Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Random Wax: 2018 Playoff Football

I'm a fan of these 2018 Playoff football cards so I grabbed another pack.  DeVonta Freeman highlighted this pack.  He struggled with injuries for my Falcons but I really like the look of this card with Freeman headed directly towards the camera.  Still irked that retired legends aren't a part of this set.  I'll get over it though.  My pull here was a good one and grabbed some stars and key players from this year's playoff run in Drew Brees, Todd Gurley, Jared Goff, Aaron Donald, Zach Ertz, and Chris Hogan.  I'll always look for more of these cards in future.   

This set isn't insert heavy but the two I did pull were heavy hitters in the league.  The Calvin Ridley rookie card is a good pull and gives my Falcons hope that they are set at WR2 for years to come. 

40 – Total Cards
5 – RC
1 – Air Command
1 – Thunder & Lightning

Sunday, January 27, 2019

2017 Panini Contenders Draft Picks Football Blaster w/2 Autos

I'd seen these 2017 Panini Contenders Draft Picks Football blaster boxes from time to time but hadn't picked one up.  I do have some singles I've picked up over the years though.  These blasters guarantee two autographs though I pulled players who have played a combined one game in the NFL.  This particular year's design has the "ticket" information at the bottom.  This does minimize the area for the photo some.  Still I like the design and these cards as a whole.  Contenders is a brand I really like across the sports and this is a nice set and won't hesitate to pick up more as I get the chance.  
The big draw for me is definitely the retired legends and current players in their college unis.  This blaster definitely didn't disappoint. Plenty of great players from different eras showing off their school colors.  Speaking of color, it is curious as to why they'd use a black and white photo for the Tony Dorsett photo.  It seems out of place since he played in an era when color photos were plentiful.  On the fronts of these the player's uniform number, height and weight as always, are the ticket information (Seat, Row, Sec) respectively.
These inserts are nice.  Plenty of color and again it's cool seeing these players in photos from their days in college.
I have to admit when I first saw the Bo Jackson card I thought it was a relic but it was not.  A blonde moment I guess but I love Bo and was very happy to pull him.
I really like both of these cards.  I'm a big Todd Gurley II guy and like the look of this card.  I know Fournette had a tough year but he was really good and 2017 and you'd have to think there's a chance he can recapture that magic again.  
42 – Total Cards
10 – Retired Greats
5 – Game Day tickets
4 – Old School Colors
2 – School Colors
1 – Rush Week
1 – Passing Grades
1 – Collegiate Connections
1 – College Ticket Autograph Blue Foil Parallel
1 – College Ticket Autograph Bowl Parallel #/99

Friday, January 25, 2019

2019 Topps WWE Road to WrestleMania Cards

The 2019 Topps WWE Road to WrestleMania Cards are Topps first set of the new year as they ramp up the WWE cards.  WrestleMania 35 is in April of this year.  This is a nice looking set and showcases highlights from past events across the WWE empire.  They do a good job with the photos from events and they do well with the write ups on the back.  The roster cards are simple but give us a good look at stars of the WWE.  This isn't my favorite WWE set but it is a good primer.  You won't see many DIVAS here but I've seen speculation that is due to them having their own set and not wanting to put too many of the ladies out their prior to it's release late in the year.  My favorite card here was the Alexa Bliss roster card - I doubt much explanation is needed.  Again Topps did well and I'll show off more cards below.  
20 - Total Cards
6 - RAW
4 - Wrestlemania 35 Roster
2 - Wrestlemania
2 - SmackDown Live
2 - Clash of Champions
1 - Hell in a Cell
1 - Royal Rumble
1 - Elimination Chamber
1 - Divas Evolution

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Wal-Mart Combo: 1988, 1989, and 1990 Donruss Baseball

From the Wal-Mart Ultimate Baseball Combo I received packs of 1988, 1989, and 1990 Donruss.  These are of course junk wax but the 1990 Donruss is my favorite of those Donruss set and the 1988 is right behind it.  This '88 set has nice blue and black borders that always appealed to me.  There were two packs of this set in my combo and there were plenty of stars.  I really like the Carlton Fisk card.  While not in action it is just a really nice photo of Fisk.  
   Plenty of stars in this pack including these personal collection (PC) guys.  
Molitor is another personal collection guy for me.  I like the simplicity of the MVP cards and the logo. The Diamond King Sets from the era are all-time favorites of mine.   

With my four packs of '89 Donruss I pulled maybe the biggest card of the set in the Randy Johnson rookie.  This design isn't one of my favorites   Something to do with the colors.  I do know that.
The MVP cards took a step back.  I preferred the '88 version much better than these which come off as really bland to me - no offense to Tony Gwynn.  Those goggles on Sabo.  He may not be a hall of famer but he'll always be remembered for those goggles.
Oil Can was a bit of head case but I think Red Sox fans look back on him in a good light.  And how can you not like that name.  Zane Smith is PC guy for me.  

