Monday, December 31, 2012

Clemente.

       Forty years ago this evening saw the far too premature end to the life of Roberto Clemente.  I am not here to recant the heroic and tragic events of that night; far better writers have done a far better job of that than I could ever imagine.  What I am going to do is run down my Roberto Clemente collection and what it means to me.  Celebrating a man's life is always far more important than lamenting his death. 

I am proud that I was way ahead of the curve when it comes to collecting Clemente.
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This page shows card from 1998, when Topps commemorated the shit out of him for the 25th anniversary of his death.  I got into Clemente more than a decade earlier when I saw a TWIB report on him.  This was when I was around 10-11 and pre internet, so I (gasp!) had to go to the library to look up the stats and story of the man.  Even at that jaded age, I was impressed.
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Some of these cards are from that late 80's bygone era, some of them are more recent.  I always enjoyed getting a retro card of Clemente - 1987 was a good year for that.
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On this page you will see Edgard Clemente, the nephew of Roberto.  His major league career didn't amount to much, but he did do a lot in the minor and Mexican leagues.  He adapted/adopted the name Clemente before the 1998 as a tribute (and some would say publicity stunt). 

OK, so those are the pages I have of Clemente, they are nice but nothing spectacular.  Well, Let's go a little deeper into the shoe boxes and see what else awaits us.

First thing you see is the one game used Roberto I own:
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This card is very very shiny (the scan does it no justice) it is also from his game used pants.  Sassy.

There are 40+ cards in my faux-vintage hall of famer box, and I am gonna show you every last one:
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I love that Stadium Club card, I believe the ladies over at Dinged Corners were nice enough to send me that a few years back.  You also can see my Triple Threads addiction well represented.  That sepia Clemente in the upper right corner looks tremendous. That lower right picture is from his 1971 Topps card (or from the same group of pictures)  The lower left from his 1969.  I didn't have to look that up.

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I'd like to get that Upper Deck Masterpiece in a better color than the Green, I think the black might be a good choice, since I don't think they make a gaudy yellow.  His very upright batting stance is on full display in this group.  Those bottom three are quite a handsome triumvirate.

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A couple of paintings in this group, also a shot of him showing off his arm - you would think there would be more pictures like this to represent his legendary cannon.  I picked up that 1954 Topps Archives card in a dime box years and years ago.  That is a $5 card now all day long, if you can find one.  Oh, and I do love those mini Diamond King puzzles; I believe that came out of the 1987 The Rookies set.

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Some cards from 2000-01, when Upper Deck went nuts with their faux-vintage phase.  I have never seen that picture of him holding up a page with "3,000" on it; it certainly echoes another famous picture. And you see some of the Topps reprints they did, here in Finest form. That 1956 reprint is a refractor...more on the '56 later.

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Look! More reprints.  The 1973 card is seminal, and I have both the Archives and insert reprint of that one.  I also have the rookie reprint from the Archives and the Rookie of the Week card from a few years back that is similar but very different.

Wait?  Are you tired of the fake retro stuff?  OK, lets dive into the true vintage shoebox and see what there is to see.
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Here we have a real copy of that 1973 Topps.  I once built the 1972 Topps set, so these are the second copies of these cards I have owned.  I was always fond of his 1972 card because of that 1987 Turn back the Clock card. 

What else?  How about 1965?
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Or a handsome 1964? 
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I got this 1962 Topps card for a song years ago.
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I never understood why, in 1957, Topps started calling Roberto "Bob" - was this a colloquial choice?  He was called Bob and Bobby by his teammates and the announcers. Was it xenophobic?  The 50's were not a good decade to be a person of color in America.  I have never gotten a good answer to this question.  So anyway, from 1957 to 1969, he was known as Bob, which I always thought was dumb since Roberto Clemente is such a lyrical name.

What is the oldest Clemente I own?  I have his 1956 Topps, which is just a fantastic card.  I gushed about it here a while back.  Let's look at it again.
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I never get tired of this card.

