Next level favorites and more autographs

I didn’t receive a Topps Now Christmas card today…and honestly i’m not too upset although i kinda feel a little left out.  So to make up for my collecting insecurities i stopped by the LCS to see Brian today.  There was a show on the other side of town, but i was with my offspring all morning and afternoon.  I thought making an attempt at hitting up the show would be a major failure due in part to the snow, but also to a rambunctious young boy.  I decided the baby step with a card shop visit would be a more appropriate first step…i mean, you don’t learn how to ski going down a black diamond run on your first visit to the mountain right?  The boy did great and i was able to pick up a couple new Redskins that i will get posted here soon as well as a box of the heavily discussed Bowman Draft cards.  I’ve been on a bit of a run this year with Bowman cards since they offer a huge array of prospects and on card autos for everyone…plus the chrome versions (as with all Topps chrome cards) have an odd but appealing scent to them.  I’ll try to get to those later in the week once i have a chance to open a box and go through them.

All of that stuff from the first paragraph has nothing to do with the cards i’m about to show right now.  This past September, i was between jobs and didn’t buy too many cards during that month but did pick up a couple of retail packs and a Stadium Club box from the card shop.  As you may have seen from an earlier post this week, i noted that the Willie Mays card was my favorite of the year.  Honestly, that set had numerous images that could have been labeled “Best of 2016…”.  So here are a couple other images i thought were worthy of noting.

16-sc-alex-gordon

First up is the Alex Gordon rainy day photo from the post season of 2015.  This may not be the greatest photographic image, in fact, i believe it could have helped a bit with a little more separation and cropping to show his feet and home plates…this may have allowed a little more blue at the top of the photo.  Also thing this in a landscape with some “rule of 1/3rds” going on could have made this an epic card.  That’s all nit picking…it’s a great card and a great moment captured by a talented photographer just before the pitch.

16-sc-lou-brock

Every time i see or think of Lou Brock, I can’t help but think of the Q-Tip lyric “…got the scrawny legs, but i move just like Lou Brock with speed, I’m agile plus i’m versatile…”  You get the idea.  Being a big Rickey Henderson fan, i’m also a fan of Lou Brock.  Their careers became so intertwined as Rickey entered the league breaking all of Lous’ records along with some of Maury Wills records.

16-sc-monte-irvin

The other image is of Monte Irvin and his total control of 5 bats.  Mr. Irvin passed away at the start of the year at the age of 96.  Irvin was one of those players whose professional career overlapped America’s involvement in WWII as he was part of the 1313th Battalion in Europe…but it was also during the Negro League days where he was one of the many stellar players that would eventually be part of the breaking of the color barrier.  Reading the stories of the players during this part of our countries terrible history is quite sad.  Makes you wonder what kind of numbers some of these incredibly talented players could have put up during their younger or peak years.  This is just a beautiful card.

16-sc-matt-wisler-auto

Last image is of one of the three autos i received in the box.  It’s of Matt Wisler.  The young pitcher for the Atlanta Braves who was involved in the Padres deal for Craig Kimbrel and Melvin (BJ) Upton Jr.  While he was in the Padres organization he pitched for the San Antonio Missions!  I spent many a night as a child watching the San Antonio Dodgers on the south side of San Antonio.  They later became the Missions as the relationship with the Los Angeles Dodgers was ending.  Since San Antonio is home to many wonderful historic missions, the name made sense.  Besides, everyone remembers the Alamo, right?  Speaking of San Antonio, my alma mater played in their first bowl game today but lost to New Mexico.  Tough break for the young program.  Baby steps.

As i mentioned, i received 3 autographs but two of them were redemptions which i have yet to receive.  I’m hoping to get them in the next month or so…no idea when really, but both of the names are great and i’m not too interested in asking for a replacement…so now i wait…

The next two cards were from a jumbo box of Topps Series 2.  One is a great prospect and the other is a guy form the Reds organization that may or may not pan out…who knows?  Sticker autos are always a little disappointing.  There’s just something about the card being in the signers hand rather than a sheet of Apex sticker sheets…or whatever is used.  Anybody know?

