Saturday, December 26, 2015

"Can" you guess my latest Gwynn collectible?

While perusing our monthly card show, I came across yet another unique Tony Gwynn collectible that I just had to have for my collection.
"Can" you guess what it was?
If you wagered a guess of the 1998 Pinnacle Inside, you're spot on!
In 1997 and 1998 Pinnacle produced cards which were sold in a collectible, steel, soup-sized can. You actually had to use a can opener to get the cards out. Of course, I don't care about the cards that might be inside, as I'm not about to open this particular Gwynn can.
This Pinnacle set was released in July 1988 and featured 150-cards, with 23 different players on the cans. There were 48 cans per case and 10 cards per can, packaged in clear cellophane. The cans themselves went for about $2.99 each. There were also two gold cans within each case.

Nutrition facts, or basic per-serving nutritional information, were required on foods under the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1990. According to this act, food labels must list the most important nutrients in an easy-to-follow format.

This can also follows the rules of the act. Among the Product Facts the can lists, "Collectability" comes in as 100% of the daily value. "Top Players," "Inside Info," and "Cool Inserts" are also listed as 100% of the Daily Value.

My wife has often spoken of how much room my card collection takes up. Can you imagine, however, how much room a full collection of these cans would take up? I can only imagine the poor retailer stocking all these cans on their shelves.

For those of you who may be interested, the Pinnacle Inside can checklist includes:
1 Roger Clemens
2 Jose Cruz, Jr.
3 Nomar Garciaparra
4 Juan Gonzalez
5 Ben Grieve
6 Ken Griffey, Jr.
7 Vladimir Guerrero
8 Tony Gwynn
9 Derek Jeter
10 Andruw Jones
11 Chipper Jones
12 Greg Maddux
13 Mark McGwire
14 Hideo Nomo
15 Mike Piazza
16 Cal Ripken, Jr.
17 Alex Rodriguez
18 Scott Rolen
19 Frank Thomas
20 Larry Walker
21 Arizona Diamondbacks
22 Florida Marlins
23 Tampa Bay Devil Rays

Saturday, December 19, 2015

December COMC Cards

It's yet another month, so it's another opportunity to garner another batch of free COMC "purchases." Things have been slowing down a bit on the inventory assistance side, as I only earned about 6,000 points. Fortunately, I had a few bucks set aside, so I was able to get another great batch of cards. 
Since this blog is "Bleedin' Brown and Gold," it only stands to reason that I would start out my acquisitions with a bunch of Padres goodies. It begins with a 2005 Upper Deck MVP Batter Up! Gaylord Perry (#14), a 2012 Topps Retired Numbers Patches Dave Winfield (#DW), a 2014 Panini National Treasures Jesse Hahn (#163) S/N 15/99, a 1974 Padres McDonald Discs Dave Roberts (#11), 1970 Topps Ron Herbel (#526), and a 1972 Topps Garry Jestadt (#143).
While I'm not a huge memorabilia/game used collector, I just couldn't pass up that Hahn Marine Camouflage jersey piece. Beginning in 2000, the Padres wore a Navy Seals-inspired camo jerseys on Military Opening Day. Now in their 13th year, San Diego sports these jerseys for both Military Opening Day and every Sunday home game. While I already have a copy of the Marine Corps-inspired jerseys, which they've worn for the past five years, they recently unveiled their 2016 unis based on the Navy's blue camo uniforms and I'm now dying to get my hands on one.

Do you really believe I can actually pick up a few COMC cards and not grab a few Tony Gwynn cards? If so, then you don't know me very well. 1995 Studio (#25), 2005 Diamond Kings Heritage Collection (#25), 1997 Padres Mother's (#2), and a 1999 Finest Complements Dual Refractors (#C2).
I've been a Green Bay Packer fan ever since I was a wee lad during the Lombardi era. When I had the opportunity to pick up cards of my early idols, I just couldn't pass these up. They include these 1961 Topps Boyd Dowler RC (#43), 1958 Topps Jim Ringo (#103), 1955 Topps Dave Hanner (#131), 1959 Topps Lew Carpenter RC (#95), 1959 Topps Dan Currie RC (#162). I love the simplicity of these early cards.
What self-respecting Packer fan doesn't like Dave "Hawg" Hanner, a member of the Packer Hall of Fame? Hanner spent his entire 42-year football career with the Green Bay Packers. He only missed four games while playing as defensive tackle (1952-64), and left defensive end (1961-62). He then served 16 seasons as a defensive line coach, defensive coordinator, and finally assistant head coach and defensive coordinator under Bart Starr. He closed out his career as Green Bay's quality control assistant (1982) and scout, until his retirement in 1996. Sadly, Hanner passed away in Sept. 11, 2008, at the age of 78.
And finally, I had to scratch my hockey collecting itch, adding these two Chicago Blackhawk cards - 2015-16 Upper Deck MVP Ryan Hartman SP RC (182) and a 2014-15 Upper Deck Ice Trevor van Riemsdyk (#92) S/N 364/999.
I also picked up a few extra cards for all those good little sports card bloggers as part of my annual "Bleedn' Brown and Gold" Christmas Card list. And yes, I checked my list twice, trying to figure out who was naughty and nice, and got most of my cards into the mail the past week. There's just a couple I still have to get into the mail, though.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