I once owned this card:
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I had to sell it years ago to pay the bills.  So sad.

Last but not least, I own a good dozen baseball jerseys. Only one of them does not depict a Mets or Red Sox player:
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I bought this jersey in 1996 in the Bergen Mall.  It has a mustard stain on the front from a Kahn's hot dog in Shea Stadium (not shown).  I like to wear this jersey whenever I am at a 'neutral' baseball situation.  I also wore it to a pirate themed party once when I didn't have time to make a costume - most people found that quite amusing.

Anyway, that is my Roberto Clemente player collection.  Clemente the Man often overshadows Clemente the Player.  He has been deified in some circles, perhaps a little too much, but in a way, his deeds both on and off the field cannot be overstated.  He was a great player and he was a great humanitarian.  That he was taken from us too soon is a loss to us all.  Godspeed Roberto.

***

I would like to wish you a very Happy New Year.  I am still getting over a cold and I don't particularly like to go out on what I consider "amateur night" so I will be home tonight watching bad movies.  But if you do go out and have a good time, please get home safe and do not, under any circumstances, drive drunk. I want to see you all in 2013!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Football Week 17: Wintry Mix.

       It has snowed here in northern New Jersey three times this week.  This amount alone triples the snow days we had last year (i.e., the infamous Halloween storm); it was even a White Christmas around here.  It is a pity, though, that is is not supposed to snow today, because today is the final regular season Sunday and snow is football's natural habitat.

I have a niche collection of football cards featuring pictures in the snow, presented here so you can take in all the furious flurry glory:
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You see here some usual suspects: New England, Buffalo, New York.  Seeing Barry Sanders in the snow is odd, since he spent his home games in a dome.  And while Brett Favre belongs in the snow, seeing Drew Brees (as a Charger no less) in the white stuff is a trip. And while I am not a card identifying sleuth like some, that 2011 Tom Brady card has a picture that is probably from the December 12, 2010 game vs. the Bears. 

I am surprised, really, that card companies don't use more snow pictures, since they look 100x more awesome than regular action pictures.
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Here you have more New England (obviously another from that aforementioned Bears game), some Cleveland and Pittsburgh, and an awesome shot of a Giant stuffing a Bronco in Denver.  You also have another Brett Favre, and it makes sense that I have two of him in the snow, but I also have two cards of Steve McNair in the snow, and since he played his home games mostly in Houston and Tennessee, I find that a little weird. These are all the snow cards I own; if you have one you would like to donate or trade me, don't hesitate to let me know

My football watching will be slightly muted today.  The Saints have been out of it for a couple of weeks now, and seeing them beating up on a Panthers team that never cared this season is not high on my list of priorities.  It is good news that they locked up Sean Payton for the next 5 years, so we won't have another off-season soap opera.  I look forward to the Saints reloading next year for a wonderful eff-you season.

The Giants, on the other hand, have a slight chance to make the playoffs.  How slight?  Well, this slight (click on it, I'll wait).  The Giants have to win (which has been quite a trick lately) and then the Vikings, Bears, and Cowboys all have to lose.  While all of these circumstances are not impossible, all of them coming together at the same time is unlikely.  So it will likely be a very somber playoff time here.  If the Giants make the dance, I will be rooting for them, if not, I will pick a team to root for next week - yes I plan on doing this through the Super Bowl - and jump on the bandwagon with both feet.  Until then, I think I'll go outside and throw some snowballs at children and on coming cars.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Under the Tree.

       It was a typhoid Merry Christmas around these parts, as the party I went to on Christmas Eve seems to have spread a nasty flu virus around to almost everyone who attended.  It did not rear its ugly head until Boxing Day, thus saving my Christmas dinner, but it has since rendered me useless as a functional human being.  A couple of days of Tylenol Cold and hot & sour soup have at least made it possible for me to sit up and type at the laptop.  Thank heaven for small favors.