16-tsr-kyle-waldrop-auto

Kind of proud of the Raul Mondesi card.  Ties in nicely with the Alex Gordon from above i guess.  Raul is only 21 and is already a World Series champion with a very bright future…lets see what happens in 2017!

16-tsr-raul-mondesi-auto

As i mentioned, i wasn’t able to make the card show today which isn’t too unusual since i tend to hit them up every other month and i was there in November.  Still enjoy going to the shows and talking to my favorite dealers and collecting with the old guys there.  The vintage dudes seem to love telling stories of cards they had and have lost through the years…love it!  Great time…wish i could have a drink with most of those guys though.

Box Break: 2013 Topps Magic Football

It’s been a while since i’ve picked up a box of cards.  I have been doing my best to stay away from boxes of cards unless I plan to put the set together since I have terrible luck with the ‘hits’.  I’m not a hit chaser and don’t plan to be one either…but I do love opening packs of cards.  It takes me back to being a happy go lucky kid with $5 in my pocket riding my bike to the Stop’n Go for a few packs of 1986 Topps or Garbage Pail Kids and tall bottle of coke…man, those were the days.  Back when $5 could get you way more than 8 cards to a pack.

As you can see from the title, the box is Magic Football from this year.  Unlike the last couple of years, the rookie class isn’t too exciting…but I love this brand and here we go!

Card Design: 3.5 of 5

Just like the past couple of years, the base card design is pretty simple.

13 TM Josh Gordon

Topps does it’s best to give these cards a sort of retro look with the banner and stars.  Nobody really does that anymore, do they?  seems like a throwback to the 50’s.  I’ve always felt like Magic is Topps version of Heritage for football, minus the copying of vintage designs.  Instead of copying them verbatim, they take bits and pieces of the cards to create a ‘new throwback’ look, which i love.

13 TM Marshawn Lynch

I also like that they used a good solid card stock with no glossy finish.  I’m kind of old school like that.  The glossy cards are great and have a time and place, but i really enjoy a card that isn’t slippery or covered with texture.  Just some nice smooth cardboard with a little friction.  Such a weird comment…

Photography: 4 of 5

Photography, yes, photography.  The photos are highly over processed and in most cases i despise this.  Technology is a great thing, but a heavy hand can ruin a great photo.

13 TM Josh Freeman

I was quite impressed that Topps was able to get a photo (almost looks photoshopped, eh?) of Josh Freeman’s short lived stint with the Vikings (is he coming back to the Vikings next year?) As i’ve mentioned in previous posts, I enjoy photography and my wife is a professional photographer, so we have our fair share of HDR imagery discussion in our home.  Fun huh?

13 TM Jawan Jamison

This fairly new form of photo processing is everywhere now and definitely has its place…and I think sports card photography is that place.

13 TM Alfred Morris

The photos on these cards always look really sharp and you can see a lot of texture and depth on each card…i guess for some, this may make up for the lack of glossy-ness.

Look at that smile!  And those Tattoos!

13 TM Brandon Jenkins

Look at those crazy eyes!  And that old school mesh jersey top!

13 TM Roger Craig

Hits: 3 of 5

As i’ve mentioned, I do not by boxes for the hits.  I am not that type of collector.  Magic does offer three autographs in their boxes along with the occasional relic or memorabilia card.  The autographs are stickers though…ugh stickers…better than redemptions, but man an on card autograph is so great!  Since the rookie class wasn’t too stellar this year, the autographs weren’t that stellar either.

