Chasing Idols

We all have our idols, people we look up to as kids.  We worship them.  Not those important parental or educator types…the unattainable kind.  Actors.  Artists.  Musicians. Entertainers.  Athletes.  Sometimes we grow out of that youthful infatuation and sometimes we hold them for our entire lives.  It becomes an eternal adoration or idolization.  For me, that person was Rickey Henderson.  Yeah, he’s a love him / hate him kinda guy.  He can be aloof and impersonal, distant and at times. Possibly even off-putting for some of those old school baseball folks that players should be less flashy and less self-aware.  Rickey played to the beat of his own drum.  He was the soloist in the Miles Davis quintet.  A player that could make a team great, but by his own right was great as well. A singular character that played for some of the greatest Oakland Athletic teams in the 1990’s. 

My initial attraction to him as a player was in 1982.  I was six going on seven.  He was headed towards 130 stolen bases. Stealing bases like he was put on earth to do just that…well, rattle the opposing teams pitcher as well…and I loved it.  For me, that was IT!  On the other hand, the baseball my father loved were the George Brett and Mike Schmidt kinda guys, phenomenal hitting third basemen that had a completely different way they approached the game of baseball…by no means bad at all…just different. 

Around this time, I really began to love the game but didn’t have a favorite team.  I grew up in San Antonio and really was not into the Astros with their sherbet rainbow pullovers or the players, short of Nolan Ryan.  The other option I had as a kid in Texas was the Texas Rangers…yeah…NO.  I had already fully established myself as a Washington Football Team (nee Redskins) fan and couldn’t attach myself to a Dallas area team of any kind.  So, for the short time being I was a half-hearted A’s fan…really a Rickey Henderson fan, and he just so happened to play for the Oakland Athletics.  This all changed in the Winter of 1984. He was traded to the New York Yankees.  By this time, I’m a nine year old savant baseball fan…not really.  I just watched games and bought baseball cards, but I loved the game so so so much before my first decade on earth. So, now it seemed like the perfect time to pick a ‘favorite’ team.  Well, I might as well pick the team that my favorite player plays for, right? The New York Yankees.  Yes.  The Bronx Bombers or Evil Empire depending on whom you root for yourselves.  I was a Rickey Henderson fan first and a Yankees fan second, but a close second, really it was 1A and 1B

By this time, my parents had split up and I was your typical latchkey ’80’s kid.  The son of a single working mom. She attended night school working towards her bachelor’s degree.  She worked a lot and we were ok financially, by no means set, but we were good.  Well, not good enough to do anything we wanted to do, like take a trip somewhere fun and exciting.  My mom knew this but she also knew how much baseball meant to me during the summer of ’87.  She managed to purchase two seats for the New York Yankees vs. Texas Rangers in Arlington.  Just a mere five hour drive to the north on I-35.  That’s how far Rickey Henderson was from me.  My idol.  In my mind I was going to meet him and we were going to become great friends and I would write him and he would write me.  I had it all planned out, you see.  My mother reminded me that you should never meet your idols or those that you admire as they will underwhelm you.  I wasn’t going for that.  I wanted to get his autograph and tell him that he was my favorite player.  Nobody in Texas could possibly be as big a fan as I was.  I was his biggest fan in the biggest state…well the biggest state in the contiguous continent.

We headed up to Arlington early that Saturday morning for the five hour drive.  South Texas is hot, but North Texas ain’t much better.  The old 1984 Buick Skylark had marginal AC at it’s best and a strong tendency to overheat and breakdown on occasion.  Guess what?  It did just that.  Broke down.  On the side of the highway just north of Austin.  Barely an hour outside of our home.  That was it.  I wasn’t going to see my favorite player on my favorite team play.  I was dejected.  Broken.  On the verge of tears.  Keep in mind, I was a kid that didn’t cry much, my expressions were released more physically and in a way that now embarrass me.  My mom could see this and to her credit, she wasn’t letting this trip get away.  After we found out from the local mechanic that we could ‘maybe’ make it to Arlington and back if we take it slow and constantly check the coolant in the engine we would be able to complete our road trip.  And so, we did.  I will never forget this act from my mother, she pressed forward when the smart thing was to turn back around and play it safe…she pressed forward.  That five hour drive turned into a nearly 7 hour drive.  We ended up going straight to the park, deciding to check into the Holiday Inn after the game.  Arriving just in time for the first pitch.  This wasn’t my first baseball game, but it was my first game outdoors, I had been to a few games in the Astrodome.  This was different and it was AMAZING!  The New York Yankees, THE NEW YORK FRICKIN’ YANKEES vs. the Rangers.  We quickly made our way to the seats to watch Jose Guzman get Mattingly to ground out to first.  I missed Rickey’s first at bat…damn.

Rickey came up three more times that night and ended up going 1-3 with a single.  No stolen bases and a loss for the New York Yankees.  Side note, this was also the last night Don Mattingly homered during his eight game consecutive streak.  Knocking a dinger of Guzman in the 4th inning.  I got to see that and that was a great piece of history to be a part of.

The next night, July 19th.  Rickey doesn’t show up for pre-game warm ups.  Rickey doesn’t have his name on the scoreboard.  Rickey doesn’t play.  Damn.  We were headed back in the morning and I got to see my idol come to bat three times with one single and no stolen bases.  Not to mention, this Sunday night, Mattingly goes homerless for the first time since July 8th and the Yankees lose 3-20.  I did get to see Rick Cerone pitch to Bobby Witt, with Witt almost taking him deep with a couple long foul balls. 

I did manage to get a photo of Rickey at the game and here it is! 

***

Apparently approaching players in the bullpen during a game for an autograph is a no-no.  Charles Hudson was happy to let me know that was the case.  The trip wasn’t a failure, but it was not a success either in my 11 year old mind.

Let’s fast forward to 1990.  The Oakland Athletics are dominant, like one of the greatest of all time teams dominant.  A true murderers row of sluggers and solid defense.  My mom always coming through knew how amazing it would be for me to see Rickey once again.  She knew he was my guy, the only player that I really ever cared this much about.  She did it again.  For my 15th birthday, she got two tickets for the two games at the end of September.  The last games of the season for both teams…well almost last games.  We had tickets to the Saturday and Sunday games in Arlington.  Same long hot drive, although less hot due to Fall all around us.  Also, mom had a new car, a 1990 Corsica!  Yeah!  No need to stop and check the engine coolant, plus we were actually able to roll the windows down on this trip.

Our arrival this time allows us to check in to the hotel, get some food and head to the game for early BP.  By this time I was a seasoned autograph hound and knew where to place myself for in-person autographs of players I wanted to sign.  My mom hated this though, it meant we were in an incredibly uncomfortable hotbox of a stadium on a 90degree day.  She had nothing better to do than to just sit in the stands and read a book while I grabbed the autos of my favorite players. 

As I made my way to the lower bowl, I attempted to get McGwire autograph which was an absolute joke.  He was swarmed and wasn’t even getting close to him.  Canseco?  Forget about it…Weiss signed.  Lansford signed.  The Eck even signed a few.  The whole time I had my eye on Rickey.  Rickey took batting practice.  Rickey took in some sprints.  Rickey untied his shoes.  Rickey tied his shoes.  Rickey walked around the batting cage.  I’m standing off to the side just waiting, having given up on the other superstars.  I wanted my superstars autograph. 

Rickey had his head down.  Rickey was walking to me.  I was modestly shouting Mr. HENDER-SON.  Rickey got close.  My modesty turned to one of those Beatles fan-girl videos and I was just straight up shouting.  RICKEY, RICKEY, RICKEY.  Rickey looks up.  Rickey sees me.  Rickey walks towards me.  Rickey gets closer.  In seconds, I’m swarmed by other auto hounds…pushed aside by some adults that do not need to be here, but this is my chance.  I am not going to fail.   I am going to get this autograph.  Rickey signs that guys card.  Rickey signs that kids card.  Then suddenly, Rickey signs my card.  HOLY SHIT.  I’m shaking…I got Rickey Henderson’s autograph during batting practice on September 29th 1990 on a 1990 Donruss, number 304.  Here it is.