       This bought of deathflu kept me from posting about what Santa left under the tree for me.  And I mean this literally, as my brother plays Santa Claus every year for my little cousins (and when we get him dressed, my joke is "every year, we use less and less padding" He does not like that joke...), anyway, he was nice enough to have procured this for me:





































Drink that in.  It is a 1983 Mets Blue Throwback Tom Seaver jersey.  The levels of awesome of this present are hard to measure.  First of all, it is Tom Terrific, The Franchise; the gift that keeps on giving.  Second of all, it is obscure, from his all-too-brief triumphant return in 1983 after a five year exile in Cincinnati (and I love it obscure).  Third of all, the Mets are bringing back the blue this year as their alternate jersey, finally mothballing the kinda cool but mostly gimmicky black ones.  This year, I will be strutting around in the coolest blue jersey there is.  I also now have a wonderful trifecta of throwback Mets jerseys: a 1986 home Gary Carter, a 1987 away Dwight Gooden and now, this beauty.  Being a grown up sometimes makes Christmas morning a bit a of a downer, but not this year.  Thanks Santa!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Boxing Day.

It's Boxing Day!
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This does not mean you should go to the mall and punch people in the face.
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I made that mistake last year, my probation officer says I am making progress.

Monday, December 24, 2012

T'was.

the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tinny reindeer.

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With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

"Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.

His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.

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The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"

- Clement Clarke Moore “A Visit from St. Nicholas" c. 1822.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Football Week 16: Living in the 80's.

       Since it worked so nice last time, let's go through Topps Football cards from the 1980's.  The designs from the decade of excess are all over the place, from crushingly boring to "dear lord" gaudy.  The one nice thing: very few ribbons.

1989:
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Speaking of boring, wow.  There is minimalist and then there is letting the intern designer mail it in.  I believe this one falls in the later category.  The worst part is, there is no rhyme nor reason to the colors of the borders.  These make the 1989 Topps baseball offering look like Andy Warhol designed them.

1988:
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Ah, much better.  Simple, but effective, with jaunty angles and team logos in helmets punctuated by team color borders.  I also like the integrated All Pro and Super Rookie designations.  I was always a fan of the 1988 Topps football cards.

1987:
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If the 70's were dominated by ribbons, the 80's seemed to be dominated by pennants.  Here you have team color appropriate interlocking pennants.  It's a good look. What isn't is the cropping on some of the photos, especially the action shots.  What's going on with the Steve Young up there?

1986:
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This design gets an A for effort, but a D for execution.  The green borders with the yard lines seems like a good idea, but punctuated by team color borders for the photos, you get some horrifying color combinations.  If they could combine the 1989 and 1986 designs, you might have something.  These also seem to be prototypes for the 1988 Topps baseball set.

1986 backs:
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As a palette cleanser to the fronts, I like the backs of these with the cartoonish background for the write ups.  This is something I wish Topps had done more of with their backs, to fill in the empty spaces.

1985:
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I consider this a very 80's look.  The big last name, the font, the black borders with a splash of color.  All it needs is some neon.  These black borders also echo the 1962 design - one of my all time favorites.

1985 backs:
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I really enjoy the vertical backs and long write ups on the backs of these.  The red, on the other hand, make it very difficult to read.  I have seen a lot of Pro Bowl and All Pro (and even all star) designations on the fronts of cards, but this is the only time I can recall where it is on the back and only on the back.

1984:
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Bright colors, team logos, odd angles.  These cards scream "MID EIGHTIES!" and they do it well.  They foretell the coming of the 1985 Topps baseball set, as well, though it wouldn't be until 1991 when Topps would purposely use the same design elements for both baseball and football in the same year.

1983:
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I never liked the white outlined team names on these, it looks like someone forgot to finish the design, unless they were trying to make the cards look like proofs, in which case, mission accomplished.

1982:
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1982 Topps are the first set in a long time to include official NFL team logos on the card, and they highlighted the fact in fine fashion by putting the helmets right on the front.  You also see the player name in a pennant (sort of like the team name in 1965 Topps). Plus, gosh, the All Pro designation on these cards is huge!

