Tuesday, June 30, 2015

1 vs. 100 - It's Celebration Time

It's been a busy June for me (as always when it comes to work).  I've been on a semi-hiatus from the hobby....but not quite like last year.  I've dipped my toes into the pool a few times, mostly only to take them out after a couple minutes.  No deep end dives (although the thought had crossed my mind on one occasion).

I've also had a few cards come in.  Some with very important meaning and representation in my collections.  I'm looking forward to sharing those later on this summer when things calm down at work next month.

What June has brought me though is a couple of very significant milestones.

First, this is post #1000 of My Hockey Card Obsession.  In a little less than 6 years, I've pumped out more posts than I ever imagined I would.  I've looked back on some of them over the past few months and get a kick out of what I wrote.  I still very much enjoy blogging and find it a stabilizing cog in my hobby world.

I started this blog for me, for my collections and for the thought that I would build and improve both my writing and enjoyment of sports cards.  I can say with 100% certainty that this is the case.

Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to stop by and read my ramblings.  I hope you have enjoyed my journey and will continue to do so in the future.

Now......the second milestone.

Why not celebrate this historic post by announcing the completion of a long outstanding project.

That's right........'1 vs. 100' is complete.  The final card arrived today.

This Patrick Roy /14 has a terrific story behind it (I love cards with stories).  I was at a local trade night a couple months back and noticed this card in one of the trade boxes held by a regular at the store.  I knew immediately the importance of the serial number.  Of course, the player name had me a little concerned.

But me being me, I asked if there was a trade that might be worked out.

A quick sift through my old, stagnant and generally boring trade box yielded nothing.  He then proceeded to say "for futures".

Uh.......no.  While I really appreciated the gesture (he knew the project that card would be going to), I knew that a Patrick Roy /14 was not a low-dollar parallel.  He insisted......and so did I.  I knew that the card would be in his trade box next month.  Who knows what might happen.

So a month passes and I go to the next trade night.  Topps Archives Baseball had just been released and my other guy, Oscar Gamble, has a couple autograph cards in the mix.  So I bought a couple packs just for kicks.

What did I find but a gold Harold Baines signature /50.  A pretty sweet pull considering I just grabbed a couple packs (the card is a 1:190 packs find).  Before I even had a chance to really let sink in what I had pulled, what comes across the counter but a Patrick Roy /14.

Now I won't say no to that trade.  Thanks Art!

A couple guys asked me what the final card on the list was.  Can you believe "98"????!!!!!!!!  Seriously?

I went home that night and dug through ebay a bit to see what I could find.

Craig Smith Titanium Rookie /98 is the answer to the question.

Nothing really out of the ordinary about this card.  It wasn't a wallet burner by any means.  A simple parallel (and a higher numbered one at that) that had just snuck by me for a half-decade.

Well, It's in my hands now and so are the other 99 card in the project.

I've really enjoyed putting this "set" together.  It's taught me that you can build anything you want in this hobby.  It doesn't have to be expensive or shiny or rare or eight-color.  It can be a simple idea - with a little creative spark - that can bring fun and challenge to collecting.

I've already got ideas about what I'm going to do next.  I think the quest will begin this fall.  Stay tuned.

Current Collection - 100 out of 100 (DONE)

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

LINDEN uh....PIN(s) OF THE WEEK - Two More For The Collection

I normally don't salivate at the sight of pins - even Linden pins, but when I saw this two-pack up for sale on ebay I just couldn't resist.

What can I say...I'm a sucker for a good deal.

In fact, I thought it was such a good deal that I bought two sets.  One to store away in the collection box and one to crack open.

I have little info on these NHL/NHLPA endorsed pins other than when I saw them during a routine ebay search (for the price they were sitting at) I decided to buy them.  I thought they looked neat (at the price I paid).

Are you getting the sense that I'm just a cheapo when it comes to these pins?  I am.

I can get on board with smaller Linden items that can fit nicely in boxes as opposed to giant banners or stand-up cardboard displays.

OK....I have some of that kind of stuff too.

I just really liked the idea of getting the second set.  Cracking them open out of the plastic was fun.....more fun than I thought I'd have.

There's really nothing too special about these pins.  Simple designs.  A cash grab to fans of Linden alike.  What can I say, I got sucked in.

But when I put the set I didn't open in my "non-cards" box, I found this...

Looks like I have the home and away set now.