***

This is the last autograph I’ve ever asked of someone in person or through the mail, I stopped doing TTM’s.  I stopped getting to games early for batting practice autographs.  It all stopped.  I got the autograph I wanted.  Rickey Henderson.  Just wish I had a better pen…    

-Cardboard Hogs

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I’m your idol the highest title, numero uno…And now, a special presentation from Special Ed…He has a frog, a dog with a solid gold bone.

The Ten Hobby Commandments…but probably not.

I’m one of those brave souls…or maybe just foolish physical manifestations of a current human being?  I went to a card show this past Saturday. 

Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.

It was a card show with other collector’s, other humans.  People that have different priorities than me.  People that may think facts and science are negotiable.  In the time of a major pandemic.  In an area where the numbers are not going down.  It was risky.  I grant you that.  Of course I wore my mask and sanitized the hell out of my hands before i left the car and once I got back into the car.  I did my best to not touch every single thing I see, but then again I’m not four years old…that part was easy.  Sports card collectors have not traditionally been the healthiest of crews.  We all know what I’m talking about without saying it…but I’ma say it anyways. 

We’re all some version of the stereotypical cardboard hoarder; the fried food eating, soda drinking, epic hit oversharing, hunched over a box of cards looking to score a big hit kinda person.  That person, we all know them and we own some of those characteristics.  I know I do…the fried food, love it.  Sodas, love ‘em.  Hunched over a box, my neck is sore after every show I go to.  Ironically though,  well, maybe not ironic…maybe it’s just a timing thing with this post.  For the month of January, the bride and I are doing a thirty day cleanse after a much needed year of eating and drinking our feelings.  Drowning our sorrows in whiskey and wine all year while chasing it with some burgers and fries hasn’t done our bodies well.  We’re one full week and I’m feeling significantly better…but enough about me. 

Let’s talk about some commandments in the hobby that I abide by and how some of them relate to card shows and collecting.  I know some folks around here have noted some type of community agreement for card shows and collecting in general, so these are from my perspective.  Oh yeah, I’ve based them on the Notorious BIG’s “Ten Crack Commandments”.  Very possibly inappropriate and most likely have very little to do with the actual hobby in itself, but I’ve always wanted to mix this song into a blog post.  So, I may be going all over the place here and relate absolutely nothing back to the hobby…but you should read because I think it’s fun and I’ve got 1960 Topps cards in between…Let’s go…sorry, as one of my favorite colleagues says…one more thing. The cards and the stories have absolutely nothing to do with each other. You’ve been warned. Ok. NOW. Let’s go.

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Number ONE! Biggie Says: Never let no one know.

My hobby isn’t really a secret, but I do like to stay somewhat anonymous.  I’ve tried to scrub my name from the blog and rarely…if ever posted a photo of myself.  The bride has suggested that this is not a good way to drum up business and attract readers or buyers.  Her thought is that people want to know who they’re dealing with.  My thought is that I don’t want that.  I like anonymity and I like blending in.  I’ve never been one to stand out in a crowd and don’t really feel the need to stand out in the hobby.  Who knows though, maybe she’s correct.  I often find myself googling other blog authors or collectors to see who they are (does that make me a stalker…?)  I’m not on the facebooks, so it’s a challenge to find faces and match them up with their blogs.  So, I fully embrace the notion of letting no one know.  A fun future blogger game would be to match the face with the blog.  That would be a fantastic year end game to play…?

***

Number TWO! Biggie Says: Never let ‘em know your next move.

This one relies heavily on secrecy and finding a “honey hole” of sorts…no, scratch that.  That’s a horrible term.  Maybe it’s really just a favorite spot.  I have those.  But I share them.  I know some folks have a Target or Walmart that they hit up during a certain time of day during a specific day to grab those retail commodity boxes…guess those folks play to the never let ‘em know your next move.  I’m not big on that, I think that sucks.  Share and share alike I say.  So maybe this one applies to some, but not me.

***

Number THREE! Biggie Says: Never trust nooobody.

So, this one may be ABOUT me and I’m still feeling a little guilt about it.  When I was at the show Saturday I stopped by Bill’s table (Gavin knows this guy).  Bill is an older gentlemen that lives in Salem, about an hour south of Portland.  He buys card lots from people and has about 4 tables of 10cent, 50cent and Dollar cards.  The dollar cards though, if you buy seven of them it only costs you $5!  It’s been that way forever…or at least like 10years forever, that’s how long I’ve been hitting up these shows…I mean, I’ve been going to these shows for over a decade and it’s always been like that…well, at least that’s what I remember.  I went through the $1 cards and separated my stack into sevens and tallied up the total.  I like organization, remember?  As I was counting, i had an overwhelming sense he was peering over me…I believe he was…I KNOW he was.  When I told him my total, he said “you sure…ok…I trust you…”.  Bill can be an odd duck, but that stuck with me.  I wandered around the other tables and dealers for a bit but couldn’t get it out of my head.  My guilty conscience brought me back to his table to clarify if the $1 box was still 7 for 5?  “Nope” was the response and the shame rained down instantly.  I did a quick recount and gave him the difference in cash and explained to him my “why”.  He seemed to be ok with it.  I guess.  I hope.  I should have asked or clarified when I felt odd about his response, but I didn’t.  That’s a whole nother blog post to explain those issues about me.  I did square it away and I feel good about that…but f’real Never trust nobody…including yourself.

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Number FOUR! Biggie Says: Never get high on your own supply.

I think this is a great one as we all do this.  Opening boxes is great, right?  Who doesn’t love opening things.  My kid loves it.  My bride loves it…hell, my dog loves it.  She opens every single stuffed animal we buy her.  Therefore, I too love opening boxes.  I have a stash though.  I love the stash…but mostly open them when I’m bored or in need of a fix.  The people that hold on to boxes can really see a jump in value if they wait the right amount of time.  That’s a hard thing to do, sit on something and just wait for a rainy day or come across some ebay listing that says it’s going for twice what you’ve paid for it.  How does one NOT get high on their own supply at this point.  Apparently 1989-90 Hoops are going for close to $100/box.  That’s ridiculous…but it also proves that if you don’t get high on your own supply, you can make a buck or two plus in the future…you know, to buy more cards.

***

Number FIVE! Biggie Says: Never sell no crack where you rest at.

I am a collector first and foremost.  This is an expensive hobby though…like really expensive, especially the last couple of years.  I’ve been listing my cards on ebay now, quite a bit.  I’ve also done well, so much so that I’ve opened a shop on ebay and have been dealing with the crazies all across the country buying my unwanted cards.  Essentially running a small card shop from my home.  I do mostly PWE’s and have been adding my return address just in case something gets lost or ends up bouncing back and forth between Miami and Minneapolis.  I don’t mind fellow bloggers having my addy, but not some coocoo man from Florida type that could receive a card they don’t like and decide to take a road trip to the PNW.  I’m thinking of getting a PO Box to help with this issue so I’m not selling no crack…cards where I rest at forever.

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Number SIX! Biggie Says: That got damn credit? Dead it!

Cards are expensive, remember when I mentioned that in item 5?  Yeah…really expensive.  How many collector’s run up a debt in their collecting process?  Hopefully not many, but I’m certain some do.  Living on credit is tough during these Soylent Green sorts of days and almost necessary for some of us.  But man, that got damn credit?  Dead it.  If I can’t pay cash for a card, I don’t need said card…that’s mostly the impetus for selling so much on ebay.  Ultimately, my goal would be to not spend any of my day job money on cards and just get to a point where I can spend card sales money on cards!

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Number SEVEN! Biggie Says: Keep your family and business completely separated.

I love my family.  They love me…even my 8 year old.  The dog loves me.  At least one of our cats loves me…not sure about the other one.  He’s definitely more of a momma’s boy.  They all have some kind of idea what I do with my hobby, not explicitly, but generally.  My always asks why I collect cards and in return I ask why he always plays video games…it’s because we enjoy it.  Also, we’re both incredibly anxious and these things help our emotions stay in control.  Part of the hobby can be dense…too much for a spouse to deal with…or maybe just not want to deal with.  I let the bride on to some things that we deal with in our hobby, but mostly don’t.  Not because I’m hiding anything (don’t tell her about my stash!!!), but because I don’t believe it will generate a lot of interest for her.  Keeping this part of my life separated from her is ok…she knows how much it means to me…she just has some concerns about the time I spend with the hobby.  Maybe the hobby does its own part in keeping family and business separated…?

