Saturday, December 16, 2017

Buying "Christmas Cards" for others leads to presents...for me!

Earlier today I hit my favorite local shop in a mad-dash scramble to get my Blogger Secret Santa out in the mail. I cut it close this year, which was not something I wanted to do but had some unexpected medical expenses pop up...not something you ever want to have to deal with, and fixing it is going to be hanging over my head for a few months. I am not going to say who I got or what I got them, but I will say I was successful in more ways than one. But, since I plan to surprise the people I found stuff for, I'm not going to talk about that, either.

What I am going to talk about, however, is the great stuff I found for myself, but first, some USPS delivered surprises.

Hey look, it's me! Trading Card Database member C2 Cigars- who I met in September, the only member of my favorite website I've met in person- made up a set of cards for some of the regular contributors to the Database. This is actually my second card- I made up my own, which Gavin printed for me a few years ago. This is the only one where I took the photograph though. Even better, one of the members ever gave me a PID on there (Personal ID) which every athlete and non-sports person to have a card gets. How cool is that? Now I'm debating listing the card I had Gavin make up for me. Sure, it's a production run of 2, and I have both, but is it any different than a 1/1 that I pull from a pack? Hey, I licensed it, too! :) (Perhaps, if the proper paypalling was done, Gavin could be persuaded to print more of my card?)

Anyway, that was cool. Not totally a surprise because I knew it was coming, but I also got one of Capt.Kirk and C2 himself, plus the checklist.

I got a HUGE, heavy box from Database member bevans. I've traded with Brad a few times but I wasn't expecting anything this huge. It turned out to be some cards, which I have not even opened yet, but books...lots of books, about hockey! I didn't know the NHL published their own magazine. I do now! I'm going to read them all from cover to cover, but I may not get to them until next year. I'm currently reading the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles I got from the library, and since I have to give that back, I think I will finish that first. Also included is a copy of the OPC card stories book, which I've heard good things about, but hadn't actually seen before. I expect I will learn a lot from all these books.

Now, I sort of expected to buy some basketball cards for myself today, and I did. 27 of the Panini Player of the Day set, including some of the big names (Kevin Durant, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kyrie Irving, etc) I also picked up an oddball perforated Michael Jordan card from 1991-92 Hoops. I have not IDed it yet, but it may be from the page issued at a Bulls game that year. I wasn't expecting to get any vintage hockey, but I did...I knew it would be there, it always is, but I said to myself "save the money, you have medical bills looming" and of course, I have no real willpower when it comes to not buying cards, and came home with this:
 3 cards from 1974-75 Topps, including my first Kansas City Scouts card! The team failed miserably in Kansas, moved to Colorado, failed miserably there too, then moved to New Jersey, became the Devils, and are still there thriving. I had seen this card on The Shlabotnik Report blog and wanted a copy, and now I have one! I LOVE team logo cards. When it's my first card of a defunct team that is mostly forgotten? Even better!
3 cards from 1971-72 O-Pee-Chee! I previously had one from the set. Two of the people, Hillman and Darryl Edestrand, are new to my collection.

My first two cards from 1966-67 Topps! Both have issues- this card has some rather poorly placed wax damage on the front, and the other card, not pictured, (#38 Tom Williams) has some water damage. But, all 8 cards from the 60s and 70s combined cost me only $10! The 71-72 OPCs are pretty much perfect, too. The Jacques Laperriere shown was marked $5 in and of itself, so I am very happy.

It wasn't just vintage hockey, though...

A huge stack of 2001-02 Heads Up, one of Pacific's brighter sets, the entire card is printed on holofoil starbursts. It looks really cool in hand. I added more than 25 of them to my collection!

I also added a complete set of 1989-90 Marine Midland New York Rangers cards, which, even though they are not all in great shape, become my first completed regional promo for the sport! I know there are new people to my collection in the cards, but not a single one was posted to the Trading Card Database, so getting them posted took precedence over figuring out how many are new to me.
Not a new person. I used to love Chuckles candies when I was a kid...when these cards were new. Now, I wouldn't be able to eat them anymore even if they still made them. Not if I didn't want know, die.