1982 In Action:
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With those logo rights, and taking from the larger 1982 baseball set, Topps included "In Action" cards for the first time since 1972.  All the big stars are included and at some point I had so many of them, I made a separate page of them. 

1981:
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Pennants? Flags?  Ribbons?  I was underwhelmed with this set when I was six years old and I am underwhelmed now. Check out the bald spot on Garo Yepremian there.  Wow.

1980:
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I always really liked the 1980 Topps football cards.  I like the football logo, I like the font for the player names, I like the big photos.  This perfectly shows the difference between minimalist and boring.

1980 backs:
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Plus, for whatever reason, I love the 1980 backs.  Here, you can actually read on the red background.  I like the continuation of the football from the fronts, and I like the teeny tiny cartoons.  The only problem? The odd and small card numbers, which makes for troublesome collation.

So that covers the 1980's in Topps football cards.  No other manufacturer made football cards through most of the decade.  That would change when Score came in in 1989 and Fleer and Upper Deck followed suit in 1990.  Those years make for some way overproduced and odd looking football cards, but for a time, Topps dominated the field even more so than they did baseball. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Oh No! Not My Dickey!

       Firstly, I could not think to blog this weekend (thus no football post) and really couldn't do much of anything after the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut on Friday.  I know life must go on, but I could do nothing but reflect and mourn after such an incomprehensible horror.  

With that said, today has ended the long saga involving the trade of my favorite Mets pitcher of recent vintage, 2012 Cy Young award winner R.A. Dickey.
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I am torn on this trade.  On the one hand, it makes long term sense.  R.A. is 38 years old and it is wise to trade older players at the height of their value.  Coming off a 21-win Cy Young Award season, that value aint gonna get any higher.  Plus, the Mets are getting back from Toronto some very good prospects.  Travis D'Arnaud is a stud.  A stud like Buster Posey?  Maybe not, but close. (I just added this card to the collection and I will probably snag a few more while I can).  Noah Syndergaard, while having a wonderful hockey name (remember hockey?), has shown early promise, though only in class A ball.  Also, swapping Josh Thole for John Buck at least will stop me from constantly swearing and throwing things at the TV over Thole's lack of power, passion, and defense.

On the other hand, Dickey could pitch for another 5-6 years.  He had secretly good numbers in 2010 and 2011 and got it all to work in 2012 by winning those 21 games rather than 8.  I think he could easily have another 3 or 4 seasons like 2012.  He is the perfect kind of pitcher you want as a number 2 or 3 starter. That is worth $25 million and more.  Plus, whatever happened to team loyalty and in return rewarding a player who showed it? 

I don't think this trade was made over money but for building for the future.  By the time Zack Wheeler and Matt Harvey and Reese Havens et al are ready for prime time, say 2015, R.A. Dickey won't have the value he has now. So I understand the thinking behind it.  The Mets lost Reyes and didn't get a damn thing for it  - not even a high draft pick, since the Marlins finished so low in the standings the year before.  So trading Dickey now and getting back two players that might be on the team in 2020 is smart business (which I know to Mets fans is an unfamiliar concept).  I just hope in the long term, Sandy Alderson knows what he's doing.  This is a bold, risky move.  I pray it works out better than other Cy Young trades the Mets have made.

On top of all this, this will no doubt be the last time I get to make a good Dickey joke on this blog. The only player on the roster with a fun name worth mocking is Lucas Duda...although John Buck is a great porn name.  Godspeed, R.A. Dickey.  I will be rooting for you in Toronto to keep the Yankees out of the playoffs.

***UPDATE*** I must say, the man knows how to say goodbye.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Quad: David Wright.

       In honor of David Wright signing his seven year $138 million contract, I present to you a perfect quad of his cards:





































If I ever get more of his autographs, I could easily make more quads of David.  But as it is, that 2005 Cracker Jack of his is the only certified auto that I own.  The rookie there is his very first card, a 2001 Upper Deck Premier Prospects; it is his only 2001 card.  I have several of his bat and jersey cards, but I chose these two because of their similar photographs.  All in all, this is a great quad of (hopefully *fingers crossed*) a career long Met.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Football Week 14: Role Models.