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Number EIGHT! Biggie Says: Never keep no weight on you.

So, as I mentioned in item 3, I was at Bill’s table this past Saturday.  Lots of new faces in the crowd.  Sneaker head faces behind their Supreme and Nike facemasks, just straight ballin’ out…sorry, that wasn’t really necessary.  But seriously, the landscape of these card shows and the hobby have changed.  The hobby has been influenced by influencers.  I’m sure I’ve been sucked into some of it as well…I’m a sucker most of the time.  Well, anyways.  While at Bill’s table there was a group of twenty somethings buying graded basketball cards.  Not just some basic cards, LeBron and Kobe rookies.  These youngsters has some loot too.  The tallest one, I’ll call him Chad for the sake of conversation.  Chad pulled out a ziplock back…the kind with the plastic slider, not the integrated slider…he had the baller ziplocks.  That bag was way too aggressively slammed down on the glass display case and in it was a four inch stack of cash…at least.  All twenties, at least from what I could tell.  Chad was not messing around.  He wanted those slabs and got those slabs.  The Chad gang left right after the purchase and went to their cars…I guess to unload the weight.

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Number NINE! Biggie Says: Stay the F*** from police.

Well, maybe the police don’t have anything to do with this one.  Other than possibly the moral collector police or the “back in my day” police.  I totally get the frustration we all have with the hobby at times and the influx of new faces, but things change.  I like to see this change as good for the hobby.  It increases accessibility, awareness, attendance and other words starting with A’s.  It also increases interest.  Our hobby has had, in my mind, a negative perception for those that don’t know.  We’re seen as overgrown children doing children things…collecting WHAT??!!  I had those when I was a kid…why do you still collect cards…now you know why number one was so important to me.  I like to see how others collect and I honestly don’t care if someone objects to my collection process or methods.  This hobby is huge and has many lanes for all of us to participate in…let enjoy and not overly police others that are new to the hobby.  So, not only stay the f*** from police, don’t be one!

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Number TEN! Biggie Says: Consignment, if you ain’t got no clientele, say hell no!

Consignment, yeah…no thanks…well, maybe.  Selling cards is tough, you really need a lot of stock to make some money in doing it.  Collecting cards is also tough, you really need some good collector friends and online searches to find what you want.  Do we really need consignment in our hobby?  Many times I’ve been sent a link on twitter for a great Washington card and pursued it.  Some times the favor was returned when I posted a card…sort of a communal sharing.  Ebay is a bit of a consignment…they take a huge chunk of your change so you can sell your items to a significantly larger audience.  Helpful yes.  Paying for them to such a thing, not so much.  But, honestly would I have sold that card without them and their reach…?  I don’t know…may say hell maybe to consignment.

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Hope you enjoyed the read.

Hope it was slightly entertaining and engaging.

My apologies for the ramblings, but hey…isn’t a blog supposed to be about ramblings? 

Have a great evening and see you next time!

-Cardboard Hogs

And now…the inspiration for today’s post…as well as the inspiration for the song for the post…so metta.

The beginnings of a Blography

A few years ago, about 14 to be exact, I decided to pursue every card for the Washington Football Team, nee Washington Redskins.  For years I had been collecting the cards of my favorite guys on the team, Sonny, Charley, Monk, Riggins, etc…then being upset when those players moved on to other teams…ie Champ Bailey and LaVar Arrington.  I had no desire to save those guys cards since they left on somewhat bad terms.  I had their cards, but no idea what to do with them…didn’t want them in new unis, save for a handful of guys.  So what do I do with all those cards and how can I organize them in a way that will suffice for me.  Being a fan of a team means cheering for the uniform more than the player, well maybe that’s just my opinion but yeah…I cheer for the helmet!  The way sports are today, guys just don’t spend their entire career with one team…and that’s cool with me.  Being forced to work in a place you may not want to work is completely understandable, regardless of the benefits and money you receive. 

Freedom of choice matters…man, this is starting to get political…

Anyways, my loyalty has always been to my favorite team’s first.  The Washington Football Team…redskins…

So I decided to just do what made the most sense and collect everything Washington Football related!  This simplified everything and became clearer…well, far more complicated but at least I had an end game in mind…that said, the mid – 90’s to today’s checklists are out of control with all damn variations. 

So here we are, what do I want to share with ya’ll today? 

One of the main reasons for reviving the blog was to be more player focused in my posts.  I can pick a player that had an impact with the team, like Champ or LaVar, share the cards I have and blog about it.  Maybe even do some research and write a bit of a biography of sorts with cards attached.  Maybe share some stories of their playing days if they were around when I was watching.  Yeah, that sounds like fun to me.  Research my favorite team, my favorite players, my favorite hobby…the trifecta of cis-male goodness!   

Deciding who to let be the captain of this maiden voyage of Cardboard Hogs Blographies was tough though.  Do I go with my favorite player from my childhood?  The guy with the most success?  The guy with the greatest hair?  The guy with the greatest off the field stories and drunken history stories…no, I will not begin with John Riggins.  I’m gonna save him for another day, not sure what the day will be…but it will be appropriate…plus I want to make sure I get it right. 

I wanted to start with a player that had impact off as well as on the playing field.  Someone that would leave a great impression on the world and humanity, not just sports.  They had to be an important person, a respectable person and someone I wouldn’t regret being the first post in this series…like…well, I’m not going to shame anyone.  If you’re a fan of this team, I’m sure you can come up with a number of names.

The person to get this ship moving in its new direction is:

Robert Cornelius Mitchell aka Bobby Mitchell, number 49 for the Washington Redskins

Born: June 6, 1935 – Hot Springs, Arkansas

Died: April 5, 2020

Drafted: 1958 NFL Draft, Round 7, Pick 84 by the Cleveland Browns

Years with Redskins: 1962 – 1968

All Pro Seasons: 1962 – 1964

Pro Bowl Season: 1960, 1962 – 1964

Pro Football Hall of Fame Induction: 1983

The year 2020 was a memorable one, not a good memorable one…but memorable nonetheless.  We all know that…I’m stating the obvious.  We learned a lot about ourselves and others around us as well.  We found out what’s important to our family and the families of others we don’t interact with on a daily basis.  Our political viewpoints have hopefully evolved and gained more empathy towards others.  Hopefully we’ve gained an understanding that we all are dealing with something in our lives, life can be tough and filled with challenged but some have dealt with far greater challenges than us.  This year those voices became louder and more powerful than they ever have in my lifetime, and I think it’s tremendous.  A great step in the right direction for humanity as a whole. 

Bobby Mitchell, The player had a impactful role as a versatile tailback and receiver in the NFL…doing just about everything to help the team get in the end zone.  As a leader, he was pivotal in integrating the NFL as he was the first black player to play for the Washington Redskins when he donned the Burgundy and Gold on September 16th 1962.  The last team to do so in the NFL.  To put some perspective on that date, the first African Americans to play in an NFL game were Fritz Pollard and Bobby Marshall, in 1920.  Now, to be clear the population of black athletes in the NFL was minimal, only 9 men took the field between 1920 and 1926.  Miniscule numbers draped in ignorant racism and segregationists running the league.  By the mid-40’s, the NFL would see an increase in black athletes joining teams, albeit a minor population uptick to the league.  Like many throughout the country they were faced with endless forms racism daily, not just in public but also in places where they worked.

Mitchell’s path to Washington wasn’t necessarily a long welcoming route as you would imagine.  The racist owner, George Preston Marshall, had refused to integrate and ultimately brought in their first African American player in ‘62.  Ten years after the last teams integrated in 1952…that’s a decade of segregation added on to the previous lifetime of racism from George Preston Marshall. 