Brandon Myers – New York Giants

13 TM Brandon Myers Autograph

Kayvon Webster – Denver Broncos

13 TM Kayvon Webster Autograph

Khaseem Greene – Chicago Bears

13 TM Khaseem Greene Autograph

Magic is owned by Topps, so they fill your box up with little hits and parallels and a whole bunch of other shit that makes collectors want to collect things they don’t really want to collect.  Like some micro cards with Drew Brees and Arian Foster on them.

13 TM Brees Foster 1948 Minis

or how about some receiver action with Cal bookends of Keenan Allen and DeSean Jackson sandwiching Anquan Boldin from the base white mini.

13 TM Allen Bolden Jackson Mini

How about some green border minis with these three dudes.

13 TM Hunt Wheaton Holmes Green Border Mini

Or what about these black border minis!

13 TM Gates LaFell Black Border Mini

and a Hall of Famer Blue Border mini!

13 TM Andre Reed Blue Border Mini

I could have done without these groovy Aerial Attack inserts…but my wife loves Cam, so here honey.

13 TM Cam Newton Aerial Attack

The colors on this thing…holy crap…ho-lee-crap.

13 TM Adrian Peterson Ground and Pound

The Rookie Enchantments are back, but aren’t that enchanting.

13 TM Mike Glennon Rookie Enchantment

Markus Wheaton for all of you Steeler fans out there.

13 TM Markus Wheaton Rookie Enchantment

and a Cordarelle Patterson card.

13 TM Cordarelle Patterson Rookie Enchantment

Desmond Trufant, a man that Steve Smith respects.

13 TM Desmond Trufant Rookie Enchantment

Review

All in all, i love the cards.  I was really hoping to put together a set, but after seeing the 330 card set checklist and heavy dose of SP cards i’m not sure that’s gonna happen.  I need to think about it.  My collection is a bit chaotic right now and this won’t help with the chaos.  I really wish Topps went a little lighter on the SP’s.  A box of these guys won’t set you back too much, but if you plan on putting the set together you could be dropping well over $100 on this set and i’m not sure that’s worth it for this group of cards.

13 TM Jordan Reed

and a MINI!

13 TM Jordan Reed Mini

Bacarri Rambo…the best name ever.

13 TM Bacarri Rambo

Hope you enjoyed the review…my pack breakdown for 2014 Topps will be up soon.  I’m waiting for everyone else to release theirs before I put my thoughts out there.  🙂

Leather Helmets and Art, Pt. VI

One more 1950 Bowman card!

I completely forgot about this guy…or maybe I ain’t no good at countin’ higher then five.  Howie Livingston, number 24.  My favorite number!  This handsome young fella got his NFL start with the New York Football Giants. I can forgive him for that…you have to let these things go you know.  These guys play football for a living and don’t have the same passion for their teams like we do.  So you have to get over it and appreciate them when they are rocking the Burgundy and Gold or whatever color combinations your favorite team wears.  

50 BO Howie Livingston F

Like a lot of these mid century guys, there’s not much information out there without doing some serious research which I’m not too keen on doing at this point of the evening.  A quick peek at his NFL stats lead you to believe he was quite a beast on the field.  He had 9 picks in his first year in the NFL and 29 for his career.  But, as you can see from the back of his card his position was halfback and hd also had 313 yards rushing in the same season.  He was a dual threat before dual threats were dual threats.

50 BO Howie Livingston B

This kid also punted!

Howie has a strong chin.  I wish this card has some clouds or blue sky in the background.  The bland green (is it really beige?) background needs a little life.

 

Sick Pickups!

The title is true, but not in the douchey overused term that is used way too much in this hobby today.  My whole family was sick, including me.  The wife and baby had the H1N1, aka swine flu and luckily i avoided it.  There has been a minor breakout of this strand of flu in Portland and SW Washington…but i somehow missed out, I guess I’m just strong like that!