        I was a Giants fan growing up and I have become a Saints fan in my adulthood.  Today those two teams face off about 12 miles from my house.  I saw the Saints and Giants play in New Orleans last season but I am not going to East Rutherford to see them this year.  Why would I go 1300 miles to see the Saints play and not 12?  Because it is December in New Jersey and it is friggin' cold and worse, rainy.  I am not going to pay $300 to Stubhub or a scalper to freeze my ass off.  Instead, I am gonna sit here in my flannel pajamas and enjoy the hell out of this match up from my very comfortable (and warm) couch.

       The Saints have a mathematical chance to make the playoffs, but slim and none is a generous assessment of their situation.  The Giants play up and down to their competition so much, it is hard to gauge their true talent.  Since I hate the other three teams in their division so very much, I am rooting for the Giants in this one, if only to keep Dallas and Washington out of the playoffs (and all the wonderful misfortune that has befallen the Eagles makes my heart soar like, well, an eagle). 

So also when I was growing up, I chose some very interesting characters to be my favorite players.  In baseball, I liked Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry.  I thought Mike Tyson was a bad mutherfucker.  I liked all the goons in hockey (remember hockey?). And in football, I worshiped Lawrence Taylor.  It is a small wonder I didn't end up in prison.

I prefer to focus on Lawrence Taylor the football player, since as a football player, he is second to none.  Very few players have redefined their positions the way he did.  He was a monster. 
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The real problem with LT is that he was/is a monster off the field as well.  He's not a murderer like OJ or Ray Lewis or anything, but as a human being, he is very hard to root for.
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I own a #56 Giants jersey, and it sits in the back of my closet, no doubt never to be worn again, because while overlooking someone's flaws can be divine, when someone refuses to even address their flaws, like LT does, you have to question whether that person is worth rooting for.  I can look past all the drug issues, because I understand that disease, but when you pay for a 16 year old prostitute, get busted for it, and then see nothing wrong with what you did.  Yeah, well, yeah.  Thanks, but no thanks, Lawrence. 
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Like a lot of players, I prefer to remember LT on the field - the ultimate disruptive force lining up all over the place and making quarterbacks tremble with fear. 

Luckily, the next Giants linebacker I deemed my favorite was a little better citizen, Jessie Armstead.
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I watched Armstead, as an unknown rookie, pull off the jump into the endzone and throw the ball back to the 1 yard line move on a punt.  I had seen a lot of players try to do it, but he was the first one I saw do it perfectly.  I instantly always kept an eye on #98, who was an 8th round draft pick.  He showed hustle all the time and worked himself into a Pro Bowl player.  I have his jersey in my closet too and I am much more likely to wear that one again than the Taylor.

Also on my list of players I liked was Phil Simms.
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People remember how good Simms was, but they forget that early in his career, he was benched for Scott Brunner(!).  I am not sure who should be more ashamed of that fact, him or Bill Parcells.  Anyway, Simms won one Super Bowl and won 10 games on another Super Bowl winner.  I also have met him a couple times because his son Chris went to the same high school as my cousin.  Phil would go to all the football games to watch his kid and he was a pretty down to earth guy.  Also nice was the fact that most people didn't hassle him when he was there.  I actually met him by accident the first time, bumping into him by the ladies selling baked goods in the parking lot.  His kid also had his head screwed on right and didn't seem to have much diva in him.  Chris Simms deserved a better fate in his NFL career, as injuries and bad teams derailed it. 

And just for kicks, here is a page of random Giants inserts:
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At one point during the 1990 NFC Championship game, I believe I promised to name my first born son after Matt Bahr if he made the game winning kick.  While the situation hasn't come up yet, and I doubt it will, it will be difficult to explain to the mother why we have to name our child Matt Bahr.  Does anyone know the statute of limitations on such promises?