November COMC purchases

The first snowfall has finally hit the Iowa heartland and approximately seven inches of the white, fluffy stuff has landed in  the Des Moines metro area. Now that we've moved into our snazzy little two-bedroom apartment, I can't wait to throw that first log onto our new fireplace.
Last night's snowfall also presents a perfect opportunity for a lazy Saturday afternoon at home. And what better opportunity to wade through my latest batch of COMC "purchases." As you may or may not know, I've been making "free" purchases from COMC as a result of helping with their inventory efforts. This is just the latest batch of cards resulting from that assistance. So far. I've earned 484,730 points, good for about $484 in cards.
First off, I made huge inroads into my 1977 San Diego Padres schedule card collection.  Here's the Willie Davis, Nate Colbert, Tuba Man Jim Eakle, and Dave Winfield. In the second row are John McNamara, Willie McCovey, Hernandez and Colbert, and Rollie Fingers. I am now down to 10 cards left of the 89-card set. The only cards I have left to find are: 1A Bill Almon (Kneeling); 5 Bob Barton; 10B Dave Campbell (Kneeling, capless); 32A Fred Kendall (Batting pose): 38C John McNamara (Looking straight ahead, smiling); 42A Fred Norman (Short hair, kneeling); 46B Gene Richards (Shown from the thighs up); 51 Ballard Smith, GM; 57A Derrell Thomas (Head shot, wearing glasses); and 57B Derrell Thomas (Kneeling, not wearing glasses).

There were plenty of opportunities to find a few Padres autographs, so here's eight more opportunities to help build up my collection, which includes a 2009 Finest Refractors Autograph Matt Antonelli (#157) S/N 5/75, 2005 Origins Old Judge Autographs Akinori Otsuka (#AO), 2007 Upper Deck Spectrum Rookie Retrospectum Signatures Clay Hensley (#CH) S/N 13/199, 2004 Upper Deck Etchings Blue Ink Justin Germano (#134) S/N107/200. Second row - 2007 SP Authentic Kevin Cameron Autograph RC(#136a) S/N 12/75, 2005 Topps Autographs Mark Loretta (#ML), 2001 Fleer Showcase Sweet Sigs Lumber Xavier Nady (#18), and a 2014 Panini National Treasures Game Ball Signatures Yangervis Solarte (#99) S/N 95/99.

While I'm not a huge memorabilia fan, I felt I just had to pick up a pair of bats, especially this pair, a 2002 Sweet Spot Classics Game Bat Dave Winfield (#BDW) and a 2015 Donruss Bat Kings Matt Kemp (#20). After Matt Kemp became the first Padres player to hit for the cycle, I just had to get some Kemp lumber. This is more than likely an airbrushed artwork of a Dodgers uniform on the front. With the current boring Padres uniforms, I don't see much how you can tell the difference.

What's a COMC purchase without a healthy addition of Tony Gwynn cards. In this package, I added Tony's 1998 Pinnacle Epix Game Orange (#E9), 2000 Black Diamond Gallery (#G6), 1997 Stadium Club Pure Gold (#PG6), 1999 Fleer Brilliants Blue (#79), 1994 Kraft (#24) and a 1995 Kraft.
How about a pair of 2012 Topps Gypsy Queen Minis - 252A & 252B.The main difference is the helmets located between Gwynn's shins on the 252B, which makes this a VAR card. I also added a 1995 SP Silver and two 1991 Star Nova cards (#105 and #103).
Rounding out my baseball purchases are these two 1974 Nate Colbert cards - a Padres McDonald Disc (#3) and Kellogg's (#19), two Ozzie Smith cards - a 2012 Topps Archives Reprints (#116) and a 2005 Topps Rookie Cup Red (#41) S/N 240/499, some Hostess Padres - a 1978 Rollie Fingers (#14), 1977 Randy Jones SP (#26), and 1976 Randy Jones (#143), and then a 1989 Padres Magazine Randy Jones/Wins Cy Young (#16).

And I'll conclude with my lone pair of hockey cards. We're Iowa Wild season ticket holders and we've seen both of these players play for the Iowa affiliate. First off is the Panini National Treasures Retro Phenoms Autographs Tyler Cuma (#RPTC1) and a 2014-15 Upper Deck AHL Box Set Johan Gustafsson (#39). Gustafsson elected to return to Sweden this year, so Iowa had to turn to new goalies this year. Cuma is also playing overseas, serving as a D-man with Vienna's Graz 99ers of the Austrian Hockey League

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Fuji strikes again

One of my favorite bloggers would have to be Mark Fujimoto over at The Chronicles of Fuji. A Bay-area Californian, he's a collector of the San Jose Sharks, Seattle Seahawks, LA Lakers, and Oakland A's, as well as the Green Bay Packers and San Diego Padres (as if I needed any more reason to enjoy his musings).
Amongst his best reads, are his flea market finds, which are the stuff of legends.
Mark was kind enough to send me a package of Padres cards more than a few months back. Since we were in the middle of packing for our move, I scanned the cards, put the photos into my blog folder in my computer and promptly forgot about them.
The cards themselves are nestled comfortably within my collection of Padres cardboard somewhere within the confines of our storage unit. The memories, however, remain forever.
Who'd of thunk that San Diego had this many players who spent time on the USA Baseball team rosters? Mark began with a very nice bunch of Padres USA Baseball memorabilia, enclosing a 2010 Bowman Draft USA Baseball Jerseys Chris Okey (#USAR13) S/N #/949, 2002 Sweet Spot USA Jerseys Tagg Bozied (#TB) and Jake Gautreau (#JG), 2004 USA Baseball 25th Anniversary Signatures Blue Ink Rob Bowen (#BOW) S/N #/510, 1995 Signature Rookies Previews Signatures Glenn Dishman (#8) S/N 1830/6000, and a 2010 Topps Allen and Ginter Relics Mat Latos (#ML).