As the story goes, early in 1961 Marshall was pushed to integrate his team…or lose his lease to the newly completed and modern DC Stadium (later named RFK Stadium).  So, Marshall did the best he thought he could and draft a player in the upcoming NFL draft.  The Redskins had the first pick in the 1962 draft and selected Ernie Davis, the 1961 Heisman Trophy Winner.  Ernie not being one to deal with some bullshit refused to play for the racist owner and demanded a trade.  He, very happily was sent to the Cleveland Browns where he would be a teammate of fellow Syracuse Alum, Jim Brown.  A formidable backfield for the Browns.  As part of that trade, Cleveland would send their first round pick that year, Leroy Jackson and Bobby Mitchell to Washington.  Making Bobby Mitchell and LeRoy Jackson the first African American players to be on the Washington Redskins and in turn making the team the last NFL team to integrate…again in 1962!  Again, ten years after the last NFL team to integrate and 15 years after Jackie joined the Dodgers! 

Bobby Mitchell retired in 1968, he trailed only Jim Brown for most all-purpose yards racking up over 14,000 as a receiver, rusher, kick and punt returner.  After his retirement, he immediately moved into a front office career as a scout with the team that refused to allow black players to be part of their organization.  Now, he was helping draft and develop players to be part of the organization.  Quite a turnaround for the franchise.  He never made it to the position of GM, which could have been in part to lingering racism or hidden biases from the teams owners.  He did end up staying with the teams front office for 34 years and on the field for 7.  Forty One years as a Washington Redskin…wow.  Any fan of the team knows this is an epic tenure, well it is for any sport really.    

Bobby is included in the Washington Football Teams Ring of Honor and his number, 49 was posthumously retired in 2020.  He is only the second player with a retired number.  Sammy Baugh’s 33 is the other retired number.

Bobby Mitchell died at the age of 84 in April of 2020.  The team had planned to add his number to their sleeves for the 2020 season to celebrate his life and his remarkable NFL career, but also his impact on the game.  He was a legendary player that did a lot of great civil rights work off the field and was a vital part of the 60’s athlete activist group along with the likes of Muhammad Ali, Bill Russell, Jim Brown and many other important figures from that era.  

A few months later in July, the Washington Redskins succumbed to the changing world and pressure from various civil right groups to drop the racist image and moniker.  These were brought to the organization by George Preston Marshall and held on to for over 80 years.  The organization now moves forward, for now as the Washington Football Team. 

Not sure if there is anything poetic in all of this.  The importance of Bobby Mitchell to the organization and his role is breaking down the barriers of racism seem to blend beautifully with the name change.  When you see his number being worn on the chest of every player…it just feels right, especially in this time and this moment…It feels like the time has come to heal and move forward.  To look at people as individuals doing the best they can to enjoy their time on earth, respecting everyone and having room for others differences.  With Washington being the Football Team now, the importance of unity and working together to make something better is indeed poetic, to me at least…Football Team.  A name that represents a group of men from all over the country and from different backgrounds, education, families, traditions, ancestry working together to achieve greatness…as one unit…as a team.

I hope you enjoyed the write up here.  My intention is to make it enjoyable, something to learn from and hopefully interest you as a reader.  I’m planning to do quite a few of these blogographies over the course of the year and beyond and would love to hear some thoughts from you.  Thanks for reading!

-Cardboard Hogs

The 1st Post : a peek behind the curtain

I have OCD, ie…having a tendency towards excessive orderliness, perfectionism, and great attention to detail or more generally a fixation on things being where I expect them to be…at all times…you should also read that as control.  I like to have control of things.  Not to a “Sleeping with the Enemy” level, I’m no psycho. 

When I don’t have control of my environment I can get rattled or frazzled.  Thrown off kilter to a point where I can’t manage the task at hand and I need to step away, take a breath or a walk, move on to something else…or just take a nap.  Yeah.  That’s a defeatist perspective, but that’s how my brain works. 

I’ve tried to rewire it, but to no avail. 

I’ve read books on how to let go of things, but to no avail.

I’ve discussed letting go of things beyond my control with professionals, but to no avail.

Honestly, I don’t really care.  I like it.  It’s a daily challenge, but something I’m up for.  The issue is that most of the world around me doesn’t let me work in this format.  I work in an office where you collaborate or die, inclusivity is critical and unilateral decisions aren’t allowed…even if the unilateral decision is the correct one…or so I think.  Maybe it’s for the better?  Who knows?  What I do know is that the world I live in needs to be shared with the people that accompany it with me on a daily basis, and that’s ok.  Just as long as I have my cards.  I can control those.  I can make unilateral decisions and abandon or start a project on a whim.  That’s what I’m talkin’ about!

My cards and my card space are the one thing that I’m able to control (…mostly…), and I like that.  It brings me great joy.  As I’ve mentioned in the past and quite recently, my card space is my respite.  My place to get away.  There are no windows and it can be cold.  It is also a bit dark, read cozy. 

The lack of windows are excellent on these mid to late winter days in the Pacific Northwest as it’s mostly dark and gray outside anyways…plus the cards don’t need vitamin D.  It’s bad for them, well UV rays are bad for the cards.  I’m sure they could benefit from some sort of nutrients. 

The cold, on the other hand…that has a remedy.  I have an electric gas fire place right next to me that I can turn on or off as needed.  There are two problem with this though.  It gets really, really, really hot after five minutes and one of our cats LOVES it.  Loves it so much that he tends to get a little pissy when I turn it off to cool down a bit.  Sometimes, the pissy-ness leads to him jumping on my table and messing up my current stack of work.  Freakin’ cats man…

So, how did I get a card room you ask?  Well, a few years ago our basement was a mess.  A transitional purgatory of sorts.  The space became the in-between, where stuff we didn’t want to see in our main living space upstairs would go before it made its way to the garage.  The next step being the final death march and the once loved items last trip to either Goodwill, the dump or some other location of no return.  That all changed when our then 5 year old son needed the closet in his room for his things…so greedy!

Along with the sign off of my wife, I took over the basement.  I moved in!  All my cards and boxes were moved downstairs and it was great…excellent.  Over the last 30+ months I’ve been fine tuning the space and have it at about 94% where I want it.  I’m working on some more lighting in the space and re-allocation of storage areas.

So without further ado, here are some pics of where I write, open, sort, stack, sleeve, label and store my collection.

My Desk Area

Yeah, this is where the magic happens.  Artifacts and remnants.  Kinda goes against the OCD factor doesn’t it?  Well, this was once a well curated shelf of memorabilia and odd ball items that I didn’t want to store away, but rather have for display.  It’s gotten out of control a bit, but I’ve been working on other things and it’s ok with me.  I kind of enjoy the randomness.  When I did the wallet card post, I pulled them from this shelf and discovered so many things I had forgotten about…that’s kinda fun isn’t it?

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So, about the desk.  I picked that up at a resale furniture place we have on the central eastside called City Liquidators.  I love that place so much, but not as much as I love this desk.  It’s heavy as shit and really, really, really cool.  Three long sliding drawings on the left side filled with penny sleeves, top loaders and mag holders.  I like to have supplies ready to go and hate running out, especially when I’m in the middle of a project.

The desk also has these slide out supports for additional working space on the left and the right.  I like to use the one on the right as the box holder that I’m working through.  It keeps everything out of the way and tidy…clears up the main desk for working.

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The side desk is also great.  My wife had this in her office at one point, but decided she no longer needed it.  I added the cutting mat and use this as my main sorting desk…it’s great to have all these spaces so close to each other as it reduced the getting up and moving around bit that slows down progress.

The room came with a shelf nook that I’ve taken over with Washington Redskins paraphernalia…bobble heads, signed mini helmets and some awesome art work from Gypsy Oak and personal heroes of mine – Lou Gehrig, Sammy Baugh, Muhammad Ali and Hank Aaron.

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The Binder Shelves

The binder shelves were the real bonus of moving downstairs to the basement.  Before I had all these cards in 600, 800 or 900 count boxes.  That was a completely fine solution and I was ok with it, but the thing I love about the cards we all collect is seeing them.  I’m not too fond of just owning it.  I want to be able to see them.  This allows for that.  I’ve made these incredibly simple labels a few years ago that make me happy.  All the binders (for now…1980’s-1990’s Donruss and Fleer coming soon…) are Topps and they show the year with the Topps company logo for the release, totals for the binder and a QR code that takes you to the Cardboard Collection set checklist for some additional information…I was really proud of that addition as it added a little extra.  I’ve also added some “dust collection” binders on top for any update sets and other smaller sets.  The bottom row houses my “ultimate Redskins collection”.  That’s my biggest project.