Lindy Ruff is definitely new to my collection. He's currently the top assistant coach for the team.
Card back gives full career stats. Each card is slightly oversized- big enough they will not fit in a standard penny sleeve, but they WILL fit in an oversize sleeve made for thick cards. Glad I had some on hand because some of the cards have something sticky on them- don't know what, but it looks like they were stuck to something like a book at one point. I don't normally store any of my cards in plastic but in this case I will make an exception.

I'm pretty sure back in the day, during the time these cards were issued, we had an account with the now long-gone Marine Midland bank. Don't recall ever being offered cards! They did sets for the Rangers, Knicks and Islanders...don't know if they did any others in other sports, but I would not be surprised.

Less than an hour now until the 100th classic outdoor game between the Senators and Canadiens. The Outdoor games are fun so I am looking forward to that...expected to be 3 degrees F out at the start of the game.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

My favorite card of 2017

P-Town Tom is running his favorite card contest again this year, and it got me to thinking about this year's releases. It was a tough one for me because, as a general rule, I was not all that impressed by this year's releases. It's not the first time that I felt a lull- 2000 and 2001 were both down years in my opinion, for example. Compound that with the fact that I bought less cards this year than in quite a while. I got plenty of new to me cards, lots of which came from fellow bloggers. But new to me is not new.

I looked through the 2017 releases from my three sports, and I actually am going to go way out in left field.
I too considered the rally monkey that Night Owl posted, one of the few baseball cards I've actively chased. (and was given to me by a Trading Card Database member) But something else struck more of a chord with me, and it's not even technically a card.

It's actually a sticker. Panini Sticker #423 in the 2017-18 set in fact.

Why do I choose this card, over say my first pack-pulled NHL autograph, (which I pulled in April but still have not posted about yet! For shame) or any of the great NASCAR releases, or any other NBA card? Simple, really. It's because of this history aspect.

To my knowledge, this is the first and only "card" to be dedicated solely to the NBA's Championship trophy. Other sports have had their Championship trophy commemorated on cards. I even have some in my collection. I only decided to count the Panini stickers as officially part of  my collection in 2016. I'm glad I did, as the 2017-18 NBA set is fantastic. The largest set Panini has ever produced, including cards, it includes coaches, 8 of whom never having appeared on a card before, and then this. Plus is was the first release to include the rookie class of 2017-18. The fact that it's mirror foil and curves like a snake going up a switchback mountain road does not even really matter. The fact that the NBA's trophy finally gets a card of it's own...that takes the cake.
(There are cards showing players holding it, but those are player cards that happen to include the trophy)

Stay tuned, because my last post of the year will be a 12 card countdown of my favorite new addition of each month of 2017. I better work on composing it now, because I have a lot of cards to choose from, this has been an incredible year, despite, as I said, not actually purchasing many cards. It'll go live December 31st.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

My First NBA Insert...sort of

It's funny how memory works some times. This card, from 1995-96 Hoops, I remember it as my first NBA insert...but it cannot possibly be, because each pack of 1995-96 Fleer promised an insert. And since I discovered and began collecting the NBA from a pack of 1995-96 Fleer that my mom gave me, I MUST have gotten an insert in that pack.

In reality, my first NBA insert is lost to history...and this one has been, in my mind, the First for so long that I will probably keep thinking of it that way.

I recently scanned it and have been meaning to write up a post about it. It turns out I scanned it April 3rd. Writing the post December 12th. Speed is not my forte.

Someday I should look for the rest of the cards in this set. It's only 10 cards, and I have 4 of them. I also have Shaquille O'Neal, Jamal Mashburn and Charles Barkley. As for the design, why would Hoops go with pink and purple marble, with some blue holofoil thrown in for good measure? Because it was 1995!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Did Topps predict the Figet 2004?

Predicting the future is hard work. Many predictions are wildly inaccurate. (Remember the hype of Y2K?) But is right.

The "fidget spinner" is the toy fad of 2017...they are everywhere, with literally everything available stamped on them. This is a fairly new concept...or is it?