The sick pickup part comes in to play with an evening visit to Target to get a few physical mending supplies like juices, fruits and drugs.  I’ve been avoiding retail packs for a while now because of the unlikeliness of getting anything worthwhile.  I ended up buying a few packs just to see what the cards look like, knowing I wouldn’t be happy with any of them.  I guess I was delirious and more than happy to fill my slightly sick body with new shiny football cards.  Here are some fun scans of what i spent my hard earned loot on.

The first pack was Absolute Football from the fine folks over at Panini.  I pulled two QB’s that I have a lot of respect for, even though i can’t stand either of their teams.  The Cowboys dislike should be obvious…they are the hated rivals.

13 AF Tony Romo

The Seahawks one may not be as clear for you.  I find their fans to be a little over the top.  I’ve been to football games in Dallas, Houston, Seattle, New Orleans and DC.  The fans in Seattle are hands down the most belligerent and a little too handsy for my liking.  Plus they act as though they’ve won 3 Super Bowls.  They haven’t, but the Redskins have.  Now, that’s not to take anything away from Wilson.  I think he is great.  I actually love the kid.  He’s modest and works really hard and I believe he is going to become one of the leagues great QB’s.  He’s also an underdog which I always love.

13 AF Russell Wilson

I also managed to pull a serial numbered Phillip Thomas card.

13 PP Phillip Thomas 411:499

Next up is Topps Prime.  The base cards of this set are decent.  I feel that the photos are way too tight on the players and would love to see a full photo of the athletes…maybe that sounds weird if you read it out loud, but I think you know what i mean.  Is it me or is Milliner’s smile a little goofy?

13 TP Rob Gronkowski Dee Milliner

Jordan Reed!  I have the hobby version of this card, now the thinner retail version is in my sole possession.

13 TP Jordan Reed

Ok, so this next card really caught me off guard.  Is this seriously the best photo Topps could get of Matt Ryan?  I have to believe there are at least 15 other photos that could have been used, but they chose this shot.  He’s even staring in to the camera while giving his center the business!  I’m sure Mrs. Ryan is none too happy about the photo immortalized on card stock…at least it’s not a butt fumble card…Mr. Sanchez…

13 TP Matt Ryan

The final pack was PRIZM.  YES!  I loved Prizm last year and I think this years cards are equally as nice.  Love the quality of the card, the texture and photography of them as well.  Target has a small rack pack that came with 3 red parallel cards, and here are two of them.  Both are often injured RB’s.  These red cards have a nice sparkle to them, almost like a disco ball or some fancy pop star sequence…very shimmery when viewed in person.

13 PP Ryan Mathews Red Target Parallel

Spankee, if you like the Wilson…it’s yours.

13 PP David Wilson Red Target Parallel

Here are two more cards.  Michael Vick.  He would look good in the Burgundy and Gold next year as a backup to RGIII and could teach him how to survive in the NFL.  Maybe teach him how to slide too?  Or just run out of bound before being tackled?  #justsayin

13 PP Michael Vick

Kenjon Barner.  Showing this one because he’s a Duck and so am I…sort of.

13 PP Kenjon Barner

The last two cards came from the Prizm pack.  I’m guessing they are not part of any Prizm insert or chase set as they have none of the qualities of Prizm.  BUT, they do have a QR code on the back that takes you to an online video.  Unfortunately Kenny Stills doesn’t explain his hair in the interview which I think is a huge missed opportunity.  Terrance Williams broke my heart this afternoon, but that’s nothing new.

13 PP Kenny Stills Terrance Williams

the PDX Fantasy Draft

Hey kids, big draft tonight in the PDX Fantasy League.  Wish me luck.  The wife wants me to go RG3 for the 6th pick.  Not sure i have it in me to do that…but we will see…:)

-HTTR

1st pick (6) – LeSean McCoy RB…I love this pick, this is the guy I wanted but wasn’t sure he would make it to pick 6.

2nd pick (23) – Robert Griffin III QB…ok, this is really the guy i wanted but couldn’t justify taking him in the first round, kind of wished i had waited until the 3rd, but i wasn’t sure he would make it that far.  Might have been a reach in this league at 23.

