Monday, July 31, 2017

A new franken set: Showing my love for the goalie mask

Anyone who reads this blog knows my love for hockey.   It's hard when you're Canadian by birth not to love hockey.  A bit part of hockey for me has always been the goalie masks.  The art on them is especially fascinating for me, and has been ever since I saw this mask back in the late 70's.

Leaf fans will remember one of the most exciting goalies to don the Blue and White during my lifetime, Mike Palmateer.  I even tried to paint my goalie mask with the same design, with very poor results.

Nearly 40 years later, my fascination for goalie mask art is still great, and thus I've decided to put together a set of cards devoted to goalie mask art.  500 cards, all based on the card number on the back.  No serial #'s needed. 

I love photos such as this one of Ron Hextall, card #41 from the 90-91 OPC Premier set:

Love the arrow on his forehead pointing down between his eyes, as if daring players to shoot the puck between his eyes.   That one is a keeper. 

I'm sure that anyone who is a hockey fan remembers the Hartford Whalers.  Here's Kay Whitmore's mask from the 91-92 OPC Premier set, card #182.

Would love to see the Whalers logo comeback.  How bout it Hurricanes, maybe a throwback night?

I'm primarily looking for cards with the mask/cage combo.   Most of the cards with the helmet and cage combo for goalies don't feature artwork.  There are exceptions, such as this Dominik Hasek card from 2008-09 OPC.

Card #290 from the 08-09 OPC Set
I'm sure by now you get the idea.  I'd like to build a set of 500 cards, #'d 1-500 (of course).  No rules, cards can be from any set, any team.  The better the photo, the more I'll enjoy it.  Hopefully you will as well when I show off the cards on the blog.  I've found about 5 dozen cards so far, and some of them have the same card number.  

For example, I have two cards with the #285 on the back.  Roberto Luongo of the Canucks, and Bob Essensa of the Winnipeg Jets.

Both cards have great shots of their mask, so which do I keep?  I figured to have some fun I'd post the cards on twitter along with a poll and let the universe (as small as my universe may be) decide the fate of these two cards.  The poll will be live by the time you read this, so go and find it and vote!!  (Here's the link, just in case)

I'm also going to post a list of cards I have on a separate page on the blog, so if someone out there finds something that might be of some use to me, they can send it my way.

I hope you'll have as much fun with this as I'm going to.

thanks for reading, Robert

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Inbound and down #16: Twitter ID @MyNamePickle

This is the first time I have received an envelope from anyone off of twitter, let alone someone who I hadn't even come across on twitter until a couple of weeks ago.

@MyNamePickle, whose name is Eddy by the way, is the ID of a gentleman who also PC's Joe Sakic.   He tweeted about a set of 1990-91 Kraft cards, of which one of the photos just happened to be Joe.

I mentioned that I needed the Sakic, mostly because I wanted to look for it down the road, and by replying to him I hoped that I would remember.  Eddy replied back that he only had the one copy and that he had it in his PC.  No worries here I told him, I just replied so that I would remember the card for the future.

Lo and behold, Eddy retweeted me back and said that he had an extra copy, and if I would provide him my address, he'd send the card post haste.

This showed up in my mailbox yesterday, just under two weeks after the initial encounter:

The Kraft and Panini cards have long been a sore spot when it comes to my Sakic PC.  Until recently, I didn't have any of the food or sticker issues of Joe.   I've purchased a few Panini's over the past several weeks, and now I have one of the 2 second year Kraft cards of Sakic.

It's surprising to see that the back has only stats from his playoff appearances with his junior team in Swift Current.  No NHL stats at all, even though the card was licensed by both the NHL and NHLPA.  I thought that there might be at least his rookie stats on the card, but no luck there.

I've actually added 30 cards of Sakic on my own the past couple of weeks, but none of them compare to this card. 

It's amazing what collectors will do for each other.  It's random acts of kindness like this that reaffirm my faith in the hobby.

Thank you Eddy!  This card is truly appreciated!!

Thanks for reading, Robert

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Try A Pack #5: 2017 Bowman

As far as the annual Bowman purchase goes, the "try a pack" moniker is right on the money for what I purchase every year.  One pack, maybe a three pack rack pack if I feel frisky. 

There's nothing wrong with the Bowman product, I just don't subscribe to the rookie chase like a lot of people do.  Hey, if that's what you're into for your collection, all the power to you.