He then also included these 2013 Bowman Platinum Chase Headley (#46), 2013 Topps Chrome Yonder Alonso (#149), 1974 Topps Randy Jones RC (#173A), 2013 Hometown Heroes Chase Headley (#132) and Jake Peavy (#225) cards, and a 2014 Donruss Everth Cabrera (#113).
A great package of cards from a very gracious and kind blogger, who's also a great read.
Thank  you Mark! 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

A Duff by any other name

Having a unique, mono-syllabic name like "Duff" is quite the interesting experience, to say the least. Growing up, I've certainly heard all the jokes and plays on words of my name that can ever possibly exist.
According to the dictionary, duff, as a noun, is "A flour pudding boiled or steamed in a cloth bag," and "decaying leaves and branches covering a forest floor." As an adjective, duff is "of poor quality," or "incorrect or false." As a verb, it means "beat someone up," or "a mishit, as in a shot." And then there's the phrase, "duffer" which is often used to describe certain golfers and/or old people.

And, believe me, I'm not about to go into some of the other definitions that duff entails (pun intended).
In junior high school, I remember coming across a book in our school library, entitled "Duff, the Story of a Bear," published in 1950 by William Marshall Rush. There recently was a movie out at the cinemas, entitled "Duff," and of course, there's always Duff Beer, Homer Simpson's favorite beverage of choice.
While there's a few folk with Duff as their last name - American writer James Duff, actor Howard Duff, actresses Hilary Duff and Haylie Duff, while Canadian hockey player Dick Duff also comes to mind - you don't come across too many with the first name of Duff.
There's Duff McKagan of Guns 'N Roses fame, and the Food network's Duff Goldman, but Duff is actually just their nicknames.
And then there was once a baseball player named Duff Brumley.
When I first came across Mr. Brumley, he was a pitcher with the St. Louis Cardinals minor league system. I remember the surprise of finding someone else with the first name of Duff, and them being a baseball player, to boot. Heck, I actually wrote him a letter about having been blessed with such a unique name. Of course, I never heard back from him.
Duff was drafted by St. Louis in 1990 (24th round) and spent his entire Cardinal career within the Redbirds minor league system. On July 30, 1993, he was traded to the Texas Rangers (as the infamous player to be named later) for P Todd Burns. The Cards would release Burns that September.
At the age of 23, Duff appeared in his first of only two MLB games for the Rangers, debuting June 1 against the Brewers, while pitching his last game June 6 against the Yankees. After facing 22 batters in 3.1 innings, he compiled a 16.20 ERA, with six hits, six earned runs, one HR, five BBs, and four Ks. He finished out his baseball career over the next two years, playing in Texas', Cincinnati's, Seattle's, and Philadelphia's minor league systems.
After retiring from baseball, he served as a police officer with the City of Cleveland, Tenn., from 1997 until 2010, at which point he was fired. He then lost an appeal against the City of Cleveland, Tenn., "seeking review of the City Manager's ruling affirming the City's decision to terminate his employment."
He is now a Freight Coordinator at Riverside Transport in Charleston, Tenn.
And now for the rest of my Duff story...For those curious minds who remain interested in how I got my name.
Shortly after I was born, my grandfather looked in on me in my crib as I wailed, screamed and flailed away.
"My, he's quite the duffer, isn't he," was his comment upon laying eyes upon his first grandchild.
So they shortened it to Duff and gave me his middle name (Ellis). Actually, I think there's an island out there on the east coast named after us. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

August COMC Package

Over the course of our move, the mail continued to pore in, which, in this case, included my latest batch of cards from the COMC website. To date, I've earned 467,825 points (good for about $467) through their inventory challenges, and have used that to order more than 400 cards.
I get free cards, they get help in inventorying the thousands of cards they get each week. For every inventory challenge I complete, I get 100 points. For every 1,000 worth of points, they give me $1 that I then put toward the purchase of even more baseball and hockey cards.
But enough of that.  Let's move on to those cards...

Being a die-hard San Diego Padres fan, it's a given I'll grab Tony Gwynn cards whenever possible.

Here's Tony's 2002 Topps Chrome 5-Card Stud Kings of the Clubhouse Relics Jersey (#5KTG), 2007 Topps Sterling (#145) S/N 153/250, 1997 Donruss X-Ponential Power (#10a) S.N 1622/3000, 1998 Upper Deck All-Star Credentials (#AS19), 1995 Collector's Choice Gold Signature (#73), 1998 Donruss Preferred Great X-Pectations Tony Gwynn/Jose Guillen (#20) S/N 1433/3000. 

I also picked up copies of Gwynn's 1998 Leaf Rookies and Stars Great American Heroes (#8) S/N 2318/2500, 1998 Donruss Silver Press Proofs SG (#410) S/N 1500, 1998 SP Authentic Sheer Dominance (#SD19), 1990 Starline Long John Silver (#4), 2004 Playoff Champions (#12) S/N 1784/1997, 2002 Donruss Elite All-Star Salutes (#2) S/N 445/2001.
Lastly, here's Tony's 1998 Leaf Rookies and Stars Ticket Masters Tony Gwynn/Ken Caminiti (#5) S/N 308/2500, 1994 Pacific Silver Prisms (#35) and 1994 Pacific Silver Prisms Circular (#35).
By the way, on Monday, Oct. 19, a section of San Diego's Interstate 15 from Scripps Poway Parkway to Camino Del Norte, which runs near Tony Gwynn's longtime-home in Poway was dedicated the  "Tony Gwynn Memorial Freeway." Assemblyman Brian Maienschein, Tony's wife, Alicia,  and family members all took part in the ceremony.