Take a look at the logo for Topps' Rookie Matrix set, the final Topps release of the 2003-04 NBA season. Does that logo not look like a fidget spinner?

OK, so it may be a stretch to say that Topps invented the concept 13 years ago. But the similarity was enough that, as I was scanning it, it inspired me to write this post. And it's been fairly light lately in post creation, so I went with it.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Box Break Review: 2016-17 Grand Reserve

I normally would not purchase a box like originally retailed for $240. But, during the Dave & Adam's Black Friday sale, it was marked down to $99 and I took a chance.
This arrived with the box of Upper Deck Portfolio where I pulled that spectacular Wayne Gretzky card from the other day...I'll get back to that at the end.
Even with this box selling for less than half of the original price...I was disappointed with it.

This is the base card. It's a photo cutout of a player over a patterned field of white, with a team colored marble border. It's basically a whole lot of nothing. At least the photos were actually taken during the 2016-17 season.
I got 18 of the 100 base cards. The Grand Reserve logo and the jersey number and position octagons are embossed. All the cards are curved from top to bottom, probably a result of the embossing in the white nothingness.

You are promised one relic and two autographs per box. this was my relic.
Ouch. I've already redeemed it online and am now waiting for Panini. The one thing good is that Panini is the best the hobby has ever seen with redemption cards. When it arrives, it will be my first card of Kuzminskas, unless I get one for Christmas. The Knicks cut him a few days before I got the box, a mistake...he contributed more to the team than some of the players they kept. (Looking at you, Joakim Noah). The good news is, when this card arrives, it will be numbered to 25 and have four pieces of unidentified relics- I really wish Panini would bother to tell you what you are getting. Unless it's a piece of basketball which is totally unmistakable you really have no idea what you are getting. It should be autographed, too.

My two promised autographs:

Both are a combo of etched and mirror foil, so they don't scan well. They look nice in hand. Both are on-card and numbered to 75. Both are rookie season issues. It's only my second card of Willy Hernangomez, and my only one from his rookie season.

Here are my other inserts, which are also etched, but aren't serially numbered...or all that impressive, to be honest.

The Dominating Performances insert has numbers, Unbreakable card has a letter-number combo, while the Startups card has letters. Some indecision there on Panini's part. Personally, just having letters on a non-hit card is the stupidest thing in the hobby, and I'm glad Panini doesn't usually go that route, like Upper Deck and Topps did in the mid-2000s.

And...that's it. $99 on that. I figured I would take a chance and treat myself, because it's been a while since I did a box like this...and now, once again, I am reminded why I don't.

The Portfolio box, which I can't do a Box Break Review on yet as I've not finished opening it- cost almost 2/3rds less, at $35, provides much more cards (160 are promised, but probably less since that Gretzky was so thick only three cards were in that pack) and is much more fun. It's a real, collectible set, whereas Grand Reserve is one of the many memorabilia and autograph delivery systems with a token base set thrown in to keep people like me from whining too much.

While there is a place in the hobby for showcase sets, the problem is that is now almost all that Panini does for the NBA. We get a couple of real sets per year- Hoops, Donruss, Prestige- sometimes Excalibur and Complete- all of which are too short and ignore about 2/3rds of the NBA's players, by the way- but most of the focus are on these style sets. Honestly, it's why I am not posting much about the NBA as I am about hockey. I refuse to spend $240 before shipping on stuff like this Grand Reserve box- that would be insane. This set probably won't appear in my collection again...I have the Kevin Love base card coming via COMC, and hopefully my redemption card will show up some day- I've had two outstanding for over a year now, due to the players not bothering to sign the cards- but I won't be spending my money on this set again....not $99. If they mark it down to $30 I might...with only 100 base cards, and 18 of them coming per box, completing the set wouldn't be too hard...but then again, the base set is terrible, so (I can't believe I'm actually typing this) I am not sure I even want to. There's simply less NBA that's truly possible to collect...and there's not a darn thing I can do about it.

At least there weren't any duplicates.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Vegas Golden Knights join my collection!