3rd pick (34) – Jimmy Graham TE…got a top ranked TE and i love the guy.  plus he doesn’t seem like the murdering type.

4th pick (51) – Montee Ball RB…this is a gamble, i don’t know much about the kid and i know the Broncos have a litany of running backs, plus Peyton likes to throw TD’s, not hand them off.

5th pick (62) – Pierre Garcon WR…love getting Garcon in the 5th.  Hope he can stay healthy and have another great year.

6th pick (79) – Anquan Boldin WR…i was thinking with all of the injuries, i couldn’t go wrong with Boldin, not to mention he is a great receiver of balls to the hands.

7th pick (90) – Seahawks DEF/ST…ok, this was a huge reach.  i’ve never taken a defense this high before.  the only reason i went for it was because of the junk that was still out there…that i didn’t want to mess with.  so i decided i would go for the #1 defense and see what happens.

8th pick (107) – Alshon Jeffery WR…lots of upside here, hope it pans out.

9th pick (118) – Kendall Wright WR…lots of upside here, hope it pans out…and that Locker can get him the ball.

10th pick (135) – Roy Helu RB…I’ve loved Helu since his rookie year, hope he can bounce back from the achilles last year.  he’s looked great so far, the only problem is how many touches will he get?

11th pick (146) – Mohamed Sanu WR…ever since he threw a bomb of a touchdown against my Redskins, i’ve kind of been following this kid.

12th pick (163) – Josh Brown K…i always wait until the very end to pick up a kicker and drop them as soon as they have a bye week.  kickers get no love from me.

All in all, i am really happy with my draft and feel pretty confident.  I’m a little thin at RB which i am every season…so we will see!

Box Break: 2012 Topps Magic Football

A busted box of Topps Magic Football has been sitting on my stack of cards for some time now just waiting to get judged, and now is the time.

Magic was something that i got into (cards, not tricks) a couple of years ago on a whim at Target during a deodorant shopping event.  I saw a blaster box just sitting there and thought it would be a cool purchase and was hooked from that point on.  I loved the retro look and the college unis on simple borders.  Loved it so much so that i ended up buy a few more boxes from Target but never completing the set or buying any hobby packs.  The following year, 2010 i wanted to pick up a hobby box to see if i still had a crush on these pieces of cardboard and sure enough, the love was there.  I loved the photography and simple borders as well as the card stock.  Although i do love shiny cards, i am a sucker for matte finish stuff that is done well.  Again, i bought a bunch of cards, but couldn’t be bothered with completing the set…just wanted the few Redskins and any hits i could pull.  Now, in 2011, it got a little tricky…and extremely annoying.  Magic had become a set that i was tuned in to on when it would be dropping and where i could pick up some good packs.  BUT, as Topps likes to do sometimes, they changed the rules, moved the goal posts and upset this collector.  The only way to get a box of Magic was to purchase them from their online store and pay their exorbitant shipping fees, which was about the same price as the box itself if i remember correctly.  SCREW THAT, no thanks.  I was able to pick up a few singles from COMC and ebay but no packs, since they weren’t really issuing those this year.  I never really found out why Topps decided this was a good idea, but would love to hear the reasoning if someone can help?

After the previous years experience, i had pretty much forgotten about the Magic cards and moved on with my life as we do with Topps at times.  Until, i saw they were going to be releasing a new set and boxes that you can purchase at a store…holy crap!  You mean i can buy cards from a store and not online only?  Normally i wouldn’t be so snotty about this, as i am totally cool with purchasing online, i just don’t want my only options to be online purchases.  Takes away from the fun of busting packs on a Wednesday afternoon after work.

IMG_7695

So here is my take on the 2012 version of Topps Magic.

