Friday, May 29, 2020

Free Stuff Friday

Like last Friday, I'd like to start off this post, which I know will have plenty of eyes on it, by trying to increase the traffic to two other blogs, one of which is new-ish, while the other is just new to me. First up, Jeff S, of the relatively new blog, Collecting Cards (Again), probably wouldn't mind if you took a moment to give him a follow, and maybe popped in and left a comment from time to time (who amongst us wouldn't appreciate either of these two things?). And then there's, Elliptical Man, who's blog, The View from the Third Floor, has been around for awhile, but is new to me, and since he's been kind enough to leave comments on some of my posts as of late (as well as many of yours), I figured the least I can do is to try and send people his way to hopefully do the same.

Okay, now obviously you're here for the free stuff, so let me get the usual fine print out of the way real quick, which is simply that I'm not looking for anything in return, I'll I ask is that the cards you claim be for your collection, and not your trade box.

And the other "rule" that I just added last week is that if you haven't commented on a non-FSF post in the last year or so, you will be limited to five claims per FSF post. As others have pointed out, it's not unreasonable to want, or to ask, some of the folks who are getting free cards to show up occasionally and support the blog, especially when there's not something to be gained by doing so.

Oh, and lastly, I always forget to mention this, but if I've never sent you anything before, please be sure to send me an email (jtef82 at with your address. And I'm still waiting on addresses from blog reader bruce, and Spyda-Man.

And now... the free stuff...

I got these strip card reprints in a lot some time ago, and know nothing of their origins, other then that they have "Reprint" printed on the backs. Casey tried to get away, but I got the last laugh by not going back and redoing the scan.

 2001 Fleer Greats.

 More 2001 Greats.

 Leaf Steel's, with intact peels.

 90's baseball. The top two inserts each have the faintest of wear on one corner.

This relic is supposed to be in a frame, which I didn't know when I picked it up (explains the cheap price though). The swatch has some tobacco spit, or possibly some sort of other bodily fluid on it... so that could be fun if you're into that sort of thing?

2014 Panini Black Friday. The Stroman is numbered to /499. BTW, the teams represented here are the Blue Jays, White Sox, and Yankees (just in case you couldn't tell).

 More 2014 Panini Black Friday, this time of the football variety.

Misc. football. Keyshawn is numbered to some crazy high number, and the kid to his right is numbered to /100.

A quartet of vintage football. The Kunz has a crease, and Stenerud has a wrinkle.

 2014 Panini Player of the Day.

2014 Panini Player of the Day Rookies.

 Pro Set Santa's.

'03-04 Roundball inserts.

 Some misc. basketball, the Elliott is numbered to /499.

And finally, a pair of non-sport cards. The Prometheus on the left is an embossed insert from the 90's Hercules set, and has a little bit of edge wear. The other one is a promo from just a couple of years ago.

Feel free to start claiming. And in case it's important to anyone, I will start packaging up everyone's claims from these last two Friday's sometime next week, but I might end up getting delayed a bit, because I will be starting up the 7-day challenge that Tim got rolling last week, and have no idea how time consuming that may or may not end up being.

Thanks for taking a moment to look at my page.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Looking back through Rose(Bowl)-colored glasses

If one were to ask me how I feel about the month of January, I'd probably be a little leery over answering such a seemingly inane question, but after I got past my initial suspicions, I'd let whoever it is know that in general, I'm not big fan of it!

January means colder weather, much less sunlight, longer nights, and all of the good tidings and cheer that come from the Christmas season are abandoned, and everyone goes back to being their normal butth*le selves. Oh, and did I mention the cold, yeah, I really dislike being cold.

All of that being said, the last two January's have brought one thing that I do like (a lot!), and dare I say, look forward to, this being Andy's (Stadium Fantasium) annual Rose Bowl contest -- aka, my favorite blog contest.

Between being tiered, so that someone can win upwards of three different times/prizes, to the large list of prizes that the winners get to choose from, and to the fact that there can be multiple winners, there's really nothing that a body can't not like about this contest.

Being so fond of it, you've probably guessed by now that I entered again this year, and since I'm here talking about it, you've also probably guessed that I won something. If you did guess and/or assume both of those things, good for you, you're gonna go far with that gift of yours. Anyway, yes I did enter, and yes I did win something, in fact I won two somethings!

It's been a few months now, so the details have gotten a little fuzzy, but I do know that I came in second place for the second year in a row, falling once again to my "arch-nemesis", Fuji, who's taken home the gold for the last two years.

