to this baseball product is almost make the baseball players themselves irrelevant. People who pay high prices to bust these boxes are almost certainly looking for autographs, relics and rip cards that ultimately will net them a small sum akin to a winning lottery ticket. And unless you’re pulling an ultra rare card featuring a baseball player, it is the non-baseballers who will bring the most in return.

What that has done is created a mindset among many collectors who are disappointed to pull an autograph or relic of a baseball player when in fact they are buying a pack or box of baseball cards.  Should we really be disappointed to pull an autograph of up-and-comers like Clayton Kershaw and Ryan Braun? Truth is many are disappointed because they know what they’re getting with these guys — and for the most part the card’s value is no where near what we’re paying for the box. And sadly these feelings are legitimate because of the price for which this product sells.

The 2010 version of Allen & Ginter is no different that in years past. There are subjects on baseball cards who are not baseball players — and for the most part, they are the ones who will net the most cash in return. But as it turns out, perhaps the biggest draw this year happens to be a baseball player, none other than pitching phenom Stephen Strasburg. It’s an interesting twist considering the legacy of the product. Sadly, his inclusion has done little more than drive up the price of the product and create even more situations where most collectors are disappointed with their purchase.

Card of the Day: 2004 Topps Archives All-Time Favorites Peter Ueberroth *autograph

Posted in Card of the Day with tags , , , , , , , , on November 22, 2008 by Cardboard Icons

ueberroth1The TTM bug has bitten me again. I go through phases of loving and hating the through the mail autograph process. I love receiving the autographs in the mail, but at times I hate writing requests and then receiving nothing back. I know it’s part of the game. But, all it takes is one return to re-energize anyone.

Today I present my latest TTM success, and it’s another good one in my mind. Here we’ve got a 2004 Topps Archives All-Time Favorite base card signed by former Major League Baseball Commissioner Peter Ueberroth. Continue reading

Card of the Day: 2007 Topps Allen & Ginter Autographs Tommie Smith

Posted in Card of the Day with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 8, 2008 by Cardboard Icons

It’s been four decades since Tommie Smith and John Carlos stepped on the track in Mexico City during the 1968 Olympics and made a “silent gesture” to the world. The image is one everyone has seen. The two black American athletes on the medal stand after the 200-meter dash with their glove-clad fists in the air, while Australian Peter Norman (Silver medalist) stood with them wearing the badge of the Olympic Project For Human Rights.

The Olympics and protests have gone hand-in-hand for the better part of a century, and with the 2008 Summer Olympics kicking off today, amid protests no less, I figured it was a good time to show off the 2007 Topps Allen & Ginter Tommie Smith card. Continue reading