For me, there's just a lot of other ways that I can spend my hobby money.  But with Bowman, there's always the one pack gamble.  This year was no different; on my Target run a few days ago, I spotted a lonely pack of Bowman among a stack of Walking Dead packs.  So I bought it and figured we'll see if we get lucky.

I had to look up what Angel Perdomo is doing in the Jays minor leagues.  He spent this summer in Dunedin playing for the high A Jays affiliate.  5-6 with an ERA just below is not bad, although a WHIP of 1.553 is a bit high for a starter.  I thought I had heard Matt Strahm's name recently, and I was right as he has just been traded to the Padres as part of the Trevor Cahill deal.

Dansby Swanson is the big name among these three, although Raimel Tapia is having a decent season as a sub for the Rockies, currently hitting .300.  Eloy Jimenez was traded recently, going to the south side of Chicago as part of the Jose Quintana deal. 

These are what drives me nuts personally, the Chrome cards.   I can see one Chrome per pack being OK and a normal part of the packing process.   But 1/3 of the pack being Chrome cards which are separate from the main set is a little annoying.  But that's just me.  What I did like is the Talent Pipeline card.  It reminds me of the multi-player cards from the 70's and 80's that focused multiple rookies from one team.  Maybe Daniel from It's like having my own Card Shop might be interested in that card.

The final card gave me a bit of justification for buying the pack.   I've long lamented my poor luck when opening packs.  Well, lucky me this time...

It doesn't get better than landing a card of the biggest name in rookies this year, Aaron Judge.  What's good about this card is I already have a plan for it, I do owe someone out there a bit for what they've sent me in the past. 

Bowman is a solid product every year for Topps and for all the rookie card collectors out there in the world.   I've never turned my nose up at it, it's just that the set builder in me has other stuff in line that's more up my alley. 

I'm sure that in 2018 I'll remember that I got lucky with my one pack this year and try again...

Thanks for reading, Robert

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Try A Pack #4: 2017 Stadium Club

I've never really turned my nose up at Stadium Club.  It's always been a great product; the photography is second to none, the player selection is usually solid and the no borders is always a winner.

So why do I usually shy away from collecting it?  The price. 

This notoriously frugal collector can't fathom trying to build a 300 card set when each pack of 5 cards costs $3.  Even the 12 card pack that I'm about to show cost me $6, so in a perfect world 25 packs of 12 cards would build the set (assuming perfect collation).  That's $150 right there.   Add in the inserts and the duplicates, and well you know where I'm heading.

Leaving the price aside, as I said before, this is a quality product, and this year's release is no different.

What always impresses me about this set is the photos.  What struck me immediately is the Randy Johnson card, top left.  That is how I will remember him, the tall imposing figure on the mound staring in for the sign with his glove covering half his face.  Love how Topps managed to catch the Circle K's above his head as well.  Miguel Cabrera's smile as he's about to tear apart another pitcher is also a quality shot.

I opened two packs of Stadium Club, and pulled a Scoreless Streak insert in both.  Chris Sale was in the other pack.

There's quite a few collectors out there I've seen that show appreciation for bat rack photos.  Seeing Whitey Ford resting on a rack of bats is a great shot.  Buster Posey's photo is a good one as well in my opinion, it looks as if he's heading to the bullpen to warm up that night's pitcher with his gear in hand. 

Power Zone is a 25 card insert set featuring some of the great power hitters of the past 3 decades.  As you can see I pulled the Griffey Jr. card, there's also other great names from the past such as Bo Jackson, Andres Galarraga and Frank Thomas. 

The odds listed for Gold foil parallels listed on the packs say 1:2.  I managed to pull a gold in both packs that I opened (the other one was Gavin Cecchini), so I believe I managed to beat the odds there.  There may be a Brave collector or 3 that wouldn't mind this John Smoltz gold parallel.  Just let me know.

It was definitely fun ripping these two packs open and getting to see first hand what others have posted on their blogs.  The photography is first rate as always, but the price point is what will deter me from putting together this set.

That doesn't mean I may not rip another pack or 2 down the line, maybe get lucky and pull an autograph or something else cool!

Thanks for reading, Robert

Monday, July 24, 2017

Stuck on you

While out on a Target run on Saturday, I did what I always do.  Hit the card aisle.