***

This evening is the first night of Hanukkah, so a chag sameach to my chosen readers - enjoy your dreidel and latkes.  I am not Jewish myself, but I do have a small tradition for the first night: I watch the Hebrew Hammer.  If you have never seen this film, it is amateurish and insulting and brilliant and hilarious.  I suggest it highly to everyone. 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Ketchup.

       I hate people who lament how much or little they blog.  I believe I blog just the right amount.  I do it as a hobby or, more to the point, to augment the hobby I love.  I do it when I have time or when I am inspired.  I have gotten behind, though, it would seem, as I have a bunch of drafts and a fuckton of scans that I haven't used.  So what am I gonna do now? Post about brand new cards I just scanned, of course. 

When I returned from New Orleans, there were a few packages waiting for me, one of them an eBay lot I had purchased and seemed to take forever to arrive.  I believe it was coming from Long Island, so I found it in my heart to excuse any Sandy-related delays.  I am a sucker for Topps Triple Threads.  I used to buy a few boxes of the stuff every year.  It seemed I would nail a big hit that would pay for the others.  It was a nice zero sum game.  Then, two years in a row, I kind of struck out and it soured me on the whole thing.  But I still like to have a nice page of the base cards, or in this instance, the sepia parallels:
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I bought this lot because I got a lot of other cards that I wanted/can sell.  This is a good looking page and highlights the brief time Hanley Ramirez was in a Miami Marlins jersey. 

The other exciting package was a thick load of 30 cards from COMC.com.  I probably should have waited for Black Friday, but I am a firm supporter of Buy-Nothing Day, so I decided I can spend a dollar or two more for the bulk shipping and wait patiently.  Let's looks at the first nine:
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OK, eight.  No surprises here.  Two Gary Carters from this year that I needed.  Two Zack Wheelers to start off my collection of him.  I think he and Matt Harvey will fight for my affection by the end of the 2013 season.  Also here are a 1984 Topps sticker of Tom Seaver and a 2004 Topps Pristine Legend of Reggie Jackson in his Arizona State uniform.  For all my huge Reggie player collection, I did not have single one with him in his Sun Devil digs; now I do.  Lastly, there are a mini Dickey and a golden Dickey, which matches my shiny Dickey.

Second nine:
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Since no one seemed to have them to trade, I broke down and grabbed the two short print rookie cup cards from this year's Topps (the Reddick and the Arencibia). I also didn't have the Revere, but somehow overlooked snagging the Brett Lawrie...anybody have that one to spare/trade?  This shipment will expose the self centered habit I have to collect cards of people named Max.  You can see four of them here, two of them fictional (the Mann and Rebo) and two of them real, of which I did not have any (Russell and Monica Maxwell).  Rounding these out is a Cameron Jordan die cut rookie, Saints player I like (more on the direct purpose of that tomorrow or next week) and a OPC Legends card of Claude Lemieux, one of my favorite Devils of all time.  Remember hockey?  Yeah, me too.

This next batch are five 1996 Pinnacle Trophy Collection parallels and four 1984 Topps USFL cards:
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I needed these to complete pages...

Here:
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and here...
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I now have pages of both USFL Topps sets and two from Pinnacle's late 90's obsession with duflex parallels, though I haven't featured the other yet. 

Since I have been obsessed and sorting my football cards, I have a few more to show.  I had found seven faux-vintage cards of two of my favorite old players, Gale Sayers and Joe Namath.
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I snatched two more of each...

And now have a fantastic page of The Kansas Comet...
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And Broadway Joe:
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I should think about putting together that whole Namath UD Football Heroes set.  I do so enjoy those.  Namath and the Jets were my mother's favorite when she was a kid (for obvious reasons).  So while I am not big on the Jets in general, it seems fitting for me to have a page of Joe Willie.  The man is just too epic and awesome not to be represented.

***

You will also notice I updated the header graphic and added a festive holiday background picture (I would hate for all of you to get bored with my layout).  I have a bunch of Mets ornaments that go on my tree each year.  I would do a post about them, but someone already has a definitive Mets Christmas online repository.