I decided to pick up a few Padres autographs while I had the available funds, which included these  2009 Finest Autograph RC Matt Antonelli (#157) S/N 87/107, 2004 SPx Swatch Supremacy Signatures Young Stars Adam Eaton (#AE) S/N 73/999, 2005 Studio Private Signings Silver Freddy Guzman (#231) S/N 2/100, 1996 Leaf Signature Autographs Scott Sanders (#202) and Joey Hamilton (#90)

Apparently, there's a total of eight, 2005 Topps Rookie Cup Ozzie Smith (#41) cards, and I was able to find four different flavors within the COMC site, including a Yellow S/N 179/299, Orange SN 32/399, Green S/N 2/199, and a regular, plain old, Rookie Cup Card. There's also a blue, gold, red and silver card, as well. I also picked up this 1990 Baseball Wit Rollie Fingers (Unnumbered), and a 1984 Donruss The Chicken (#651). When it comes to the Chicken, how can you not like this San Diego fowl? I was able to get the Chicken to autograph a photo of him kissing my wife from his last visit here during an Iowa Cubs game.

Rounding out my baseball card "purchases" are these 2005 Finest Refractors Black Jake Peavy (#55) S/N 28/99, 2014 Bowman '89 Bowman is Back Silver Diamond Refractors Trea Turner (#89BIBTK), 1993 Tops Commanders of the Hill Andy Benes (#28), 1977 Padres Schedule Cards Bobby Tolan Kneeling/Holding Cleats in Hand (#58B), 1974 Padres McDonald Discs John Grubb (#5), and a 1979 Topps Comics Dave Winfield (#31).
If you're a Slapshot fan, this first card should be easily recognizable - It's the 2011-12 ITG Enforcers Autographs Bill "Goldie" "Harpo" Goldthorpe (#ABG). If you recognized him as Slapshot's  Ogie Ogilthorpe, the goon brought in by the Syracuse Bulldogs for the championship game, you'd also be correct. I loved the line from Charleston Chiefs announcer, Jim Carr as he introduces Oglethorpe in the finals: "This young man has had a very trying rookie season, with the litigation, the notoriety, his subsequent deportation to Canada and that country's refusal to accept him."

My other hockey cards include the 2013-14 SP Authentic Autograph RC Anton Belov (#317), 2014-15 O-Pee-Chee Update Aaron Ekblad (#U30), and 1996-97 Zenith Champion Salute Paul Coffey (#4) and Mike Richter (#14).

I just placed an order for another 40 cards from COMC, so it won't be long before I'll have a few more cards to show.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Finally over the moving blues!

Well, it's done and finally over!

After 17 years of owning a 3-1/2 bedroom house, we've actually taken the plunge, selling it and moving into a nice, 2-bedroom, 2-bath apartment.

The funny thing is, we weren't really planning on selling our house - at least not for another two years when I have to retire from the Iowa National Guard. In late June, my wife checked with our bank to see what we had left on our mortgage and mentioned we were thinking about down-sizing in a few years.

Two days later, our banker called back saying he had a real estate agent friend, who had a young client who just lost out on a house in our area. He was wondering if they could stop by look at our place. After two visits, the buyer came by a third time, with his mom in tow, to look it over. Within a few days, he asked if he could make an offer and provided one we felt we couldn't refuse at this point in time.

Of course, we now had to find a new place to live. We quickly narrowed down our choices, deciding to either remain here in Johnston, or find a nice apartment downtown. We settled on a nice, village-style apartment complex slightly more than a half mile from our former home.

And that, my friends, was the easy part.

Even though it seems as if we had a bit of time before the move, I had to depart for three weeks of annual training at Fort Polk, La. Shortly after I returned, my wife had to spend another 10 days out at the Iowa State Fair as part of her job.

That wasn't our only headache. Simply put, what do you do with that mass of stuff accumulated from 17 years of residing in one place? As my wife loved to point out, "Most of that crap belongs to you."

To give you an idea of my dilemma, here's a picture of just a small portion of my card collection room. This doesn't take into account the cards stacked against the other wall, the additional shelf space in the basement, nor the additional cards in my home office.

Again, my basic issue is I hate to throw anything out, because I know someone, somewhere wants and/or needs that stuff. Even the gaming cards. Even the basketball cards. Even the wrasslin' cards.

So, we began collecting boxes from work and began picking up those huge plastic tubs. We made numerous runs to our local Goodwill, Stuff, and Half Price Book stores, while giving away a whole bunch of other unneeded items to family and friends. We got a climate-controlled storage unit to put what we wanted to keep in, plus loaded up half of one of the two garages we got with our apartment.

Once everything was finally packed, we rented a Ford truck to haul most of our stuff and hired a local moving company for our bigger items like the bed, dressers and china cabinet. Then came the final reckoning of those items we weren't quite sure whether we wanted to keep or not, as well as a final dusting, mopping and cleaning of the house.

It was, however, a bitter-sweet afternoon when we signed the final paperwork and after 17-years of home-owning, turned in our keys and garage door openers to the new owner. What proved to be two to three weeks of a very stressful time for both us and our two dogs was finally over with the stroke of a pen.

Now that we're finally situated into our new place, though, we've discovered the fun part of figuring out exactly where everything is and what exactly did we pack certain items in. Our winter hats and gloves? Not exactly sure where they are. Some of my wife's art supplies? There's a chance they may be in the corner of our storage unit. The books I want to put into our new bookshelf? I haven't a clue.