Why didn't I buy a second set of those ones?  Probably too expensive.

Monday, June 1, 2015

'DID YOU KNOW' - Tom Bladon

With one of my recent used book purchases, 'Hockey's Book of Firsts' by James Duplacey, I've become inspired to post a few 'Did You Know' posts.

You know........Did You Know?

Maybe not.  After all, it's been well over a year since I last posted one.

But I loved finding a neat story in the book and then trying to hunt down a card that represented the accomplishment.

And if the name Tom Bladon doesn't ring a bell (or what his achievement might be), then this post, and Mr. Duplacey's book, will have served it's purpose.

'Did You Know' - Defenceman Tom Bladon was the first rearguard to register 8 points in a game.

This excerpt comes straight from the book...

"Tom Bladon had a night for the ages and a slot for the record book on December 11, 1977, when he recorded four goals and added four assists in the Philadelphia Flyers' 11-1 whipping of the Cleveland Barons.  Since Bladon finished the season with only 11 goals and 35 points, he collected 25% of his season's output in a single game!"

Wow.  That's quite a night.

Now, why did I show you a Penguins card from a couple years later?

You can clearly see the fast fact on the bottom of the card.  Card backs can actually house some interesting information if you are looking for it.

There have only been a handful of players to ever score 8 points in a game (13 to be exact) and Mario Lemieux is the only one to have done it three times (Gretzky did it twice).  The majority of these 8-point games came in the 80's when scoring was at an all-time high.

That's what makes Bladon's accomplishment even more impressive.  Up until he has his historic night, only three players ever....EVER had scored eight in a game.  Maurice Richard in the 40's, Bert Olmstead in the 50's and Darryl Sittler's incredible 10-point game in '76.

Tom Bladon held the defenceman single game record for almost a decade when Edmonton's Paul Coffey matched the stat on March 14, 1986.

They remain the only two D-men to have scored 8 in a game.

But there was only one to do it first.

Tom Bladon.

note: in doing some additional research, I learned that Bladon was a +10 on the night, a record at the time and one that still stands to this day.  So that's like two Did You Know's for the price of one.  You're welcome.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

HHOF AUTOS - Mats Sundin

I was able to add to the slowly growing Hall of Fame autographs project at the last trade night I attended.

Looking at the list of players I still need signatures from I knew that hitting the 100-card mark wouldn't be a problem.  The only question would be "How long will it take"?  At the rate I'm going.....a good decade or two.

But slow and steady wins the race.  And when you're not buying any of the cards - only trading for them - it makes for a truly enjoyable quest.

Case in point, the following card.

Mats Sundin
(Inducted in 2012)

To know that this card came from a Mats Sundin/Toronto Maple Leafs collector only adds to the thrill of adding this to the project.

The scan is horrible on this card and believe me, the signature is very visible and quite solid considering it's on a very shiny finish.

This card comes from a day when In The Game had an NHL license and could therefore show team logos.  While it was only a little over a decade ago, it feels like a lifetime.  I miss those days.

It's weird to start seeing players that I saw come into the league, have long and incredible careers and then get the call to the Hall.  Makes me feel a little old.  There was a time when it was just guys like Howe, Richard, Hall and Horton.  Now it's Bure, Blake, Shanahan and Sundin.

And while an auto is an auto for the project, there will be some names that just have a greater meaning to me in the collection.  This Sundin is one of them....not because of who he is, but because of who I got the card from.

Current Collection - 64 HOF Autos

Saturday, May 30, 2015

OUTSIDE THE BOX - Marques Haynes

I meant to post this last week and I'm kind of kicking myself that I forgot.

I recently heard of Hall of Fame Harlem Globetrotter Marques Haynes' passing and was saddened to hear that one of the game's most important figures was no longer with us.

He was a Globetrotter when the team was more than just about silly antics and hail mary plays.  He was known as one of the best ballhandlers ever - EVER and (in my opinion) revolutionized the small-man's role in the game.

This write-up from The Washinton Post has a couple of great videos in addition to some incredible numbers.

Hearing of Marques' passing also had me dig out this card I had sitting in the collection.

It's from the 2008 Donruss Sports Legends set and shows Haynes in his Globetrotters gear with a game-used piece of jersey in the card.  I picked up the card because I was in a bit of a Harlem Globetrotters vibe at the time.