As per usual, there was a great list of prizes to choose from, but there was one in particular that I had been eyeing since this year's contest was announced, that being...

... the lot that contained this fantastic 1960 Topps Cleveland Browns team card! There are more than a few recognizable names in here, but the two that standout the most are those of Jim Brown and Bobby Mitchell. It's not everyday that I get to add a new Jim Brown card (and I do consider this to be a Jim Brown card) to the collection, so no complaints from me.

Included with the Jim Brown, was a 1993 Score Quarterback Club pack (on the left), which contained the following:

Not a bad group, eh? Don't ask me what was going on with Jim Harbaugh though, looks like he was trying to get away from the scan.

The second prize that I selected was also a lot (most of the prizes are), that had the second pack that you saw above in it, which was some sort of sampler pack(?):

There were three different sets represented in the pack, all of which were new to me. Three of these have a mirrored finish, which means that they weren't going to scan good, no matter what I did! I was only familiar with one of these guys, but it's always fun to be able to open up a pack of something.

As fun as opening pack is, the real reason that I chose this prize was because of it's lot mate...

Does anything scream late 80's/early 90's card collecting more than mini-boxed sets (that's mini-boxes BTW, not mini-cards, although those certainly were indicative of the era as well)? I knew of at least two cards in here that I really wanted, and had never owned before, so it was kind of an easy pick.

Here are just a few of the highlights. Had I known that Steve Young was in here too, I would've said that there were three cards that I really wanted, but as such, the two that I referred to, were the Sanders and Atwater rookies. It's really neat to own this Barry Sanders after all of these years, it's one of those cards that I wanted as a kid, but seems to have been much more expensive back then.

As much as I love this contest, I do have one complaint, and that's in regards to the low turnout that occurred the last two years. I get that it's a football contest, and most of the blog-o-sphere is the "baseball or bust" or sort, but most of the prizes are baseball related, so it shouldn't be that hard to rattle off three guesses and hope for the best, especially too since by doing so, you're also supporting an endeavor of one of your own. Heck, even someone like me, who hasn't watched a current sporting event in almost five years (I do read recaps and occasionally watch highlights though), is able to show up and pull a couple of guesses out of my backside... it's not that hard!

Many thanks once again to Andy, not only for the contest itself, but also for all of the generous prizes that are offered up. Things are still sort of sketchy right now, so who knows if there'll even be a Rose Bowl next year, but knowing what comes with Rose Bowl season, I'm certainly hoping that one will be held.

Thanks for taking a moment to look at my page.

Friday, May 22, 2020

Free Stuff Friday

[Editor's note: I just wanted to give a quick head's up to everyone about a new blog on the block called, The Hobby Love, and was hoping that maybe when you got done with your claims (if you're making any), you'd consider popping over and showing Jeremy some "hobby love" by giving his blog a follow.]

Alright, the PSA's been covered, so let's get to this week's free stuff... but first... a couple of quick reminders:

If you didn't see Wednesday's post (and looking at the numbers, I can see that you didn't), I thought I'd mention again that since I didn't do a FSF last month (the end of the month came and went before I even realized it), I'm making it up by doing two this month, today, and next Friday.

And as per usual, I'm not expecting anything in return for whatever you claim, all I ask is that your claims be on cards for your collection, and not your trade box.

Also, after some of the critiques that have arisen in recent months, I'm making one small change to the way I do things, this being that people who haven't commented on any non free stuff posts in say the last year or so, will now be limited to five cards per FSF post. As others have pointed out, it's not unreasonable to want, or to ask, some of the folks who are getting free cards to show up occasionally and support the blog, especially when there's not something to be gained by doing so.

Oh, and lastly, I always forget to mention this, but if I've never sent you anything before, please be sure to send me an email (jtef82 at with your address.

First up is group of 1987 Hygrade All-Time Greats. Please note that a few of these have a tiny bit of edge wear. Update: Dickey, Kiner, and both Jackie's have been claimed.

Next up is a selection of 1978 TCMA The 1960's. Since there are no names on the front, starting from the top and going left to right, we've got: Dick Stigman, Ed Roebuck, Mike White, Bill Spanswick, Dave Stenhouse, Jim Davenport, Chuck Hinton, Ron Kline, and Harry Craft. Update: Spanswick and Mike White has been claimed.

Another batch from the same set, this time featuring: Dick Farrell, Jim King, Joel Gibson, Arnold Earley, Ron Hunt, Harry Bright, Howie Koplitz, Earl Francis, and Dick Howser. Update: Earley, Gibson, Hunt, Bright, and Koplitz have been claimed.