My wife and I have, however, reached a working cardboard compromise -- I can keep my four, 5,000 count boxes of Padres cards on a shelf in the closet of our office, as long as she can't see them. Also, I can keep no more than two boxes of my inventoried baseball cards in the apartment, as well. So, if I need to bring in another box to inventory, that's fine. I just have to put it back into the storage unit once I'm done.

I can live with that.

While we thought we may have a few problems getting used to a smaller place, we really love it here. Things are so much more relaxing -- I don't have to worry about mowing the lawn anymore, or having to replace a leaky water heater. We're now actually free to do fun stuff on the weekends again.

Heck, I can't even wait to begin blogging again. Now, if I can only find that last box of cards......

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

My June COMC Card delivery

I recently received my monthly package of COMC goodies I get through completion of their inventory challenges. For every 1,000 points, I get $1 in COMC bucks, 100 points for every 50-card challenge. To me, it's just a little work for a few "free" dollars, and those "free" dollars definitely help to boost my card collection.
As for what I received in this month's COMC delivery, let's get started. In fact, I'm going to begin with a few cards of the puck persuasion.
Actually, I'll begin with a 2003-04 BAP Memorabilia Masks III Ryan Miller (#5), 2010-11 SP Authentic Colby Cohen Autograph RC (#289) S/N 261/999, 2010-11 Donruss Fans of the Game Michael Ontkean (#4), 2013-14 Upper Deck Young Guns Tom Wilson RC (#212) and a 2014-15 Ultra Vladislav Namestnikov RC (#171).
Slap Shot has always been one of my favorite movies and you have to love that Ontkean card. The Chiefs' Ned Braden is now 69, and was also cast as Sheriff Harry S. Truman in Twin Peaks. An actual college hockey player, he scored 63 goals and 111 points in his three years and 85 games as a University of New Hampshire Wildcat. As a junior, he led the team with goals, finishing second his senior year. I also recently found a 2011-12 Pinnacle Fans of the Game Steve Carlson Autograph card and a 2011-12 In the Game Enforcers autograph card of Bill Goldthorpe (Ogie Ogilthorpe). And yes, I'm definitely on the lookout for anything and everything Slap Shot-related.
Of course, I have to take advantage of picking up any new Tony Gwynn cards I can get my hands on, and this month I added another 16 unique cards to my Gwynn collection. After all, free cards are free cards, right? Especially when it comes to a one-of-a-kind Hall of Famer like Gwynn.

Here's his 1998 Fleer Tradition in the Clutch (#IC8), 1989 MSA Holsum Discs (#6), 1988 King B Discs (#5), 1999 Black Diamond Mystery Numbers (#M28) S/N 1910/2800, 1998 Leaf Rookies and Stars Major League Hard Drives (#10) S/N 1479/2500, and a 1994 Studio Series Stars (#1) of 10,000. I don't know what it is about the discs I like, but for whatever reason, I like them. Perhaps it's the fact that they're just odd enough, that I really like them. Tony Gwynn has approximately 28 disc "cards," of which I now own 16. By comparison, San Diego pitcher Randy Jones has 22 disc cards (18 of which I own).
Here's Gwynn in his 2005 Prime Cuts (#94) S/N 233/399, 1998 Sports Illustrated Then and Now Road to Cooperstown (#RC4), 1999 Finest Team Finest Blue (#TF19) S/N 915/1500, 1992 Colla All-Star Game (18), 2014 Topps Museum Collection Green (#100) S/N 76/199, and a 2005 Donruss Classics Membership (#19) S/N 214/1000.
And these four cards round out my latest Gwynn acquisitions - a 1998 Sports Illustrated BB (#131), 1993 Colla All-Star Game (#18), 1985 Drakes (#14), and a 1998 Kenner Starting Lineup Card (#15).
Working through COMC also provides a great opportunity to pick up a few newer Padres autographs.
My most recent signatures include a 2014 Topps Chrome Rookie Autographs Tommy Medica (#198), 2014 Bowman Sterling Rookie Autograph Refractors Yangervis Solarte (#BSRAYS) S/N 100/150, 2011 Topps Tier One On the Rise Autographs Logan Forsythe (#LF) S/N 868/999, 2013 Bowman Platinum Relic Autographs Cory Spangenberg (#CS), 2011 Prime Cuts Prospect Signatures Michael Kelly (#MK) S/N 170/299, 2013 Bowman Prospects Autographs Blue Dane Phillips (#DP) S/N 367/500, and a non-autograph, but game-used 2007 Topps Unique Solo Shot Relics Adrian Gonzalez (#AG) S/N 106/275.
I was able to add a pair of 1991 Topps Desert Shield cards, with an Andy Benes (#307) and Mark Parent (358), as well as a pair of 2014 Panini Prizm Prizms Camo of Will Venable (#30) and Everth Cabrera (#41). This 1998 Topps Tek Pattern 31 Ken Caminiti (#68), and 2013 Bowman Chrome Draft Black Wave Refractors Jedd Gyorko (#31) were also nice additions. As I've said before, I really have a soft spot for those Desert Storm cards, especially since I was unable to track any down while I was deployed at that time.
And finally, I got my grubby little hands on a little Padres slash, dash and color.
2014 Topps Yellow Robbie Erlin (#281), 2014 Bowman Chrome Prospecs Blue Wave Refractors Jordan Paroubeck (#BCP58), 2014 Bowman Chrome Purple Refractors Tyson Ross (#164) S/N 5/150, 2010 Bowman Prospects Orange Jaff Decker (#BP109) S/N 36/250, and a 2007 Bowman Orange Mike Cameron (#40) S/N 244/250.