The last Donruss from my combo were two packs of the 1990 set.  By far my favorite Donruss offering these are always fun to break.  I really like the All-Star cards in this set.  The different league logos on the cards were a great addition to make them stand out.
Yaz was the puzzle for this set and this is the puzzle card showing what it would look like when put together.  I think they are pretty cool and I have a ton of these cards.  Of course it helps that he is my #2 all-time favorite baseball player.  
Not quite the star power of the other packs but Willie was a stud in the era.  He was great to watch in the field, at the plate and on the bases.  And he is a PC guy.  I know all these are junk wax but they didn't dominate my Wal-Mart combo and were a nice trip down memory lane.

1988 Donruss (2)
30 – Total Cards + 6 Puzzle Pieces
2 – MVP
2 – Diamond Kings

1989 Donruss (4)
60 – Total Cards + 12 Puzzle Pieces
3 – Diamond Kings
2 – MVP
1 - Checklist

1990 Donruss (2)
32 – Total Cards + 6 Puzzle Pieces
3 – All-Star
2 – Rated Rookie
1 – Puzzle Photo Card
1 – Diamond King
1 - Checklist

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

2019 MLB Hall of Fame Class

Mariano Rivera was elected to the MLB Hall of Fame receiving 100% of the vote.  I’m glad to see the “I won’t vote for first time ballot guys” holdouts are gone.  Rivera is truly deserving and as dominant a closer as we’ve ever seen.  His numbers are staggering – 13X all-star, first all-time with 652 saves, career 2.21 ERA and he was even better in 141 postseason innings with a .70 ERA and 42 saves.  Eleven seasons of a sub two ERA as well as nine seasons with 40 or more saves.  Nothing short of amazing and his final year at age 43 he saved 44 games and had a 2.11 ERA.  You can’t ask for more than that from the greatest closer ever.  

Roy Halladay made into the Hall on his first ballot.  He was a dominant starter who didn’t mind going the distance (led the league in complete games seven times) earning two Cy Young awards while finishing in the top five in voting for the award five more times.  He had six seasons with a sub 3 ERA and five more sub 4 ERA seasons.  He also finished with 203 wins and 2117 strikeouts.  He was a force in the league for ten seasons and somebody no team wanted to face.  I’m happy he was voted in though it is sad they he passed away in 2017.

Edgar Martinez was voted in in his 10th year on the ballot.  A career .312 hitter he won two batting titles and finished with 2247 hits.  He led the league in on base percentage three times finishing at .418.  The knock against him was that he was primarily a DH and possibly that he didn’t reach the 3,000 hits milestone which used to be the gold standard.  Bottom line is Martinez was a great hitter and one the greatest right handed hitters of our time.  He was close to age 27 before his first full big league season so he missed out on quite a few hits despite playing until age 41.  It is nice to see him recognized for his prowess at the plate.  When you look at his stats they really do pop.   

Mike Mussina played 18 years for the Orioles and the Yankees.  He finished with an outstanding 270 wins and 2813 wins.   I have to admit those numbers surprised me.  When he was playing I just never thought of him when hall of fame discussions were had.  That may be a mistake on my part.  He had many good years though you won’t see dominant years like when you look at Roy Halladay.  A very good pitcher this was his sixth year on the ballot and there had been an up swell of support in the last few years.  I think many who look past ERA and wins at the SaberMetric world had much to do with that.  
The 2019 Hall of Fame class is a fun one and I’m happy for all the new inductees.  Next year we’ll see Larry Walker (54%) in his tenth and final year on the ballot. And where will Curt Schilling, Roger Clemens, and Barry Bonds land – all of whom will be on their 8th ballot?  Derek Jeter will be on the ballot next year for the first time and will undoubtedly be voted in.  I don’t see any other first timer with a realistic chance of making it next year.  Until next year…    

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

2018-19 Panini Contenders Basketball (2 Packs)

 I always look for any cards in the Contenders family so I was happy to see the 2018-2019 Contenders basketball on the shelves.  Not my first look at these as I had the Portland Trail Blazers in a case break earlier this month.  
I do like the looks of these cards with a few exceptions.  I like the exaggerated team logo even if it takes up a bit much of the card front.  The photos are on blank backgrounds and seem a bit bland or leaves the photo hanging as opposed to the 2017-2018 Contenders basketball which had a nice muted background behind the photo.
Feels like Vince carter is as old as David Robinson.  He is the only Hawk I pulled.  Ironically I pulled all of the Trail Blazers of whom I already have 13 team sets from this product thanks to the case break I participated in - now I have 14.  That Aldridge is one of the two green parallels though the scan doesn't show it at all.
That Playing the Numbers Game card is much nicer in hand.  Marvin Bagley III is one of the young guys Sacramento is hoping to build a future contender around.  He's averaging 12 points and 6 boards a game in his rookie season at power forward.  I would have liked to have seen a bit more variety among the inserts.  Hopefully with more packs I'll get a look at the other insert sets. 

A great Giannis Antetokounmpo card.