Above the 1960 – 2005 shelves are the sealed factory sets from 1986 to present, yeah I like to buy those and keep ‘em.  It all started with a Christmas gift in 1986 and I haven’t looked back since.  I’ve also got three Redskins helmets of Alex Smith, Mark Rypien and Doug Williams…still looking for Joe Theismann to complete my Super Bowl winning Quarterback collection.

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The next set of shelves covers 2006 – present as well as the Topps Heritage sets I’ve got.  The 5000 count boxes above are all my common baseball cards organized by division and by team.  Five rows works out nice until they expand…then these will need to be adjusted.

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The Armoir

The armoir is the player PC home.  This is where the Rickey Henderson and Derek Jeter cards live along with baseball and football stars.  Removeable tabs to allow for adjustments…😊.  I also keep my backup stash here and some other very random items that I’ve been working through over the COVID working from home era.

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Below are two pull out drawers that hold the smaller player PC collection that includes; Don Mattingly, Dale Murphy, Bryce Harper, JT Riddle, Yankees cards, Robinson Cano, Steven Strasburg, Trea Turner along with a few other young stars from the Yankees and Nationals.

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The Bookshelves

The bookshelves…another collection of mine.  One that probably annoys my wife the most.  I read quite a bit and really enjoy reading…just not enough to justify the amount of books I own.  Have you ever seen that Twilight Zone where the guy just wants to read all day…that would be me, but also organize my cards.  Unfortunately, my job gets in the way of that.  This shelf also houses the tins from earlier this year…you know, prior to all this COVID insanity.  Remember when these were a thing?  Seems like three years ago now.

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Moving down we have some flat files that houses my wifes photography (she’s professional photographer) as well as some of my other posters or large items that I have no wall display for.  This is also my photographing station…the black box…along with a hat collection…jeez, I collect everything…

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The Storage Room

Last stop on the insanity train…I’m realizing how nuts this is now that I’m writing about it…I hate to run out of supplies.  I also have an issue with buying pairs of things.  If my wife asks me to pick up a dozen eggs, she knows I’m coming home with twenty-four.  No idea why I can’t control that…it just happens.  Everything you see here is supplies.  Supplies for shipping eBay stuff.  Supplies for storing and protecting cards…just more stuff to hold all my stuff.

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Since I only care about the Washington Football Team, I sell any football cards I get…this is where they live until I move them.

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Here are some more back up supplies.  If the box is empty, I store it upside down.  If the box has foam core spacers in it, right side up.  I have a system ya’ll

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Lastly, some Project 2020 stuff that I’ll share once I’ve got everything in order.  Some loved it, some hated it.  I loved it and thought the cards were great in hand…coming soon!

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So yeah, lots of stuff and lots of collecting going on here.  I do have a problem, but more importantly I have a patient wife that allows me to do what I love.  This keeps me sane and refreshes me when I need it most.  I really hope you enjoyed the virtual tour of my space and would love to see what you all are working with.  I know this has been done to no end before, but it’s always great to see how people are managing their collections and a great way to get some new ideas.

Thanks!

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It’s 2021 and we’re still here.  Alive and well.  I hope this year is a wonderful year for every one of you out in the blogosphere.  I missed you guys and glad to be back in the mix a bit.  I have some plans for what I want to write about in ’21 and excited to share once that gets going.  Thanks for reading and I’m happy that we’re all still standing…

The Last Post…and a farewell to a Villain

This year has finally come to an end.  An unforgiving parallel universe of a year where wrong was right and low was even further lower than we could all imagine.  Maybe it was the end of a bad dream, the kind of nightmare where you’re about to crash into a concrete wall, screeching brakes being hammered to the floor, arms off the wheel to cover your eyes, barreling towards the wall and nanoseconds before impact you wake up.  Sweating.  Shaking.  Breathing heavily.  Saying to yourself, “what the hell just happened!”  The nightmare has ended…for now, but is it really over?  What will ’21 bring for us?  I would love to see an overcorrection from the wrong to the right and some goodness be brought to everyone.  More generosity and kindness.  Less judgement and crassness towards others.  Can we live our lives in a manner that we want to without condescension?  I sure hope so. 

I love this hobby, I love it dearly.  It brings me great joy.  In a world where I have marginal control over things, I can control my collection. 

It’s there when I need it to regroup emotionally…I’m a highly anxious person. 

It’s there when I’ve had a rough day and need to zone out…I worry too much about others opinions.

It’s there when I need a new organizing project and get an idea in the middle of the night…I got some OCD too.

Our hobby is fantastic.  A lot has changed about it this past year. 

I hope it keeps evolving. 

I hope the people that are new are welcomed with open arms.

I hope the new people take some history lessons and learn about our hobby.

I hope we let people collect what and how they want to collect.

For 2021, I will be more involved in helping to make this hobby great.  Reaching out to bloggers, twitter folks, flippers, old-school collectors and the new ones as well.  I plan to buy more from my LCS than eBay, but I also plan to sell more on eBay.  I want to find a happy middle where I can enjoy the hobby without feeling like I am going to strangle myself financially.  Creating a net zero cost of cards is the ultimate goal, not sure how that will get done.  The architecture and build portion of the world is attempting to reduce carbon emissions significantly with the 2030 challenge, but this is nothing like that. 

I just want to have fun with these pieces of cardboard and card stock and shiny whatever the hell they are materials.  I hope you do too!

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With the end of the year usually comes collecting or personal goals.  I’m not going to list anything, I think that’s mostly been covered by the manifesto above.  So, instead, I’d like to take the time to update the annual wallet card and take a look back. 

I started carrying a card in my wallet quite a few years ago.  It was a way to always keep the hobby with me wherever I went.  Every once in a while the card would be exposed to other people and it would start a conversation, or maybe just some ridicule from some colleagues…architects can be a judgmental group, ya know?

At some point along the way, I’ve lost a few cards…but here’s what I’ve got since I started the blog.

2020: Derek Jeter, New York Yankees 1999 Pacific Paramount, card #162

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2019: Dale Murphy, Atlanta Braves 1987 Topps, card #490

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2018: Joe Gibbs, Washington Redskins 1992 Pro Set, card #90

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2017: Derek Jeter, New York Yankees 2014 Gypsy Queen, card #N174-DJ

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2016: Art Monk, Washington Redskins 1985 Topps, card # 185

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2015: Rickey Henderson, New York Yankees 1986 Topps, card #500

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2014: Joe Gibbs, Washington Redskins 1990 Pro Set, card #333

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2013: Jackie Robinson, Brooklyn Dodgers 1991 Topps Archives, card #1

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AND NOW, FOR TWO-THOUSAND TWENTY ONE!  THE NEW WALLET CARD IS (drumroll…)

2021: Santana Moss, Washington Redskins 2006 Topps, card #245

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I know, I know…I can hear the clapping through the keyboard!

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OK, so when I woke up this morning I was thinking about the best video I could share with you all today.  Something fun and positive and light-hearted to ring the new year in.  I was getting distracted during the day and everything was getting away from me.  When I sat down to start writing I first jumped on twitter to get an update on this mad world we’re living in…and my heart sank when I saw that MF Doom has passed away…shit shit shit shit.  He was one of my favorite MC’s…crazy entertaining and a tremendous wordsmith.  Lots of double entendre’s and just some good ol’ hip hop metaphors.  At this point, I’m not sure what took his life as he was only 49 (4 years older than me).  The one thing that can make me smile is that he actually passed away on Halloween of this year.  That’s gotta be the most MF Doom thing ever.  For the uninitiated, he was wore a ‘gladiator’ mask and was well known for skipping out on shows but still having someone perform for him…the mask helped with that endeavor.  Not sure of the reason for keeping his passing quiet for two months, but that’s none of my business really.  If you have the time, please take a listen to the video below of his collaboration with the producer Madlib for the quintessential MC and producer hip hop album.  It’s a classic. 

MADVILLAIN – MADVILLAINY

Also, check out his earlier work with KMD as Zev Love X and music from his other aliases; King Geedorah, King Ghidra, Viktor Vaughn, Metal Fingers, King Dumile and Metal Face.  He also did some work with 3rd Bass back in the day…enjoy.  Have a Happy New Year, hug your loved one, tell them you love them and stay safe out there.