Card Design: 4 of 5

In keeping with the simple style, Topps has again followed through with the same KISS theme.  Minimal information is on the front, but you get the basics; name, position, conference, team helmet, and a whole bunch of stars that make no sense to me.  The banners blends in nicely with the border and unfolds to reveal the critical information like a scroll with an oversized shield.

12 TM Luck and Richardson

The backs are nice and include some fun little facts with the Magical Memoranda.  You don’t get your typical stats, but they tend to highlight some important information and single game stats for your FYI.  As usual, nice card stock and the lovely matte finish.  The matte finish is nice in a world of glossy cards.  They have become the rarity in the hobby for the most part, save for the vintage inspired sets.

Photography: 5 of 5

The thing that i am most drawn to this set about is the photography.  They have HDR’d the crap out of the photos and really over processed them, but i think it works well for these and tends to give the players a greater level of detail and grit.  My wife is a photographer and she tends to stay away from over processing as it always looks…you guessed it, over processed.  When you are doing family portraits or architectural photography it can become a distraction, but for professional athletes it works well.

12 TM Morris and Cousins

Look at the intensity in those eyes!

12 TM Bush and Vick

Hits: 4 of 5

The hits with this brand are minimal, which is fine with me.  I believe collectors get too hot and heavy about the hits.  If that is your thing, this set isn’t for you.  If you are OK with getting a nice auto or two than you may be happy with Magic.  I ended up pulling 2 autographs and a redemption card.  So, it’s not just Panini that is slapping me with redemption cards, Topps does it too.  I’ve stated my thoughts on the redemption card here before and thought about it a little more.  Still don’t like it, but maybe it’s not that bad…assuming you actually get the card.  There have been times when i forgot about my redemption cards and come home to a manilla envelope.  It’s like a little slice of cardboard heaven when you get one you weren’t really expecting.

12 TM Ronnie Hillman Magic Auto Redemption

There are a couple of subsets in the cards as well.  Nothing to exciting.  As a matter of fact, i must say that the Charismatic Combos is not only a weak insert, but a terrible name.  Charismatic Combos, christ that’s terrible.

12 TM Manning Cruz Charismatic Combos

The ultra mini cards are cool, but a little too mini for my man hands.  If i don’t get these in some penny sleeves quick they will have rounded corners.

12 TM Tannehill and Vick super Mini

There are also the Supernatural Stars, which are not that existential or starry either galactically or professionally.

12 TM Sanchez and Turner Supernatural Stars

Magic also has the Magical Moments inserts which makes sense, because it’s Magic.  Drew Brees is on a 3 Mile Island.  Cute.

12 TM Brees and Murray Magical Moments

I do like the Enchantment cards, especially the one that i pulled…big smiley face for the RG3.

12 TM Robert Griffin III Rookie Enchantment

There were also these other good looking young running backs that have some nice upside to their careers.

12 TM Martin and James

One of the autos i pulled was a Kaepernick.  The HDR affect does his tats some serious justice although his auto is crazy sloppy.  An odd thing about this card is the photoshop flub with his hands.  It looks like the photo editor cloned his left hand over the football…kind of a crappy job for a big time player.  Let’s try harder next time Mr. Topps Photoshop editor.

12 TM Colin Kaepernick Auto12 TM Marvin McNutt Auto

Review

Overall, i do like these cards a lot.  They are simple and clean and the photos are nice.  It’s a basic card and the price point isn’t too excessive for what you get.  I haven’t decided if i am going to build the set, i did manage to get quite a bit of unique cards and minimal doubles, so i will see how i feel about it.  I do hope that Topps issues these cards again next year and does not do the online only thing.

Here are a couple of the Redskins cards i pulled from the box.  Funny that they decided to include Jabar Gaffney since he wasn’t on the team this year and he is wearing RG3’s number.  Technically, there are two Redskin cards with a player wearing number 10.

12 TM Robert Griffin III 12 TM Jabar Gaffney

Topps Magic, I like you.