44 - Total Cards (2 packs)
2 - Winning Tickets
2 - Lottery Ticket
2 - Green Parallel
2 - Playing the Numbers Game
1 - Retired Great 

Monday, January 21, 2019

AFC and NFC Championship Games - Just Wow!

"Are you not entertained?"  Great games yesterday.  The first time both conference championship games have gone into overtime.  Did the Saints get hosed?  Oh yes.  That was a horrible call.  The easy answer is to say don't put yourself in that position.  Don't go silent for almost two quarters while the Rams get back into the game.  Don't call for a pass on first down with under two minutes to go and definitely don't let it go incomplete.  It will be so hard to think of this game though and not think of the non call at the end of the 4th quarter.  Still New Orleans had the ball in overtime and failed.  Congratulations to the Rams.  They adjusted on offense to the stadium noise and their offense came alive.  I'm still confused as why Todd Gurley wasn't in the game more.  The touches he did have weren't great but when you have a beast like him you have to ride him.  This is great young team and I can't wait to see what they can do in the Super Bowl.
    We keep wanting to pick against the Patriots and they keep snubbing their nose at everyone.  This will be their 8th Super Bowl appearance in the Tom Brady era and 10th overall.  Just crazy.  Give it to their defense for shutting down Mahomes and the crazy good Kansas City offense long enough to give New England a 14-0 lead at the half - and they needed it.  The KC offense finally appeared and the rest of the game was back and forth never quite knowing which was it would end.  Again we went to overtime and the Pats made sure the Chiefs revitalized offense didn't get a chance to steal the game.  This was a fun game to watch.  I was hoping the Chiefs would win even though I have a self proclaimed man crush on Michigan alum Tom Brady.  They don't call him the G.O.A.T. for nothing.  Hopefully Kansas City will be back in force again for years to come.  For now we'll see what greatness the Pats can dial up in the Super Bowl.

Area 40 Megabreak - Autos and Relics

Wes Moore over at the Area 40 blog did a megabreak over the holidays to go out with a bang as he steps back from blogging and to some extent the hobby.  First and foremost thanks to Wes for putting this on.  He blessed others with free cards while doing a massive break of tons of sports and non-sport boxes.  His fingers had to be hurting after opening all those packs.  If you weren't involved I encourage you to go to his blog just to look at all the autos and relics pulled as well as all the boxes he opened.  There were some great pulls.  I claimed the Atlanta Hawks, Atlanta Falcons and a random non-sport slot.  I received four cards.  The first is this Frances Conroy American Horror Asylum autograph from the 2016 set.  I haven't seen the show nor was I familiar with Frances Conroy.  She has done well for her career to include winning a Golden Globe Award (Six Feet Under) and multiple Screen Actor Guild Awards.  I know the show is highly regarded and my daughter is a big fan and she thought the card is pretty cool.  I love the card.  It's a cool auto and I'd like to know what is behind the drawing under her name.  There are auto variations of this card where she signed in red as well as different inscriptions.  This is definitely my favorite of those I received.  
This is a cool relic from the 2011 Topps American Pie setVincent Pastore has been around for a long time and is mostly known for playing the gangster type and was a part of the hit series The Sopranos.

I know the big names from tennis but Jill Craybas is one I'm not familiar with.  This on card autograph is from the 2008 Ace Authentic Match Point set.  I think it is possibly a blue parallel.  Craybas won one singles tournament in her career and upset Serena Williams in 2005.  I'm not a tennis guy but enjoy cards like this as I got to find her backstory which was fun.  
 This Josh Childress Ultimate Rookie Jerseys relic #/75 is from the 2004-2005 Upper Deck Ultimate Collection.  Childress was a wing who averaged 11 points and over 5 boards with Atlanta before going overseas for two years.  Atlanta offered him a good contract but he was able to make more overseas at the time so he left.  After returning he didn't have the same success and only played four more uneventful seasons. Still he was a good player with Atlanta and I'd always wished they had been able to resign him.  

Sunday, January 20, 2019

2015 Score Football Gridiron Heritage Set

This is one of the insert sets from the 2015 Score Hobby Box I opened in December.  I really liked the art and the design of these cards so I went out to eBay and purchased a complete set.
Definitely some all-time greats collected in this set.  I love Earl, and Staubach and Elway are personal collection guys.
They probably could have made the "Gridiron Heritage" font a bit smaller but I'm not deterred in my enjoyment.
The set combines art and retired greats which are two things I'm a big fan of.
Ahman Green was an odd inclusion to me though you might be able to say the same about Doug Flutie.  This is a great looking Barry Sanders card.  The light blue background works well with the Lions colors.
I like the art on that Fred Biletnikoff card.
Buffalo Bill great Jim Kelly looks great on this card.
The set totals 25 cards, all of which are shown in this post.
All three of these look nice.

The backs have a duplicate photo of the front and a player write-up.  Nothing earth shattering but good enough.  I'm happy I grabbed this set while it was in the forefront of my mind.  There are way too many of these insert sets or subsets I want to pick up but never get around to.  This was too easy.