-Cardboard Hogs!   

The Weekly Roundup…Aoki and WFT

Hope everyone had a great Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa or whatever you celebrate at your home.  The Cardboard Hogs family had a great time…of course it was mellow over here.  Not too many family members in the house, but we did manage to have a good amount of family conversation via phone and facetime. 

What a year, what a year, man.

During the last few months, I’ve been thinking a lot about the hobby. 

The good and the bad. 

The collectors and the flippers.

The blah blah blah…

I love the hobby and am all in for whomever wants to join.  One of the things about the hobby that I enjoy is the multitude of ways you can collect or be a part of our community.  Now with the greater reach of social media and added interest in cards, the gap between old man collector and young kid collector has been filled with so many new characters…celebrities, I mean.  That term celebrity is a difficult one to tackle.  Who is a celebrity and how did they become celebrated?  More importantly…why are they celebrated?  The one well-known name, read celebrity, I’d like to talk about today is Steve Aoki.  That’s right, this guy 

Not sure how many of you have heard of this fella.  He’s pretty big in the dance or electronic music scene, I guess…  My only real knowledge of him is, as a close friend has described…

“…a knob twisting celebrity-J, like Paris Hilton.” 

The worst part about that quote is that I’ll feel compelled to tag Paris Hilton to this post, simply because I typed her name. 

A quick snippet of Aoki’s Wiki page notes that he’s a musical renaissance man of sorts, something of each of the following titles.

”…an American entertainer, DJ, record producer and music executive. In 2012, Pollstar designated Aoki as the highest grossing dance artist in North America from tours.”

You can add online card breaker to that list, as well as card designer…and apparently future card shop owner as well.  Man, everyone has a shop these days.

When Topps started pimping him out on their site along with his upcoming cards, I said to myself. 

“DON’T BUY THAT SHIT…DON’T DO IT!!!, DON’T BE A PART OF THIS COLLABORATION OR REMIX OR WHATEVER THE HELL IT IS.  IT’S JUST A CELBRITY GRAB FROM TOPPS!!!” – yes, I was internally shouting at myself…sortofa Shia LaBeouf Just Do It sorta thing. 

but then I saw the cards and thought, eh…they’re not horrible…kinda cool even.  The photos I saw on eBay looked quite nice to me.  A bit trendy with the light blue color and some laser show lights bouncing around and whatnot.  I dove into the checklist and decided I would only pick up my PC guys.  Here’s a couple for your viewing pleasure.  Trea Turner and Bryce Harper.  Former teammates and now division rivals brought back together by a knob twisting celebrity DJ, Steve Aoki.

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Now that the cards are in hand, I must admit…a little underwhelmed.  I had imagined they would be a tad thicker, something of a nicer card stock.  They’re pretty basic.  About as basic as a card can be.  The backs are something to behold though, self-serving even.  Each player has a “REASON TO CELEBRATE” breakdown on the back, which is somewhat self-explanatory albeit brief.  Basically, Bryce likes to hit homers on opening day and Trea Turner runs fast.  The Aoki bio though, that’s where it’s at…apparently, he likes to “CAKE” people.  Topps does a good job of describing the act so I don’t have to google it and potentially come across something inappropriate on my computer.  For that, I say thank you, Topps!

I have a few more of these cards coming in; Rickey Henderson, Don Mattingly, Derek Jeter and Juan Soto.  They come in waves, their term, not mine.  I’ll share them once they come in. 

Topic change…

As I type this, The Washington Football Team can clinch the NFC East this afternoon.  If they beat the Carolina Panthers and go to 7-8 along with a New York Giants loss to the Baltimore Ravens, the WFT will have a division crown in their first year as The Washington Football Team…with no better than a .500 record…maybe worse.  To that, I say who cares!  Gimme that NFC EAST DIVISION CHAMP T-SHIRT and a home playoff game!

The great season by the young and exciting Chase Young has me passing on most cards from ebay, but here a few that came home to me this week. 

A PATRIOTIC ROCKET POP FROM PRIZM

A DISCOTEQUE BLINGY BLINGY FROM PRIZM…also apropos of today’s main character subject.

A MOODY BLACK AND WHITE VARIATION FROM PRIZM

A BIT OF CRACKED ICE FROM PRIZM

A PREMIER, YET NON-SPECIFIC EVENT OR GAME OR SOMETHING ELSE 1” SQUARE FABRIC FROM PRIZM

A PANINI INSTANT FRANCHISE CARD…I really wanted this one to be a recessed image   

Also picked up a Terry McLaurin relic, which appears to be a glove…possibly a shoe relic numbered to /99.  I was hoping to get the jersey number 17 for this one, but 12 is close and looks a tiny bit like a One-Seven.

The final card from the week is a JT Riddle Father’s Day card numbered to 50.  I had bid on a version of this card when Topps Update came out and lost when it reached $15…I thought, damn…that’s a ton of money for a JT Riddle card.  So I waited and waited, then this one showed up and got it for about five bucks shipped.  Still looking for the Mother’s Day version, superfractor and printing plates…just in case you come across them.

That’s all I got this week, hope everyone enjoys their Sunday!  I’ve been on a bit of Bob Segar tear lately…no explanation for that.  Enjoy and please feel free to turn the page on 2020 as soon as you like, doesn’t even have to be over…you know.

Organizing at 2005

After numerous years of threatening to get organized, this year it is truly happening.  It’s a slow go, but I’m getting there.  How do I get there you ask…well, let me give you an example!

The 2005 Washington Redskins…and google docs.  That’s right two things that have nothing to do with each other have come together for today’s post.  A post about a team that was anxiety inducing to watch and a blast to look back through the cards from that year. 

Now, when I mention google docs…there are layers to this.  I like, well…I require and love organization.  I can’t stand it when things are not in the place I expect them to be.  I also love and require a ‘complete’ version of something.  If is buy #3 and #7 of something, it’s only a matter of time before I’m searching for numbers 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6.  I could go on too depending on when it all ends, but I think you get the idea.  I’m a completionist…not sure that’s a word, but neither was ‘blog’ 15 years ago.  I like to have a COMPLETE list of things.  That’s an incredible challenge when dealing with sports cards, especially modern sports cards… 

Parallels

Rainbows

Inserts

Variations

Serial Numbers

SP’s

SSP’s

1 of 1’s

The list goes on and on and on and I want my list to contain each and every single one of these cards.  Now, I know I won’t get everyone.  That’s insanity and I don’t have that kind of cash.  That’s not the point.  The point is the chase.  The pursuit of the low hanging Topps flagship vs. the extra hard to find Upper Deck something or another for a specific year with a specific color variation and the SN on the back…or front.  (Do we have opinions on where those should be?  Front or Back?  I’m a back of the card guy FWIW).  So, in order to get a complete list, or at least that I can feel is 97% complete I take the inventory of cards from the Beckett database and Trading Card Database and combine them into one google sheet…here’s the Washington Redskins version (name change will happen at some point soon…).  Insane I know.  The list covers every card, some objects and a few magazines from what I could find from 1935 – Today.  That’s upwards of 70,000 cards….seems like there would be more, but 70k is what I like to call – A SHIT TON – of cards.  The frightening part is that I’m sure I’m missing a few.  I’ve already found a few cards I have that are not in the google doc.  It’s only maddening if I know about the missing misses…a bit of Schrödinger’s plates going on…ok, maybe not.  So, yeah…the list…it’s insane.  I’ve tracked everything up to 2005 and have combined the lists up to 2012.  Some more work ahead of me, but that’s part of the hobby I enjoy.

Here’s the list…if you dare!

So, the cards from 2005.  The team from 2004.  The pain.

Here’s a sampling of what I’ve checked off the list, an image of a few of my favorite cards or players from the ’04 season and ’05 designs.

First off, the Quarterbacks.  When you have two QB’s that’s ok, because a great backup is hard to come by…but when you have three…that’s too many.  It’s like an exponential thing.  Two is ok, Three is what the hell are you even doing!