Normally I'd have more vintage to choose from, but this terribly cut 1963 Jello is the only one I've got up this week. Update: Leon's been claimed.

Tribute sets are always fun, yes? Update: Foxx, Evans, Rice, Hubbs, Seaver, and Williams have been claimed.

This scan of 2016 Diamond King inserts came out terribly, and I don't know if you can read the names or not, so from left to right there's: Frankie Frisch, Bill Dickey, Tony Lazzeri, and Rogers Hornsby. Update: These four have been claimed.

Another set that didn't want to scan well are the Golden Idol parallels from 1994-95 Topps, but trust me when I say that they look great in person. Update: All of these have been claimed.

More poorly scanned Golden Idols. The unreadable names in here are: Terry Dehere, Todd Day, and Chris Morris. And these too are in fine condition, despite what you're seeing here. Update: All of these have been claimed.

And finally, a mish-mash of greats! Update: Chesbro, Leonard, Rose, Ford, Munson, and Rizzuto have been claimed.

That'll do it for this week, feel free to start claiming whatever tickles your respective fancies.

Thanks for taking a moment to look at my page.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Free Stuff leads to free stuff

When I started doing the Free Stuff Friday posts earlier this year, I did so with two objectives in mind, those being to get rid of some unwanted cards, and to hopefully connect with some more people.

The finding of new homes for some of my unwanted cards has gone well, most people do like free things after all, but even so, I was admittedly surprised by the overall response to this idea.

Me wanting to connect with some more blog people (readers and writers) has worked out fairly well too. I haven't kept track of how many "new" people I've had contact with since starting the posts, but it has been more than a few, and for that I couldn't be more grateful. I really like our "little" blog community, and am always thrilled when I get the opportunity to chat with anyone in it, new or old.

There is one thing though about starting up those posts that I hadn't counted on, and that's that other bloggers would end up being interested in doing them as well, who woulda thunk? I know that there's been a little backlash over all of the free stuff posts, but I don't see it, and think that's been really great to see, especially in recent months when other than buying things at inflated prices online, most folks haven't been able to add a lot of new cards to their collections.

As I said, a number of bloggers have jumped on board the Free Stuff train (there's always room for more BTW, I can climb out onto the roof if need be), but the first to do so was, Brian, he of the uber-intelligent sounding blog, Highly Subjective and Completely Arbitrary. I think everyone is aware by now of just how a good of a job Brian has done with the weekly giveaways, so good in fact, that I'd argue that the Free Stuff Friday's are now his more the then anyone else's. And if somehow you weren't aware of what he's been doing, I'd highly recommend that you don't waste any time becoming aware!

Anyways, Brian was also one of the first people to claim some cards from my inaugural Free Stuff post back in... whenever it was? I don't recall what he claimed but whatever it was, it wasn't anything that spectacular (otherwise I wouldn't have been getting rid of it), so I most certainly wasn't expecting anything in return, but sure enough, a week or so later and there was a PWE from Brian sitting in my mailbox.

I hadn't been fortunate enough to exchange cards with Brian before this particular, well, exchange, and we had only had minimal contact during the previous year's Secret Santa, so had I no idea what to expect from him, and even if I had, this PWE still would've earned it's audible Wow!

The first card for my, at the time, newly started Babe Parilli collection -- well, it's the second, but the first one was gotten years ago, and that one ended up getting scribbled on. It doesn't get a lot of love, but I'm a big fan of the '59 Topps set, and was collecting it at one time, but like every other set I was working on, it's been scrapped for player collections, and the leavings are waiting to be sold at some point.

Sam was the key component in Tom Landry's newly created 4-3 defense for the Giants during the 50's, was responsible for the Redskins rise from mediocrity in the 60's, is in the pro football HOF, as well as the college football HOF, and yet you almost never hear his name mentioned these days?

Considering that the NFL is only as big as it is because of gambling, it seemed rather hypocritical of them to have kept Alex Karras out of the HOF for so long just because he bet on some games (not his BTW) during his playing days. And although it is great that they finally rectified their wrong, it would've meant more had they done so before his passing.

As you can see, this PWE really packed a punch, or in Fred's case... a kick!

It's taken me awhile to get to them, but many thanks again to Brian for the great (and they truly were great) group of cards, I would've never thought that this envelope would be that loaded!