I posted last week that my local Target had either sold out or never put out 2017-18 Upper Deck Series 1. I had to go back today (December 2nd)- when I opened my box of Christmas lights, I was quite surprised to find model car stuff in the box. So a new box was in order. Since I simply can't/won't go to Target without going to the card aisle, I was surprised to see that there were a couple of 32 card fatpacks hanging there...I snapped up one, and they had put out Hoops blasters, surely a restock, which I also got one of.
4 cards in...
My very first Golden Knights card came out of the pack!

This is something I've been looking forward to for 13 months I'm naturally pretty thrilled. As you may recall, as I related a couple weeks ago when I posted about my anniversary with the sport. I got into hockey because of a thread on the Trading Card Database, about the Golden Knights' logo announcement. I put on NHL Network to see what it looked like, and I got hooked. BIG TIME. Not a day has gone by where the NHL was not a part of it...a large part of it.
I've only pulled out 11 of the 32 cards so far, as I only bought one pack I want to spread it out for a while. So far, only one of the 11 people were new to my collection.

I'm going to be collecting hockey cards for a very long time. The rest of my life, is the plan. The Golden Knights will always have a place in my memory for being the team that got me into it, even if the Rangers (none out of the pack yet) are "my team"...not to say I can't have more than one team. This will always be the first...

It is my second card of Brayden McNabb.

Of course, since nothing good can happen without something bad happening, my brother's car almost caught fire on the way home, and is headed back to the shop tomorrow. It's always something. The smell of burning tire/brake line is not a pleasant one!

On a card related note, I got my Secret Santa package today. I won't open it until Christmas Eve, and will post about it then. I hope to get mine out in the mail next weekend. Was going to go buy the present tomorrow, but with our only means of transportation sidelined again, that will have to wait. If I have to pay a little extra to get it delivered before Christmas, I will.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Largest outgoing mail day since I started Cardboard History

Just a quick post today. I started this thing in November 2014 (and I just realized I missed marking the anniversary AGAIN) and today, December 2nd, 2017, is the largest outgoing mail day I've had since then. And hopefully this isn't everything. I ran out of boxes and packing material to get those pages I promised last month in the mail. 4 of these items are going to card bloggers. the other two to traders on the Trading Card Database.

I've still got three more things I want to pack up, plus a possible NPN to Panini, (if it didn't expire already) before I actually get the stuff in the mail tomorrow. Not sure I will, and there won't be an updated photo most likely. But checking your mailboxes.

I am a little worried about what all this is going to cost. If it's too much I may not be able to ship the other two boxes of pages I promised until January. Only the small bubble mailer is a trade. The rest are gifts or in a couple of cases thank yous to people who have sent me stuff.

Update after original writing: it cost $58, and I was able to get two other things packed up and in the mail, including the pwe and a simple two card mailing.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Begun, the NHL duplicate box has

I wasn't planning to write a post tonight, (still on a high from yesterday's card pull) but this is sort of important. I've officially started my NHL duplicate box today. Since I began collecting them, I've been shuffling the duplicates around in boxes mixed with other cards, or small boxes- I've outgrown three of them already. I prefer to store my duplicates in Avon boxes- which I can't get anymore. My mom used to be in Avon specifically to get these boxes. When they discontinued using them, she stopped doing Avon. These are the boxes I prefer to use for my duplicate cards. My NBA duplicate stash takes up 8 of them...NASCAR one...a mixture of everything else in another. Now, the NHL officially has one.
I'm not ready to put up a tradelist or move any of these yet, but I want to remember this date. I have no idea when I began using them for the NBA, but it was probably around the year 2000. I planned to start putting the cards in the box on the exact 1 year anniversary of watching the sport, but I didn't get to it until now. The oldest card in the box is from 1979-80, the newest 2017-18, as can be seen on the bottom right. Since some of the cards I was given in 2015 are not in the greatest shape, I don't want to trade any of the cards I've gotten now until I am sure they are not upgrades. Not sure when I will get to that. Eventually, when I am sure, the undamaged cards will either be listed on my tradelist here, or sent to COMC.