Next player is LaVar Arrington.  For a few years he was hands down my favorite player.  Never really reached superstardom at Linebacker, but he was a solid player.  Then a few injuries piled up and he was quickly overlooked and shuttled off for other players that didn’t really match his caliber.  Seeing him in New York as a Giant was a heartbreaker for me…

Chris Cooley was great.  He had a tremendous sense of humor and once even showed off his prick while (I’ll let you google that and have it in your search history) snapping a pick of the playbook…not sure what was more egregious…NFL playbooks are sacred.

Santana MOSS!  Absolutely loved this guy in Washington…so much so, that I’ve been collecting his Jets cards as well.  He was so incredible and passionate, how could you not want a guy like that on your team.  He was traded for Laveranues Coles…who, ironically was traded to Washington from the Jets originally.  The second trade worked out better for my team.

The next guy, Carlos Rogers was…well…I really thought he would be special.  A high draft pick in ’05 that just didn’t pan out as a big time player in DC.  He moved on to the 49ers and had a bit of a rebirth, then on to the Raiders where he ended his career.

Ok.  Here are a couple Miami guys…I could have grouped Moss in here as well, but these two were special.  I love Portis.  One of my top 5 Washington guys of all time…Love everything he brought to the team, including Sean Taylor.  Not saying that Portis was the reason Taylor came to the team, but he did push hard.  To be honest, I don’t think it would have been wise for Joe Gibbs to pass on such a talented player…still miss ST21.

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The last group of guys are Redskins greats, guys that had a huge impact on the organization.  All three are in the Redskins ring of Fame.  Bobby Mitchell and Charley Taylor are both in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

oh yeah, found this one too…Alex Smith Rookie Card…along with one of the numerous Browns QB draft picks Charlie Frye…and future Browns QB Jason Campbell. Let’s play six degrees of separation with these guys some day.

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Since 2020 is almost done. YAY. I thought i’d share the most 2020 video from one of my favorite groups in the world. RTJ – Run The Jewels. Love these guys!

Mail week roundup and some thoughts…

I thought Sunday night would be a great time to do a weekly recap of the cards that came into my house during the week.  Mostly they will be eBay pickups.  Some will be from my two close-by LCS’s, Hoody’s and The Sports Room and there may even be a Sportlots delivery or COMC soon…oh yeah, possibly some Topps stuff too.

Sunday’s around our house are normally filled with chores.  Chores of all kinds. 

Laundry

Vacuuming

Bedroom cleaning

Yardwork

Maybe even some Washington Football Team viewing.

Washington Football Team | Sports Teams Wiki | Fandom

That last one is a must.  I’m an incredibly loyal fan, ride or die with a team that’s been killing me for nearly 40 years.  The good ol’ days are so far gone at this point that I can barely remember them.  Good players have come and bad ones too, it’s just the ebb and flow of a team that isn’t too consistent.  You get a lot of turnover during the rough years.

Well, I honestly feel like the team is beginning to make a turn for the better.  Yeah, they are now 6-8 after losing 15-20 to the Seattle Seahawks this morning…but they are still in FIRST PLACE IN THE NFC EAST!!!  Thanks to the Giants losing at home to Cleveland this evening.  What a season, eh? 

Bright spots abound for my favorite team and they are centered around this young man, at least on Defense.  To see his helmet-less face, you feel the desire to card him and make sure he’s supposed to be here…maybe it’s just me being old, but he looks like he’s still in his teens. 

A champion!

A leader!

The cornerstone of a defense that is on the verge of something special.  Chase Young ya’ll

Being one of the worst teams the past decade plus you get to collect some great players at the top of the draft.  Franchise changing players that can catapult you into a different stratosphere of winning and potentially a dynasty.  Now, let me pump the brakes here.  I don’t foresee this team being the next Patriots…I’m not nuts.  But I do see them gaining some traction and having an impact on the league in the next 5-8 years with their young talent.  The coaching staff is doing a great job and putting the team first and winning should hopefully come from that.

Being one of the worst teams the past decade plus you get to collect some great players at the top of the draft.  Franchise changing players that can catapult you into a different stratosphere of winning and potentially a dynasty.  Now, let me pump the brakes here.  I don’t foresee this team being the next Patriots…I’m not nuts.  But I do see them gaining some traction and having an impact on the league in the next 5-8 years with their young talent.  The coaching staff is doing a great job and putting the team first and winning should hopefully come from that.

Along side Chase is a player that was drafted last year.  A guy that I loved watching in college and was drafted in the first round of the 2019 draft.  Montez Sweat.  His rookie year showed lots of flashes of potential, but teaming up with Young this season has had a tremendous impact on his defensive pressure and overall play.  Both are going to be so much fun to watch the next few seasons.

Another pickup from the week is a great young RB that i’m just not sure will make it in the NFL…again, i really hope he does whether it’s with Washington or somewhere else. I’d love to see him healthy and starting somewhere…the Football Team sure could have used him this week with Antonio Gibson out again. Really hoping Bryce Love can get to 100% for 2021.

The last guy I wanted to talk about was the starting QB for the game today.  Dwayne Haskins Jr.  Quarterbacks these days aren’t allowed to develop like they were way back in the 90’s.  They are expected to start from day one and have an impact on day one.  Fair or not, that’s the way it has become.  Haskins is young, he’s athletic, he’s strong…but he’s young.  He also was a one year starter for one of the best college teams, Ohio State.  Putting up big numbers wasn’t the greatest challenge you could have every Saturday, and he took full advantage of it. 

Now, don’t get me wrong here.  I love Haskins and want him to be the guy.  I think he can achieve an extremely high bar of success in the NFL.  I just don’t think he’s there yet and I’m not sure he will get there next season either.  If this was the older NFL days, he’d be on the bench for a season or two before he was thrown into the fire…he hasn’t gotten that chance.  I hope he does and I hope he remains in Washington to be part of the rebuild.  I would love to see Haskins Jr. hoist a Lombardi trophy next to his college teammates Young and McLaurin.

***

Thinking of Sweat and Young, I’m reminded of Keith Sweat…when I was young.  Man I loved 90’s R&B.

Sittin’ on Chrome

Retail is crazy man, insane really.  I remember not that long ago when we would all laugh and joke about spending (read wasting) a Jackson on a blaster from Topps or Panini at your local Target or Wal-Mart.  We would go as far as saying, I spent $20 bucks on cards from COMC or Sportlots or eBay and got a whole bunch of fill in the blanks that I needed for my PC!!!  Yeah, I was one of those guys…but something happened. 

What was it? 

Greed? 

FOMO? 

COVID-19? 

Social Media? 

No. It was Gary Fuckin’ Vee!!! 

Well, not really.  It was a bit of all of those things…(side note, I have nothing against Gary Vee or what he has brought to the hobby, any interest in the hobby in my mind is a good thing) every one of those, plus more than what I mentioned.  I’m sure of it. 

Crazy times ya’ll.

So with retail evolving into sneaker heads land and lines waiting for new releases or limited editions of whatever’s new, my thirst for retail has grown.  Grown more out of the FOMO category more than anything else, but also just enjoying a good cheap rip once in a while.  I like to open cards.  I would venture to say we all do, or at least the vast majority of us…I need to do a better job of not speaking for others…I never depended on anything from Target to build a collection around, just something that was inexpensive that I could open on a Tuesday night…fill some need for instant gratification…and go on with my life.  A few years ago I began hording boxes.  I’d buy a box or two but not open them, you know?  Just buy them.  

Saving them for a rainy day. 

Saving them for a day that didn’t go as I had planned.

Saving them for a long week of work.

Saving them for something to write about on a blog I abandoned.

Saving them for something cool to break. 

I could pick up blasters of cards that I’m not super interested in, but like to have just to get an idea of what they look like…I like design and I like sports, so sports cards fill both of those buckets for me…but also the rip factor. 

That has obviously come to a screeching halt during the past six plus months, but I have still managed to accumulate a few tasty samples from Target and Wal-Mart as well as from my LCS’s Hoody’s and The Sports Room. 

The first two locales for an acquisition are great because the’re based on MSRP…no ‘flippity flip flipper-life’ markups.  There’s no LCS overhead cost markup or anything else that would make the box more than they should be.  Trust me (you know this too), retail boxes should not be going for these nutso upticked prices.