As of this morning's COMC statistics, I'm now up to 369,680 points, and sit 47th on their leaderboard, as far as all-time challenges go. The stats further point out I've received about $370, good for 335 cards, 13 of which are yet awaiting shipment in next month's collection.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Bye Bye Ryan, for now...

Last Saturday was a bittersweet day, as Des Moines is now temporarily short one card shop. One of my favorite brick-and-mortar stores within the metro area, Ryanscardz, made the decision to close his doors, with the ultimate plan of relocating to a new shop closer to his Waukee home later this fall.

Owner Ryan Grother opened his Hickman Road retail shop on July 2, 2012 and has been running it solo ever since. As if he wasn't busy enough running a successful card shop, Ryan and his wife, Carissa, became the proud parents of twin sons in January.
It wasn't long, however, before lack of sleep, doctor's appointments, babysitting issues, the daily nine-mile , one-way commute, as well as sharing quality time with this lovely family began eating into store hours. All this may have turned out to be the "perfect storm," which eventually led him to this decision.
Ryan writes in his weekly Facebook page notes, "I've had this little secret eating away at me for some time now. My lease is expiring at this location and I have chosen not to renew it. With our two awesome boys at home that I can't quit talking about, I need to make more money! That means I need to find a more affordable venue and build an even better, leaner and meaner store!
"Carissa and I initially started planning this back in September. This is an exciting time for us. We do not have a new location currently picked out and feel that it is the right time to take a little break, while I plan the future of ryanscardz," writes Ryan.

Besides taking care of his family, Ryan is looking forward to getting a little fishing and golf time in as well - Something that was hard to do for a five-days a week card shop operator.

I had to swing by his current shop one last time to bid him farewell until fall. And, as usual, I couldn't leave his shop without picking up some Padres goodies . 
Within his baseball teams box, I found these San Diego  cards - 2014 Topps Update Red Hot Foil Seth Smith (#US81), 2014 Panini Prizm Rookie Reign Reymond Fuentes (#10) and a 2014 Topps Update Red Hot Foil Tyson Ross (#US283). Smith and Fuentes are ex-Padres, as Smith is now with the Seattle Mariners and Fuentes is currently with the KC Royals, playing next door with their AAA affiliate, the Omaha Storm Chasers.
I also picked up a 2013 Select Casey Kelly Autograph (#224) S/N 469/500 and a 2014 Topps Update All-Star Stitches Tyson Ross (#ASRTR). Ross currently sports a 5-7 record as part of the Padres pitching rotation. In 16 starts, he's put together a 5.33 ERA, with 102 K's and 70 BBs. He's also given up 12 homers, a rate of almost one per game.
I also picked up a couple of 2015 Tony Gwynn cards, which I've already filed away.

While I am extremely sad to see Ryan leave, I am happy that things are working out so well for him and his young family. I'm definitely looking forward to when he reopens his shop this fall. 

Friday, May 15, 2015

Freebie Fridays featured forthwith!

It must be that time of year. Jan and I have been talking about moving again, downsizing from out three-bedroom house into a one- to two-bedroom condo or apartment in the downtown area.

We've been living in our current residence in Des Moines since 1998, which marks the longest we've ever lived in one place since we've been married. Life in the military has certainly kept us on our toes, with moves to San Diego, Denver, Olympia, Wash., and back to Iowa.

During one of our moves, our moving company told us the average American family accumulates about 500 pounds of junk a year. I can believe it. I think I amass that much weight just in sports cards each year.

For whatever reason, I always seem to pick up massive quantities of sports cards I have no need for.
When I won that $1 bid board box o' cards a while back, it included  basketball and wrestling cards I found at the bottom of the box.

Basketball? Meh, it leaves me cold.  A player gets a hangnail and he's on the DL for two weeks. He gets a cramp and he has to be carted off the court.

Pro Wrestling? Give me a break! If I want histrionics, I'll go visit my two younger sisters. I'll take good old fashioned "folk-style" NCAA wrestling any day. This is Iowa, after all.

According to my wife, she feels I'm too much of a pack rat to just throw these cards away. More than likely, its the fact that I always believe someone may want or need these cards and can't justify tossing them out, even though they may be basketball, wrestling, or even racing cards.

My loss, however, may be your gain.

I'm going to attempt to post a Freebie Friday offer each week. It will feature cards I have no desire to keep, but am more than willing to pass along to a good home. I don't expect anything back in return (unless you truly feel the need to reciprocate), it's just that I can't toss these cards out with a good and clear conscience. If it's a huge set of cards, perhaps you can help with postage, if needed.

One thing I know for sure, getting rid of those cards I have sitting around will definitely make my wife happy.

In any case, here's my first Freebie Friday offers. They are being offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Whoever responds first, gets the cards. All I ask is that one person doesn't become a card hog and claim everything I post. Let's spread the wealth and let everyone share in the goodies.