One of my planned things to do in the future is totally sort my NBA boxes- I have not been through them in years, other than the one I have been working on for a while. Most I have not seen inside of since 2003 or so. I've posted about them a little bit already. Since there are 8 of them, that's a lot of cards to sort. I have no idea how many cards each box holds. I think it's about 2000, but that's a totally wild guess. Maybe if I remember I will count the contents of one of them someday.

Here's the one I've been working on for a couple of years now- it's got most of the duplicates I've gotten since I got back into the NBA, minus the ones I've sent to other collectors, COMC or put on my tradelist on the Trading Card Database.
I had forgotten that I should store the cards the other way in the box, not remembering until I looked in the boxes in my storage unit. At some point I'll rotate these. I should have done it today as I had all the cards out of it trying to find one I promised in a trade on the Database but I was pretty flustered so it never occurred to me. If you look on the bottom left you'll see the damaged Juwan Howard card I posted about earlier this month.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Did I REALLY just pull this card?!?

If I'm dreaming right now, please, don't wake me up!

I purchased a box of Portfolio from the Dave & Adam's Black Friday sale, and I've opened less than half of it...I was truly surprised to pull this card!

Without hyperbole, this may be the best card I've ever pulled. It's certainly my best Hockey pull. It's also only my second hobby box in the sport!

I'm still amazed and can barely believe I pulled this. WOW!

That's two pieces of leather and two fabric. I don't know for sure what kind of material the leather is, as I'm still learning about hockey, but all I can think of is the boots?  Maybe the gloves? I wish they told you what it was on modern cards.

By the way, it will NEVER be for sale, ever, under any circumstances!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Facebook Finds

I'm in a lot of card groups on Facebook, but I rarely make any purchases. I'm not sure why because there is always something interesting for sale, I just don't do it often. This month I actually made two purchases and thought I would write about them. Both were on the NASCAR card forum I am a member/moderator of, although the first one was actually a purchase of basketball cards.

One member posted that he had some basketball he wanted to trade for NASCAR. It turned out I didn't have anything he wanted, so I just bought the cards I wanted from him.
This unlicensed oddball is a highlight. It was part of an 18 card set that included some college cards. They also did a multi-sport set. I had never seen it before. Although it didn't scan that way, the border is gold foil.
 I don't have a lot of cards from the time period of 2006-07 through 2010-11, and I got three singles from the 09-10 season. This is actually my first base card from 09-10 Certified, although I did have an insert from the set previously.
 I have a few more cards from 09-10 Classics, but less than 10. There was also a Russell Westbrook card from 09-10 Threads but I didn't scan it as it was already done on the Database. I got it mixed in with all the other cards I've set aside to scan later and didn't want to go looking for it after I decided to make this post, more than a week after the cards arrived.
 Scott Skiles on-card auto from 2013-14 Timeless Treasures, SN299. It's my second autograph of him. Not a huge fan of Skiles but for the price I paid I won't turn down any NBA autographs.
My first auto of Campy Russell, also from 2013-14 Timeless Treasures. I think this may be my favorite card from the purchase, even though it's not serially numbered or a base card.

Just a few days later, I commented in a thread someone started that was "What project are you working on right now" and I posted about my project of trying to get one card of every person to get one in my three sports. One of the members had several cards I needed so I ended up buying them. I have done one blaster of Select and Torque this year and that's probably going to be it- not that I don't like them, but that's just how it is.

That's 8 new people, half of them autographed at that! It brought my missing NASCAR people list down to 25. Pretty cool, all things considered.

In fact, one of the people saw me get card #1 and #2 in the same package...

The Blue Prizm parallel from Select is serially numbered, as is the Red, White & Blue parallel shown of Jones.

Alon Day is the first NASCAR driver from Israel. He's the only one of the 8 who have run in Cup so far, I think. I have to admit that I don't pay as close attention as I used to. Back in the day...even just a few years ago...I would have known for sure, and what car they drove, and possibly even where they finished...but I'm losing that stuff as my interest in the sport is waning, wholly due to the changes they have made to the actual fabric of the sport. Even so, I still plan to collect the cards- I bailed on the NBA in 2006 when I was not very happy and I now consider it to be one of the biggest mistakes- if not THE biggest- I've ever made, so I will keep collecting and watching NASCAR even if I don't like it very much- I don't want to make that mistake again.
And in case you are wondering, Brandon Jones is actually 20 years old.