********************* Bonus Brian related content **************************

As mentioned, Brian's been killing it with his weekly giveaways, and like many other people, I've put in a few claims, the first batch of which arrived just a couple of weeks ago:

We've got a modern base card, a vintage base card, an insert of a fan-favorite, and an insert of an all-time great; all of which fit right into new(ish) player collections. Full disclosure though, I already had a copy of Lou's 1970 Topps, but saw this one being offered, and decided that I wanted another one.

Thanks to Brian for this batch too!

And finally, on a semi-related note, I kind of F'd up last month with the Free Stuff Friday. The plan has been to do them on the last Friday of the month, but the last day of April fell on Thursday, and I didn't realize it until the week of, so no FSF was held last month. But to make up for it, I'm going to be doing one this Friday, and next Friday, and will be combining the claims. And just so no one has to check a dozen times throughout the day, these will be going live somewhere between 5-5:30pm CST, and will hopefully contain lots of fun stuff for everyone.

Thanks for taking a moment to look at my page.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Pack Sampling: 1998-99 UD Ionix

It's not uncommon these days to hear collectors lament over being priced out of "The Hobby". This particular complaint isn't by any stretch of the imagination, a new one, but is being magnified more by our modern social media driven world.

I'm not sure if these carping collectors are just new to the world of cards, are too young to remember, or have just forgotten, but expensive packs and/or boxes have been around for awhile now, and today's pack is a perfect example of this not-so-new phenomenon.

Were you to travel back to 1998 (where do I sign-up?), go to a card shop, and pick-up a pack of the newly released UD Ionix, you'd find yourself holding a $5 ($4.99 on the pack) pack -- and that was five bucks for just four cards by the way!

1998-99 was around the time that my interest in cards started to wane, although it would be another two more years before I'd take my decade-long sabbatical. I'm not sure if the increasing pack prices had anything to do with my diminishing interest, but I do know that I never bought any of those "expensive" packs that started becoming more common in the mid 90's. Five dollars for a pack? No thanks, I could get two packs of Topps for that price... and end up with a whole heckuva lot more cards to boot!

Even though 20+ years have passed, and I have few more bucks to spend on cards nowadays, I still wouldn't pay $5 for a four-card pack, even a pack of this "vintage" -- in fact this particular pack only set me back a dollar. However I do have to give public thanks to my mom for finding it, as it was her that called me from one of those town sales that are oh so popular here in the south, to ask me if I was interested in any of the $1 packs that vendor was selling.  This was about two years ago now, so the details have gotten a little foggy, but I do recall her finding today's pack, as well as a couple from the 1998-99 Black Diamond basketball set.

I don't know how I managed to wait so long to open this pack, but I did, and since all things basketball from this era have shot through the roof in recent years, I would imagine that this will have ended up being the only pack of Ionix that I'll ever be opening.

So, did I pull one of those elusive MJ autographs? Or maybe a Warp Zone? I don't know, I guess you'll have to scroll down a little further to find out.

Even though I've never opened up a pack of these, I have found quite a few in dime boxes over the years, so I already knew what to expect design-wise. I'm fan of this set's look, but unfortunately my scanner doesn't seem to share the same opinion, as it ended up washing out a lot of the finer details, as well as the red section on the top, and near the bottom. I snagged a pic from COMC, to try and show you what the cards are supposed to look like...

... but their picture wasn't much better, although the red shows up a little better, and you can see that there is an image to be seen through the slats.

I like the backs on this set too, they're certainly not great for stats, but I find them to be very pleasing aesthetically, so I can live without a more complete stat line.

Some people might not like that the checklist is only 80 cards deep, but having the set made up of mostly established stars and rookies doesn't bother me all that much, I do however have to point out that this was one of those sets where Upper Deck went a little overboard with their MJ love, as he's got at least a dozen different cards in here -- which seems like a bit much for an 80-card set.

Hey... it's a Houston hot pack!

Nuts, no MJ autograph! I'm okay with this pack though, all four cards were of guys that I collect, and all of said four cards were new to me, so no complaints there.

Even though I was happy with what I got, can you imagine paying five bucks for this pack back in 1998? No? Me either. And what about paying whatever crazy price these packs are going for now, and ending up with these four cards? Talk about your disappointment! For a dollar though, it was a pretty solid pack, and I certainly wouldn't hesitate to buy any more for the same price, not that I think this will ever happen again, but you never know...

Thanks for taking a moment to look at my page.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Cards on Cards sends LOTS of cards!

Was it last year? Or was it earlier this year? Hell, I can't remember, and I guess it doesn't really matter when it was, all that matters is that at some point in the past, Kerry, he of the long-running Cards on Cards, mentioned that he was fond of, and collecting, the 2005 and 2006 editions of Topps Turkey Red -- base, and parallels.