I had heard that the team was coming to town and got a little sentimental when I decided to take my niece and nephew to the game.  I also got a little motivated to try and obtain an interview with an all-time Globetrotter great.

You can check out the full story here......and believe me, it was an incredible experience.

You can see my Haynes card as part of the last page of the article.

It's card I'm glad I didn't get rid of and will proudly store it as part of my personal collection.

oh, and if you feel a little nostalgic towards the Globetrotters yourself, be sure to check out the fantastic documentary, The Team That Changed The World.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

12 in 12 - Used Book Sales Galore

I look back about 3-4 years ago and I can't believe that I was a guy who just did not read books.  I enjoy the daily newspaper, I like a good magazine article and I love reading blogs (especially sports card related).  But I can honestly (and regretfully) say that up until a few years ago I went probably a good decade without really sitting down and enjoying a book.

That has most definitely changed.  I am constantly working on a title, albeit a little slow sometimes (but I've found flipping through more than one book at a time to be more uncomfortable than not) and I've really found enjoyment in spending time reading with my niece and nephew.

And of course, the collector in me loves to scour book sales for the hidden gems.  The month of May here in town is the hottest for just that.

I started off great even before then with a nice used book store find.  Once again, thanks to Captain Canuck for his pointing me in the direction of a used book store I've never heard of.  In it, this very recognizable title (to all you hockey fans).

What made the buy even better....

Yeah....money well spent.

Well, the month of May would bring with it a few more author-signed copies and more than enough pages to last me for a long time.

Take a moment if you will to check out some of the titles that are now on my "to read" list.

Ken Dryden's iconic book "The Game" is (in my opinion) a must read for hockey fans and sports fans alike.  One of the most well-written first hand accounts of the game of hockey and the dynasty-driven eras.

I need to re-read that one.

I knew that Dryden had written other titles, but had never heard of this one when I came across it during a garage sale day with my niece and nephew.

It's in fantastic shape and was very nicely priced at a mere twenty-five cents.

Oh......and it's autographed as well.

I couldn't get the change out of my pocket fast enough.

I've seen a lot of Dryden autos with personalizations on them.  This one is just screaming for a cut auto.  Maybe one day.  I do recall that I've already got a Dryden on the "to do" list.

The same garage sale had this pristine conditioned book about the history of the hockey stick.  Again, for a quarter I just couldn't resist.  I even have a copy of it already (it soft covered so this is definitely an upgrade).

And....you guessed it - it's signed.

Now, that said, a signed copy of a book is way more exciting when the author is a superstar hockey player as opposed to a newspaper columnist.

But still.

For the past couple weeks, I've been volunteering my time at  one of the largest charity used book sales in the city.

Unloading, sorting and organizing almost a million books over the span of less than two weeks makes for busy work.  But it was truly the most fun I've had volunteering in a very long time - if ever.

The non-profit organization running the sale is new on my radar (my sister had heard of them before) and their goal is promoting early literacy.  Making sure every kid has the chance to read - and have that reading be of quality.

I jumped in the deep end with both feet and haven't looked back.

One of the benefits of volunteering is that we were able to get first dibs on the book buying.  Now it's not what you think.  I didn't sign up just for the early bird buying.  But it's a nice perk.

I went the night before the sale and the day of and came home with a good selection of titles.

Satchel.  This cover just spoke to me.  On a normal day at a store, I probably wouldn't have bought this book, but when the money is going to charity...let's give it a go.

Sweetness.  Again, not one on my radar, but I just had to have it.  The book is in great shape and I have no doubt that one of the greatest running backs of all time would have an interesting story.

I don't have too many golf titles, but this one seems like a no-brainer.

I love the cover on this one.  Look at the old camera in the blurred background.  And the pink scarf....priceless.  Where's that look nowadays?

Hockey's Book Of Firsts.  I bought this with the sole intention of reviving my "Did You Know" segment on this blog.  A bunch of neat tidbits in this read.

I have this book - and it took forever for me to find locally.  I paid a good amount for it so I was crushed when I saw this copy sitting there.  I had to buy it.  It'll make for a good "here....read this" gift.

As a side note on this title, I started reading this book a number of months ago and found it hard to get into.  But it does list very high on all-time sports bios....so I'm betting it's a quality read.

Bruce Dowbiggin again.  I think when I picked up this title it was because I was stalled at just a few titles.  I wanted to buy a few more book knowing the money was going to a good cause.

This may be one that sits on the shelf for a while.