I bought a couple of packs of Series 2 flagship, just because.  I also bought a pack of 2017 Bowman to try it out (which you'll see tomorrow).  My last purchase was a little bit different though.

I bought a jumbo pack of Topps 2017 stickers and the accompanying album.  Something different to chase after for a change.

Nothing extravagant, just a little bit of fun.  The stickers aren't as stiff as I remember them to be.  While writing this post, I tried to peel one off to stick it in the album, and like always I struggled.  That wasn't a knock on the stickers, it was more of a shot at my lack of finger dexterity when it comes to peeling them off. 

I had a weird realization while picking off the first 8 stickers in the pack to scan them.

Wouldn't it be great if cards or stickers came pre-sorted?  Pulling them out of the pack in numerical order would be fantastic and save me a ton of time sorting. 

Wonder why I never thought of that while opening packs off and on over the past 40 years.

Thanks for reading, Robert

Sunday, July 23, 2017


Number 6 wears his heart on his sleeve
6 years ago today, I started this blog with a post about receiving a trade package.  1529 posts later, the blog is still kicking, even though I'm not writing as much, or as enthusiastically as I had in the past.  Maybe not quite as enthusiastic as Marcus Stroman above, but there was a time where I had a lot of fun writing and trading.

Now, I feel a little bit more like Ron Fairly, the first Blue Jays player to wear the uniform #6

A little bit older, a little bit wiser (I think).  I've seen a few bloggers come and go, made a couple of friends during my time here.  Hopefully I can stick around for a few more years and make some more friends.

The blogosphere is fun.  There are a lot of good people and a lot of good writers out there.  I'm just glad that I've carved a very small piece for myself on here. 

To all those that read when I write.   Thank you very much.

Here's to year 7...


Saturday, July 22, 2017

The Blue Jays Reorg #600: 1980 Topps Dave Stieb

This might be the only card of Dave Stieb that features him without his mustache.   I love it though, if there was one card in my Jays collection that I wouldn't complain about having a lot of, it would be this one, Stieb's 1980 Topps RC.  It actually took quite a long time for me to obtain this card, and I'd like to add at least a couple of more to my collection, which will include one for the '80 Topps set that I plan on putting together some day.

As you may or may not have noticed, I've taken a bit of break from posting on the blog.  Between being short on money due to medical expenses and stressed out from work being so crazy, sitting down to write posts of any length the past two weeks has been out of the question.  Also, buying cards has been few and far between; I actually picked up some packs and a couple of auctions last week for the first time a few weeks.  For those of you who look in on my player PC blog, you can see that my interest has really lied with those collections recently.  I'll be writing (for lack of a better word) my 600th post over there in the next few days.

Now that I have a couple of weeks vacation (for the first time in nearly 19 years btw), I'm going to try and get some work done on cleaning up the collection.  Especially putting a dent in the Blue Jays boxes.   I do have 3 more posts in the draft folder featuring the 700th, 800th and 900th Blue Jay cards that I added to the spreadsheet, and I'm hoping to add a few more in the next couple of weeks.

Time to get back into the swing of things....

Thanks for reading, Robert

Saturday, July 8, 2017

The Blue Jays Reorg #500: 2015 Topps Justin Smoak

So I noticed the other day that Chris at Nachos Grande has been using the "Great Reorg" title on his blog posts for a while, and since I don't want to step on his toes, I'm renaming my reorganization project after the Blue Jays, since that is what it's all about to begin with.

I don't see or hear a lot of rumblings from the Toronto media/fan base about any issues at first base anymore, since Justin Smoak is having one helluva first half.

Hopefully it's not just Justin blowing smoke, as his numbers are well above the norm.  

  • .299 average, he's a career .231 hitter
  • 23 HRs already, previous career high was 20
  • 55 RBIs, his career high is 59 in 2015
  • 86 hits, his career high of 108 is well within reach.
Oh yeah, he was also selected to his first all star team this year.  What's the difference?

My opinion is he's finally getting every day playing time.  He's not playing a couple of games then coming in off the bench later for a couple of games.  

If Smoak finishes with numbers comparable to what Edwin Encarnacion had done during his time in Toronto will help justify Toronto's decision to let EE walk.  It might be one of the few things the Jays brass does right this season.

thanks for reading, Robert