I don't know how anyone else felt about him mentioning this, but I was both happy, and relieved. You see I had had a stack of '06 red Turkey Red's sitting on a shelf for months (from yet another abandoned set build), wondering what I was going to do with them. They weren't sellable, and I hadn't seen anyone else wanting them, so I was feeling like I was going to be stuck with them fr awhile, or at least I was until Kerry's post came along.

I'm usually pretty slow to get things shipped, but I was motivated this time, so it didn't take me long to package up the stack of 60-70 (80?) Turkey's, along with a few other Kerry-esque things that I had laying around, and send them off.

I was feeling pretty good after that too, and not because I was able to send a bunch of cards to a fellow blogger, don't get me wrong, that was nice too, but the good feelings were coming from being able to get rid of so many unwanted cards in one fell swoop -- which has been a goal of mine this year (hence starting up the Free Stuff posts), and looking at the rate I'm going, probably next year as well.

I guess I shouldn't have been surprised when a chunky bubble mailer showed up from Kerry less than a week later, but I still was. I would soon find out that this rotund return-fire was made up of nothing but basketball cards, lots and lots of basketball cards, 119 to be exact... so much for getting rid of some cards!

When someone sends this many cards, it's kind of hard to weave any kind of narrative into the post, and for me it's difficult too because I don't know how many to show, I mean the entire package would be a bit much (even for me), but just doing three or four seems like it would be disrespectful to the person who sent the cards. So, I guess since Kerry pretty much just went through the list of players that I collect, and nearly hit all of them, this is just gonna be an oversized "look what I got" post, broken down mostly by player...

I don't know what set the Essential Legends insert is from (nor do I care), but I got Dennis Rodman out of a dime box last year, and now Kerry sent another handful or so of them -- if I was so inclined, I might actually think about building the set, as they're really attractive in hand.

In case you couldn't tell, there were a number of '04-05 Gold Medallions in this mailer, all of which were my firsts from that set.

Should've scanned the horizontal cards horizontally, but the gold Iverson does look kind of neat standing up.

This package arrived about a week before Kobe died, thankfully Kerry didn't send anything that the masses were overpaying for at the time, although if he had, I would've sent it back, as he couldn't have predicted what was gonna happen right after these were sent.

The top two were my first cards of Tony Parker in a Hornets jersey, and man do they look weird!

GP in a Lakers uni still doesn't look right either.

A bunch of these Studio's were included as well, nice set, the background has a kind of hologram/refractor vibe going on, which of course doesn't scan well.

With all of this MJ stuff going on right now, I've seen a lot of talk about who's the best ever? Who was the best at this? Who was the best at that? Well, here's a not so hot take... The Reign Man gets my vote for best in-game dunker ever! Oh, and speaking of Michael...

I'm not entirely sure if this empty pack was included for collecting purposes, or was just being used to protect the cards, but either way, I'll take it. I've started saving some empty wrappers, mostly those of the 90's variety, and it's been kind of fun to do so (finally found a good use for card savers!), I just wish that I would've starting saving them much sooner... like back in the 90's!

Judging by all of the Pippen cards in my COMC watchlist that have sold, or bought and are being attempted to flip for 20x what the normal going rate is, Scottie must be getting some love in that MJ series... it's about time! I say it all the time, but no Pippen, equals not a single ring for Jordan. There was no way that Michael was ever going to win anything by himself, not in that era, when there were still more than three teams who had a legitimate chance of winning it all.

It's really fun getting a base card and it's parallel in the same package.

Lot and lots of LA's! The bottom left is one of those faux blank back parallels, not something that I would normally go out of my way to buy, but I'm grateful for any free one's (of players that I collect) that get sent my way.

Not only did Kerry send a large sampling of players, but he also (in case you haven't noticed yet) sent representatives from many different sets, so I might as well give a small sampling of those too...

You can't go wrong with the 90's.

More 90's is even better!

Aughts and teens have their appeal as well.

I think I've only shown about half of what was sent, but you get the idea. Apparently Kerry's been sitting on some cool sh*t, and I'm very grateful that he was willing to send some of it my way. Also, I don't know if all of these came from packs or not, but if so, Kerry has considerably better pack opening mojo than I do, mine seems to have taken a permanent vacation -- but if can keep receiving mailers like this, it doesn't need to bother coming back, because this stuff is better than anything that I'd be pulling from packs anyway.

Thanks for taking a moment to look at my page.