Taking a flyer on this one.  No clue who Moe Berg is but I saw the baseball card on the front and immediately thought "I must have this one".  I don't even know if it's fiction or non-fiction.

note: a quick Google search reveals that this book is fact-based.  Interesting.

This book was in really nice shape.  And Roger Neilson is a guy I know little about (other than the infamous white towel episode).

When I brought all my books home I realized I already have this one.  Oh well, I'm sure I can find someone to take my other copy.

This Dave King book is always in the library and never really intrigued me.  But again, it's a charity book sale so why not.

And when it's a signed copy, I'll take it on that alone.

Again, I love that it's not personalized.

Dave Bidini wrote one of my more recent sports faves, Keon & Me.  I'll pick up anything of his I don't have just to add to the collection.

Of course it's signed.

And by the way....if you ever sign a book, this is how you do it.

I finally drifted from the sports genre and grabbed this Keith Richards title.  One of my co-workers is huge into music bios and said this is one of the best.

I passed on a copy last year so when I saw it this time around, I grabbed it.

This was a book that just kept following me around the two days I was at the sale.

Grant MacEwan is an iconic name in Alberta history and John Ware is a name that is familiar with me too.  I went to John Ware Junior High.

But that's not why I bought the book.

Just for fun I picked up the book, showed it first to my sister, then my mom and every time I flipped it open and read a few sentences, it had me wanting to read more.

It didn't matter what page, what part of the story - it was interesting in the moment.

This might be the next title I read.  I'm that intrigued by it.

Lastly, I rolled the dice on this title.  I've heard very good things about it and while it's not completely fiction, it's not your typical biography.  It feels more like an adventure story.

So there you have it, new (old) books for the shelf.  And fresh titles to sink into over the next year or two......or ten.....or thirty.

I've got too many books.

What are you reading these days?  What's been the best title you've read of late?  Anything on the radar?

Monday, May 25, 2015

LINDEN CARD(s) OF THE WEEK - A Three'Fer At The Show

While it's still been a slow go over the 2015 calendar year, I've been pleased with the pickups I've made (and more impressed with the Linden's I've passed on).

The big Toronto Expo is about a month past and even though I wasn't able to attend, I did manage to snag a great looking card for the collection.  Trade nights have been quiet for the most part, but do occasionally lend a nice surprise.

And I can now say that the monthly card show has proven to be fruitful for my Linden collection (something that was very "hit or miss" so far this year).  A couple weeks ago I was able to grab three.....count 'em - THREE new pc cards.

2014/15 Upper Deck Trilogy
#133 Ice Scripts

This hard signed Ice Scripts autograph is a solid addition to the signatures housed in my collection.  I do like the clear cards (be it the Ice Scripts or Glacial Graphs) so long as the auto is not faint or smudged.

I prefer the card design on this year's offering over the 13/14 card, but like the more full-body shot on the prior.

This card was an addition to the main pickup from the show....a card that made me cut short a "parade of garage sale day" with my niece and nephew (to be fair...it was raining and we were about done anyways).

2014/15 Upper Deck Masterpieces
#133 Black Framed Memorabilia Stick  /35

When fellow blogger Captain Canuck fired off a photo of this find asking if I needed it, I was already doing the math in my head on what to offer the seller.  A quick drive over to the show and I saw the great looking card first hand.

For a memorabilia window so small, Upper Deck did a nice job with their sticks and patches, maximizing the "wow" factor.

With no completed sales on ebay (the card was that new on the market), I gave it my best guess and made what I felt was a fair offer....and still think so.

I really like the wear on the stick piece and am thrilled to cross off the toughest card from the product release (just 35 copies).

2014/15 Upper Deck Masterpieces
#133 Memorabilia Jersey

While I was finalizing the transaction of the two cards shown above, another seller popped by and flashed this card in my face.  I knew he had it as I saw him pull it during his box breaks earlier in the week.

I predicted correctly in what I thought the seller would be looking to get and when I kind of stalled on it he lowered the price.  While it was still a little higher than I would have eventually spent, the seller has kept me in mind on more than one occasion and he does price his cards fairly.  In this instance, he got a few extra bucks off of me due to the newness of the product.

At the end of the day, it wasn't enough to raise a stink over and I do like that it's a non-white jersey piece.

So with that, it was one of my more successful card show trips in a while. And I didn't even plan on attending.  Fancy that.