I'm glad to see some of the K&N drivers - Busch North and Winston West to me- getting some cardboard. It's pretty rare to see them on cards, but Panini is including them in some of the autograph sets. That makes it a little harder to collect them- the cards are rarer, and autographs are more expensive than base cards- but at least they are getting them. There have been literally decades where they didn't get any recognition at all. Julia Landauer and Spencer Davis have never gone higher than the K&N series, although both hope to some day.

Thanks for reading.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Celebrating my 1 year Hockeyversary with a pack of Panini Stickers

My brother and I went up to the mall to pick up this year's Christmas ornaments, and hopefully pick up a blaster of Hoops and Upper Deck Flagship, so I could open my first pack on my 1 year anniversary of becoming an NHL fan. (see my previous post) Well, our normally well stocked Target wasn't. Hoops was already gone in Blaster/fatpack form, and the wall hanger box was almost empty. (I did snag some packs out of it). Upper Deck's flagship hockey set was not in the store at all. It was either already sold out, or, more likely, never put out yet. Our local Target is USUALLY well stocked, but sometimes they are not. There have been a couple of times where they didn't get an NBA set out until after the NPN already expired, for example. So, I struck out there. There was only ONE pack of 17-18 Panini Stickers for hockey left in the store, so naturally, I consoled my striking out on my intention by buying this pack. And all this was before the Black Friday insanity!

Just because I feel like it, and have not posted much lately, I'm going to share the contents of the anniversary sticker pack here on the blog. Since it was something I did special for my anniversary, it should be documented for all time, right? I'm going to pretend what I have to say is important enough that it is.
 This drawing of Erik Karlsson was first out of the pack. Panini currently does something in their hockey sticker set called "Illustrated Players" and this was my first example from this year's set. (This is the 4th pack I've opened) What he did against the Rangers in the playoffs last year was pretty darn amazing considering he was playing with a broken foot.
Two drawings in a row. I don't know what it is about hockey that allows players to have incredibly long careers. Chara has been in the NHL since 1997, and that's not even talking about Jaromir Jagr who's been in since 1990!
Black and white image on foil. Meh.  That was three straight foil cards to start the pack...
Wayne Simmonds is going to go down in history as my first All-Star MVP. He got a pickup truck for that. 
Every time I get a card or sticker, or see a highlight of him I start thinking "Take On Me" even though the band was Aha and not Aho. Close enough that my mind makes the connection. 
This is his third time appearing in my collection, and I don't think I've spelled his last name properly even once yet. Not on purpose, I just keep leaving out a letter, this time it was V. Usually it's the F. Luckily, the way my paper listing works, it doesn't really matter if a name is spelled right, as long as it shows the card is present for that number. And no one will ever see it, which is good because the way I've mangled things over the last 20 years is laughable/embarrassing. 
He has a dog named Pickle. Seriously!

With Blogger's "Extra Large" setting, my preferred for card images, these are actually going to show up larger than the stickers really are. Panini does a good job with them, I enjoy them quite a bit. Like I mentioned before, this was my 4th pack of the season. I wish I had gotten more, but they are pretty much impossible to find once my local Target sells out. You never see them in repacks. I do count them as part of my collection now, I wish I had gotten more of them over the years when I had the opportunity. I was hoping to get a Golden Knights sticker- this set was the team's first appearance on a card (or something close enough that I count it as a card) but no such luck. Nor did I get any new people for my collection, or any Rangers. I'm not unhappy though, because there were no duplicates and it brings me 7 cards stickers closer to completing the set.

I also opened a pack of 2010-11 Upper Deck Series 2 and 2011-12 Victory that I got at a sports collectibles store in the mall, but all of those cards were already done on the Trading Card Database, so I set them aside for future scanning someday. I did get new people in those packs, and you can see them on the bottom of the NHL tab on the "People in My Collection" page. I just wanted to plug a favorite feature I have not talked about much. I can't even remember the last time I went to the mall beyond Target, but it was a fun trip even if I didn't find everything I was looking for.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

One year ago today...