Offer #1 - (BOOK) Classic Sports Card Sets: Best Sports Card sets from the 1950s and '60s.
Offer #2 - 1993-94 Jam Session and 1993 Classic Futures
1993-94 Jam Session - Jon Koncak (#7), Rodney Rogers RC (#57), Stanley Roberts (#99), Anfernee Hardaway RC (#159), A.C. Greer (#176), Jerome Kersey (#187), Bobby Hurley RC (#195), Lloyd Daniels (#204), Shawn Kemp (#214), Tyrone Corbin (#223), Pervis Ellison (#233), Tim Hardaway Gamebreakers (#6).
1993 Classic Futures - Bill Edwards (#2), Malcolm Mackey (#42), William Davis (#43), Charles "Bo" Outlaw (#55), Mike Peplowski (#59), Thomas Hill (#72), Ed Stokes (#77), Ray Thompson (#87), Gary Troit (#94), Byron Wilson (#94), Rex Walters (#95)
Offer #3 - 10 Assorted Topps Allen and Ginter Minis
2008 Topps Allen and Ginter Mini A and G Back #167 Marie Curie
2010 Topps Allen and Ginter #10 Gary Stewart
2010 Topps Allen and Ginter Mini Monsters of the Mesozoic #MM24 Carnotaurus
2010 Topps Allen and Ginter Mini National Animals #NA40 King Cobra/Republic of India
2010 Topps Allen and 206 Mini Historical Events #HE15 May 18, 1910/Earth Pases through tail of Comet Halley
2010 Topps Allen and Ginter Mini Lords of Olympus #LO10 Gaea
2011 Topps Allen and Ginter Mini Step Right Up #SRU9 Knife Throwing
2011 Topps Allen and Ginter Mini World's Most Mysterious Figures #WMF3 Kasper Hauser
2013 Topps Allen and Ginter #140 Tommy Lee
2013 Topps Allen and Ginter Mini Codes, Cyphers and Crypotgraphs #SHE Shugborough Hall Inscription
Offer #4  - 19 Assorted Topps Allen and Ginter
2010 Topps Allen and Ginter #9 Kelly Kulick
2010 Topps Allen and Ginter #110 Sherlock Holmes
2010 Topps Allen and Ginter #185 X-Rays
2011 Topps Allen and Ginter #119 Nancy Lopez
2010 Topps Allen and Ginter  Minds that Made the Future #MMF40 Benjamin Franklin
2011 Topps Allen and Ginter Ascent of Man #AOM3 Choanoflagellates
2012 Topps Allen and Ginter #211 Keegan Bradley
2012 Topps Allen and Ginter #51 Don Denkinger
2012 Topps Allen and Ginter #237 Al Unser Sr.
2012 Topps Allen and Ginter World's Tallest Buildings #WTB6 Empire State Building
2013 Topps Allen and Ginter One Little Corner #AB Asteroid Belt
2013 Topps Allen and Ginter #62 McKayla Maroney
2013 Topps Allen and Ginter #35 Kevin Harvick
2013 Topps Allen and Ginter #11 Robin van Persie
2013 Topps Allen and Ginter Civilizations of Ages Past #IRV Indus River Valley
2013 Topps Allen and Ginter Palaces and Strongholds #HP Hohenschangau Castle
2013 Topps Allen and Ginter Palaces and Strongholds #SP Summer Palace
2013 Topps Allen and Ginter Martial Mastery #GD Gladiators
2013 Topps Allen and Ginter Martial Mastery #RM Romans

Sunday, May 10, 2015

May COMC Package

I know I said I was running behind on my posts and all, but it seems as if I barely posted my April COMC rewards, when my May COMC package arrived in the mail. Again, for every challenge you complete you get 100 points, for every 1,000 worth of points, yadah, yadah, yadah.
For this month's selection of Tony Gwynn cards, I opted for a 1995 Topps Stadium Club Ring Leaders (#RL7), 1998 Pacific Invincible Photoengravings (#12), 1992 Upper Deck FanFest Gold (#25), 1999 Ultra the Book On (#13), 2013 Topps Archives 1983 All-Stars (#TG), 2014 Finest Vintage Refractors (VFTG), 2014 Topps Hi Tek Spiral Bricks (#HTTGW), and a 2001 SP Game Bat Milestone (#77).
I was really excited when I found this next card, especially since I love the San Diego Chicken and it's rather hard finding unique cards with him.  In this 1985 Mexico City Tigers TCMA #29, he's posing with the Mexican mascot, Chacho. I also picked up a 1993 Leaf Signature Autographs Joey Hamilton (#90), 2003 Leaf Certified Materials Mirror Red Dennis Tankersley (#159) S/N 9/100, 1980 Burger King Pitch/Hit/Run Dave Winfield (#22), 1974 Padres McDonald's Disc Bobby Tolan (#12), and a 1998 Stars 'N Steel Ken Caminiti (#7). Those McDonald discs are rather hard to find, especially as a set, which originally came in a plastic baseball.

A pair of 2014 Andrew Cashner Bowmans - one a Bowman Chrome Blue Refractor (#66) S/N 216/250,  the other a Bowman Green (#182) S/N 94/150, a 2011 Bowman Topps of the Class Anthony Rizzo (#TC20), 2008 Stadium Club First Day Issue Unnumbered VAR/Delivering a Pitch Josh Banks (#125b), a pair of Jedd Gyorko Bowman cards - one a 2014 Bowman Green (#190) S/N 116/150 the other a 2013 Bowman Draft Blue (#31) S/N 196/500, 2014 Bowman Prospects Purple Jordan Paroubeck (#BP58), and a 2013 Bowman Prospects Hometown Dan Phillips (#BP18).