…HAVE YOU SEEN WHAT PRIZM FOOTBALL IS GOING FOR ON EBAY, HOLY SMOKES!!!!…

The hobby shops are a bit of a different story, there’s a markup.  The great folks over at Hoody’s though, didn’t do too much for this box of Topps Chrome 2020 I picked up a couple months ago.  $35 for a $20 box.  Nothing too egregious I guess…? 

The packs are lovely aren’t they, Mr. Pete Alonso and some honeycomb corners for the exciting Sepia Refractor Pack. Let’s see if this was worth the $35!

Here are the results of the box and the ‘bonus sepia pack’

*****

PACK ONE

Joey Gallo and Bobby Bradley

AJ Puk ’85 Insert and Luis Urias

*****

PACK TWO

JD Martinez and Austin Nola

Robel Garcia Prism Refractor and Ian Desmond

*****

PACK THREE

Archie Bradley and George Springer

Jean Segura Refractor and Trevor Story

*****

PACK FOUR

Paul Goldschmidt and Lucas Giolito

Austin Riley ’85 Insert and Jose Altuve

*****

PACK FIVE

Freddie Freeman and Nicky Lopez

Dansby Swanson Refractor and Charlie Blackmon

*****

PACK SIX

Matt Olson and Rafael Devers

Mike Yastrzemski Future Stars and Michael Fulmer

*****

PACK SEVEN

Randy Arozarena and Kevin Newman

Babe Ruth Decade of Dominance Die-Cut and Sam Hilliard

*****

PACK EIGHT…THE SEPIA PACK!

Fernando Tatis Jr. Refractor

Aaron Civale Refractor

Orlando Arcia Refractor

Luis Arraez Refractor

*****

All this writing reminds me of one of my favorite all-time MC’s, MASTA ACE! Here’s Sittin’ on Chrome…the namesake for today’s post. Enjoy the jeep thumping mid-90’s bass heavy joint.

I’m alive!…and a black box!

Tap…

Tap…

Tap…

Is this thing on?  Hello…earth to bloggers…oh hey!  How’s it going! 

Long time, no write. 

I know, I’ve been lazy and negligent in writing and I hate myself for it.  Well, not hate…that’s harsh.  I’m saddened and disappointed in myself that I’ve abandoned something I really enjoyed doing.  Writing about cards and the Redsk…Washington Football Team!  The first place Washington Football Team!  At least at the time I’m writing this post.

Anyways.

Blogging.

Man, I’ve been busy.  Really busy.  Busy with work.  Busy with family.  Busy with home projects.  Busy with organizing my collection and creating a bit of a “brand” for myself.  I know, kinda douchey, right?  Maybe not social media influencer douchey, but hey…it was a fun process to come up with an identity for my hobby.  Do you like the new logo?  I think it’s pretty cool and am really proud of it.  Earlier this year I did a couple of sketches and attempted to work on something in inDesign and realized I couldn’t accomplish what I wanted to see, so I reached out to a freelancer graphic designer for help and he pulled together a great image.  I’m really happy with the overall look, so happy in fact I’ve proposed it to the WFT as their new logo and name for the team.  It’s a crazy longshot, I know, but you know…

“you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” – Michael Jordan via Wayne Gretzky via Michael Scott.

Organizing, yes.  I’ve done lots of that and am super excited to share what I’ve done with our basement…I love it deeply, my beautiful wife though…she has some different thoughts.  The common phrase is “when do you stop”, my common response is, “whatta you mean? They make new ones each day of every year, pfffffttttt.”  She’s a patient woman and I’m incredibly lucky to have her in my life, but yeah, she could do without the small rectangular photos of men everywhere. 

More on the organizing another day. Today, I’m excited to share a quick post of how I have taken photos of my cards that I’m happy with.  I’m picky.  Very picky.  Don’t like most things and tend to be reticent to try new things, I like steady and familiar but more importantly, quality.  I just wasn’t happy with the card scans I was getting each time I sat down to document my collection.  They were pixely or too dark or not shiny enough or something, it was always something.  So I did some digging around on the ‘gram and noticed a few folks had some really nice photos and well thought out layouts for their cards…which I loved.   I reached out to a couple of them to find out their secrets and they came back with the same results…a photo box!  That was it!  I needed a photo box!  I dug around amazon and on my google machine for some options to buy and then realized…I should just make it. 

It’s crazy simple. 

It’s a box…

…that you take photos in…

IT’S A PHOTO BOX!

I did some sketching as I’m tend to do, made a gotta gettit list for Blick Art Supplies and got to makin’!  Now, before I get to any process here…I want to temper expectations.  This isn’t anything glamorous or spectacular, but it works exceptionally well for me I think the photos capture what I’d hope them to.

Here we go!

The shopping list:

  • Foamcore – 1/2″ Black.  I went with black over white mostly due to my preference to lean towards darker colors over brighter ones…plus (see next item)
  • Hardboard – 12” x 16” Dark Gray.  This was the real reason I went with black foamcore.  I couldn’t find a durable white surface with this kind of rigidity and durability.
  • LED Lights – one 6’ strip of LED lights.  I wanted the brightness of the LED’s and felt like it would be a great way to pop the colors on the cards.  Also, it allowed for a greater balance of light around the box.
  • Black Tape – 1” thick black tape.  Mostly for the corners, but also for packaging and other items you’ll see in future posts.
  • Foam Core Cutter – Fancy handle shaped cutter.  This is a must if your going to cut a lot of foam cure, which I have and which you will see in future posts.  I spent many nights in architecture studio cutting foam core and not getting a nice consistent straight line…so this is a must for me.  I’d use an x-acto knife, but they blades flex a bit and it’s a challenge to get them square…I’m picky remember?
  • Straight edge – well actually it’s a big ass ruler from home depot.  Helpful in cutting large sheets of foam core, plus it has a nice weight to it.
  • Pencil – for making marks…duh.
  • iPhone – this was really just to document the process for now, I didn’t buy one just to make a box.

Next the crafting:

  • My ultimate goal was to make the box large enough so I could capture one card or ten, or maybe a poster or maybe something else that’s oddly sized…I don’t know…I’m attempting to plan for the future.  How does one plan for the unknown!?
  • Here are the sizes and quantities:
    • 2 – 8”x16” for the long sides
    • 2 – 8”x13” for the short sides
    • 1 – 13”x17” for the top
    • 5 – 8”x10” shims (this was a minor change that I do not regret)
  • Now that the pieces are all cut, time to put this bad boy together.  The hardboard size was the driving factor for the shape, as that needed to fit snug with the inside of the box…not too snug so it’s a struggle to move in and out as wanted…but you know, snug.
  • I was going to tape the sides and leave it, but felt that I should tape and glue them to help keep it in tact a little better, so the four corners are glued and the tape is pressed pretty tightly to the edges and corners.
  • Next, the lights.  This was a little trickier than I thought…I wanted a 90degree corner for the lights, but they apparently don’t bend that way.  I ended up with a 2” or so radius which I’m happy with.  The LED lights had tape on the back, so just peel and apply.
  • Now the peep hole.  Gotta have a peep hole!  This could have been planned a little better as well, but it works.  It really depends on your phone camera.  I have an iPhone and wanted the items to be centered as much as possible in the hardboard.  I mad the cuts prior to really figuring out where the lenses were on the phone…so the hole is larger than I had hoped.  There is some light leak, but nothing significant.  I guess I can address this in the near future.
  • Lastly, put it all together and drop a card in.  I have a few older/used mag holders that I use a dummy holders for the cards.  They tend to get a little scratched over time so those get changed when needed.  I’ve made a couple tick marks with that fancy little pencil of mine so I can quickly swap cards in and out for photographing.

So yeah, that’s it!

I’ve got a great system set up and have been taking tons of photos over the past few months.  In my opinion, this process is faster (for me, at least) than scanning.  There is some time management with uploading the files and getting them where I want them, but I know a card is (mostly) square when I’ve taken a photo and I can see the output immediately.  I like it and it works well for me. 

I’m certain I will still use my scanner for some things and I’ve definitely taken and used photos without the box that I’m really happy with as well, but for the most part, this will be my path to documenting my cards.

Let me know what you think and what you do to document your cards?  I’m always super excited to hear how people maintain their collections.  Love to hear what is important to other hobbyists and collectors.

Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed it!

-Cardboard Hogs