My life changed forever as I became a hockey fan! It all started with this thread on the Trading Card Database, one of the rare threads that is actually kind of negative. The Vegas Golden Knights revealed their logo that day, and the thread made me can see I commented twice in it...I wanted to see the logo, and remembered that every day when I would turn to channel 221, NBA TV, just above that on channel 223 was the NHL Network. I decided to put it on, to see what was going on...and I got hooked. By the end of the show, I had become completely enthralled with what is my new sport. I left on the repeating "On the Fly" for several airings and that did it. I loved every second of it. After that, I started watching games in secret. I also began to read the rules and lore of the sport on Wikipedia, and eventually I read the entire history of every team. (Including those no longer in existence)

I watched in secret until January 14th, when I wrote up this post and revealed to the world that I was now an NHL fan. The amazing thing is that I was able to keep it a secret from my mom and brother, I knew I was not going to be able to keep it a secret for long. I wanted to be sure that I was really a fan, and that this wasn't going to be some passing fad or infatuation that would fade in time. It sure hasn't. I don't remember the first game I actually saw...but I do remember the first one I saw from start to finish. That was the Winter Classic, the outdoor game, between Chicago and St. Louis on January 1st. Every other game previously I caught after it had already begun.

Since that time, there has not been a single day where hockey did not play some sort of role. Even during the summer, when there were no live games being played, I was watching repeats on TV, or finding old clips on YouTube, and dealing with the cards people sent me- I'll get back to that in a moment. It's just an integral part of my life already, and has already surpassed NASCAR in my list of favorite sports. I still list the NBA first- but I actually watch more NHL games in their entirety. Hockey now takes up a large part of my life, and I am thrilled about that!

Although I credit the Golden Knights with getting me into the sport, there are a couple of other things that could have...should have...gotten me into it sooner. My poor eyesight is why I didn't...I had tried in the past. I just couldn't see what was going on. In 5th grade, I played floor hockey in favorite sport to play, and the only one I was actually good at. I used to watch roller hockey on ESPN, and I also enjoy field hockey in the Olympics. Air Hockey is a lifelong favorite- my brother is really incredible at it. If it was an Olympic event, he could still win gold, despite being in Jaromir Jagr's age bracket. Because I've been playing him all these years, I'm pretty good too. Not as good as him, but if I play somebody...I win. Unless I'm playing him. These days, I can only play three games before my back gives out, if I'm lucky- I wish I could play more. Even though I usually lose, I still enjoy it every time. He sometimes lets me win, but in 30 years of playing, thousands of games, I've only ever beaten my brother fairly maybe 4 or 5 times. I've never lost to anyone else I've ever played against. He's that good.

If my TV hadn't died in earlier 2016 I might not have been able to become a big fan that I am now. It was old- about 15 years old- and one day it just wouldn't turn on anymore. I began watching everything on my phone, via my cable provider's app. I put that right next to my computer, (So I could charge it via USB while watching) and can look at both without even moving my head- just my eyes. That played a huge role. If I had to look up and to the right, I probably would not have actually watched and then woudn't have become a fan. If the phone was not in HD, I probably wouldn't have been able to follow the puck and not know what was going on. Also, by putting it on the phone right next to me, I could actually hear it. When my TV was on, halfway across the room, I would have to lower it at night and usually couldn't hear what was happening. My brother gave me my smart phone only in May of 2016. Although it's technically a phone, I don't use it for calls. It's basically a handheld TV to me...and also a better camera than my actual camera!