For those of you who are hockey geeks like myself, and are just dying to find out what I picked up, here's a mess of autographed rookie cards. First up is a 2012-13 Certified Autograph RC Matt Donovan (#170) S/N 846/999, 2012-13 Certified Autograph RC Brenden Dillon (#160) S/N 51/999, 2013-14 SP Authentic Autograph RC Anton Belov (#317) S/N 631/999, 2009-10 SP Authentic Autograph RC Kris Chucko (#254), S/N 670/999, 2013-14 Panini Contenders Autograph RC Shawn Lalonde (#175), and a 2011-12 Panini Contenders Autograph RC Brett Bulmer (#224) S/N 361/800.

And finally, here's another autograph, 2012-13 SP Authentic Autograph RC Scott Glennie (#219) S/N 239/999, as well as a 2013-14 Score Jonathan Huberdeau RC (#648), 2013-14 OPC Valeri Nichushkin RC (#634), and a 2010-11 Justin Mercier RC (#122) S/N 184/499.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

April COMC pick-ups

To show you how behind I am on everything, here's the package I received last month from COMC. As I've stated (almost ad nauseum), if you complete their inventory COMC Challenges, usually 100 points for 50 cards, 1,000 points will give you $1 in COMC bucks, you can earn enough COMC dollars to pick up a nice little stack of free cards
I'm now up to 303,95 points, good for about $300 worth of free sports cards (and yes, I've spent almost every penny of that on COMC cards).
I can't go a month without picking up some more Tony Gwynn cards, so I'll begin with my Gwynn dirty dozen pick-up. It includes these 1999 Skybox Premium Soul of the Game #5SG, 1998 Paramount Team Checklists #29, 2000 Finest Moments Refractors #FM3, 1998 Upper Deck All-Star Credentials #AS19, 2014 Upper Deck National Convention #15 and a 2011 60 Years of Topps #105.

My other Gwynn cards feature these 2000 Pacific Ornaments #17, 2002 Diamond Kings T204 #RC22 (S/N 821/1000), 1995 Classic $10 Phone Cards #46, 2002 Donruss Originals Champions #C6 (S/N 183/800), 1999 Upper Deck Retro Tme Capsule #TC9, and a 1993 Leaf Gold All-Stars #R9 (with Jose Canseco).

As I'm a fervent fan of the old Padres mustard uniforms, I couldn't pass up these three cards. I also picked up an autograph, Luke Carlin's RC 2008 SP Authentic Autograph #145 (S/N 255/699), and Sean Burroughs' 2005 Diamond Kings Materials Bronze Bat-Jersey RC #185 (S/N 143/200). And of course, the three San Diego yellow uni cards - a 2002 Studio Classic Dave Winfield #CS16 (S/N 433/1000), 2006 Topps Rookie of the Week Ozzie Smith #20, and a 2002 Topps 206 Polar Bear Ozzie Smith #433.

Of course, being a hockey geek, I also had to pick up some hockey cardboard. Here's my 2013-14 Panini Contenders Justin Fontaine RC #130 (S/N 2/600) and Anton Belov RC #127 (S/N 384/600), 2011-12 Panini Contenders Marc-Andre Bourdon RC #191 (S/N 11/999), 2013-14 Panini Contenders Norris Contenders Slava Voynov #NC-7 (S/N 294/499), 2013-14 Panini Prizm Jonathan Huberdeau RC #243 and a 2014-15 Ultra Vladislav Namestnikov RC #171.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

A Storm is brewing....

I almost hate to admit it, but I do spend a fair amount of time on Facebook.
As a sports fan, I use it to keep up with the San Diego Padres and its minor league system - El Paso Chihuahuas, San Antonio Missions, Ft. Wayne Tincaps and Lake Elsinore Storm. I also follow a couple Green Bay Packers groups, as well as the page for the Iowa Wild Hockey Club.
As a former San Diego resident who's hoping to possibly move back to "America's Finest City" upon retirement, there's a few groups there I stay in touch with. The way I look at it, if we do move back there, I want to be aware of what's going on in that particular neighborhood.
As a sprint car fan, there are racing groups. As a writer, there are groups I belong to in order to find possible story ideas. And of course, there are a few friends that I keep in touch this way. 
Recently, the Lake Elsinore Storm, San Diego's Class A California League affiliate, ran a Facebook contest entitled Back in the Day Card Giveaway. Each day, for 10 days, they gave away autographed cards of former Storm players -- Dirk Hayhurst (10 cards), Jose Lobaton (9 cards), Logan Forsythe (8), Evan Meek (7), Cody Decker (6), Zach Britton (5), Rick Renteria (4), Josh Collmenter (3) Mike Moustakas (2), and Corey Kluber and Buster Posey (1).
After numerous entries, I was finally drawn in the Evan Meek giveaway. It wasn't long before I received a rather cool envelope from the Storm, which included this notecard.
Inside was my autographed Evan Meeks card.

Meek didn't actually spend that much time with the Padres, or the Storm, for that matter. Originally drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 11th round of the 2002 draft, he was released in June 2005 and then signed as a free agent by San Diego in September 2005.   In August 2006, his Padres career ended, as he was traded to Tampa Bay, along with Dale Thayer, for Russell Branyan.
He then bounced back and forth between the Rays and the Pirates. He was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates from the Rays in the 2007 Rule 5 draft, returned in May 2008, and then purchased by Pittsburgh in May 2008. He was then signed as free agent by the Texas Rangers (Dec. 2012), Baltimore Orioles (Feb. 2014) and the Washington Nationals (Jan. 2015).
His main claim to fame, however, was being named to the 2010 All-Star game as a Pirate.
They also enclosed a team decal, which is definitely going to find a home on my red Toyota Rav 4. you have to admit, that's a totally way cool logo.