And now, back to the cards. Hockey card fans have been incredibly generous to me, over the past 11 months. Once I made my announcement, linked above, that I was a hockey fan and going to begin collecting hockey cards, they started rolling in from my fellow collectors, usually as gifts. And not in small quantities. In the thousands. I keep track of how many new cards I get in a day, and in 2017 two gifts from hockey collectors rank in my top 5 all time new cards in one day...#1 was also mostly hockey cards, from a friend in 2015, who is a big hockey fan and thought I would enjoy it, so he sent me almost 3000 cards to get me into it. In a way, it worked, because I really enjoyed the cards he sent. They are the backbone of my collection. I began 2017 with exactly 3000 hockey cards, and as I am writing this, I have over 8000. 8346 to be exact. While I have purchased some for myself, the vast majority have come as gifts. My fellow hockey collectors have nearly tripled my collection in under a year's time! That's just....incredible. Truly. I don't have a superlative compliment that can properly express how grateful I am. I'm not sure that word exists. And it's even more than that, because I've held some of the cards back for next year, when I celebrate my 30th anniversary collecting cards. (More on that in January). Of the 5346 new hockey cards I've gotten in 2017, I purchased for myself maybe 1500 of them, through packs and repacks. Maybe a little more, but maybe a little less too. The rest all came from friends. Isn't that just the most amazing thing?

I hesitated slightly, due to the vast expanse of different people who have gotten cards, but I decided that I would indeed add the NHL to my project of trying to get at least one card from every person to ever get a card in the sport. Doing that project for the NBA has been exceptionally rewarding, and I've also done NASCAR, coming fairly close to completion in fact. I have not yet made a list of who is missing for the NHL, but it's going to be a lot. Getting cards since the 1920s, 20 years before the NBA and NASCAR were even founded, let alone got cards, there are more NHL players with cards, and in fact, the different people represented in my hockey collection is already within about 400 names of my NBA collection, which has been my main focus since 1996, essentially. This is a project that I don't think I will ever finish, but I am sure going to have a lot of fun trying over the coming years.

I am a fan of every team, and I will watch whoever is on. It doesn't matter. I will watch it and enjoy it. And not just the NHL, I also watch minor league games when they are televised. Of course, I watch the Golden Knights a LOT. But in that time between when I started watching and when they started playing, the New York Rangers had become "my team". From the steady stoicism of superstar goaltender Henrik Lundqvist,  (my favorite player in the league), to the scrappy determination of Mats Zuccarello to the enthusiasm of Brady Skjei (who does not yet appear in my card collection) and everyone else on the team, they have captivated my attention and become "my team". I realized the Rangers had become my team when I missed a game last year due to my schedule, and reading the scores the next day, being sad that they lost, instead of just reading the scores to see what I had missed, something I do each and every day. I don't know what date that occurred, but I know it was a loss to the Calgary Flames. In time, I am sure there will be a stratification of the teams for me, where I find I root for some more or less- it's already begun. But last season that didn't yet occur, it was just information to be processed. When I was sad they lost, I knew, then and there.

I am eagerly looking forward to getting my first Golden Knights card. I know they have existed since early October, with the first appearing in the Panini Stickers, and also two inserts in O-Pee-Chee, and the first set showing images of the team in action appeared in the Upper Deck Flagship which came out a few weeks ago, I have not been able to get to the local Target to get any. I hope they still have them if/when I do get there.
One interesting thing, I have been a sports fan for many years now, but I had never seen the first game of a team's history until this year, when I saw the Golden Knights play their first games. Either pre-season or regular season, I saw them both.

So, today marks 1 year since I've been a hockey fan. There will never be a time in my life where I can't say that, so it's year 1 of many. Thanks to all the hockey fans and fellow collectors who have sent me cards- as I tried to relate above, I can't thank you enough!

Oh yeah, happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Sets in my Collection #28: 1952 Bowman US Presidents

A 36 card set, notably larger than the current standard size, I have 19 of them- but none of them are in particularly good shape. They took quite a beating before I got them in late 2014. Although I loathe politics, I love history, and that gives them a place in my collection. Some of the cards in the set were not of presidents but of presidential related things, like the Declaration of Independence, and the White House itself, George Washington got two cards. I don't have either of the two Washington, or Lincoln. Those three are the keys to completing the set.

While I normally like to get cards in better shape than these are, I also couldn't pass them up!

Each card features a drawing of the President with a background relating to something that happened in their term- or, in the case of then-current Dwight Eisenhower, before he became President.

As you can see from the scans, the condition is poor...but like I have said repeatedly, I'd rather have a low condition card than none at all.

This post was written on November 19th, 2015. Time to get through some of these long-in-the-queue posts!