Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Douglas Strikes Again - Part II - #4 Postage

It may have taken me weeks to post Douglas' prior trade package, but I think I've made up for it with the speed at which I posted this one. These cards arrived in my mailbox just yesterday, all the way from Canada, and here they are for your viewing pleasure...

Before we get started though, I'd like to call attention to the fantastic #4 Bobby Orr postage stamp that was used to send these cards down here to the States.  I've seen similar US stamps for baseball HOFers in the past, but never hockey that I can recall.  I'm not a stamp collector by any means, but I thought this was an interesting item, and a thoughtful touch by Douglas.  I've actually cut this off of the envelope and am storing it with the rest of my hockey cards.

Fitting that the first card that should spill out of the bubble mailer was the second best defenseman ever to wear the Bruins sweater, Mr. Ray Bourque.  This is from the 2014-15 O-Pee-Chee set.  Not only is this my first 2014-15 O-Pee-Chee, it's my first 2014-15 hockey card of any kind.  I just don't keep up with much recent product, but thankfully Douglas always has an eye out for me and keeps me well stocked on newer Whalers (what precious few there are) and B's cards.

The bulk of the package contained cards off of my Whalers want list on Zistle.  Most of them were from the great '80s, more specifically from two different '80s O-Pee-Chee sets.

I received 8 new cards towards my '86-87 team set, including this second-year card of Kevin Dineen.

This off-centered Coach Q fits right in with the rest of my OPC from this particular year condition-wise.

I got both of the Babych brothers from this set in the package.  Here's older brother Wayne, who based on the age of this photograph had to have been one of the early adopters of the helmet shield?

I'm always excited to land a new Mike Liut card.  There just aren't that many left out there that I don't have already.

The younger Babych...

Final card from the '86-87 O-Pee-Chee set, and my favorite of the bunch, a Ray Ferraro rookie!  This is certainly a welcome RC of an under-rated player, and one I was not expecting to receive as a surprise in a trade package.

The other Whalers team set that had some damage done to it courtesy of this package was the '83-84 O-Pee-Chee set.  Mike was actually claimed by the Whalers off waivers in early October of 1983, thus the "Now with Hartford" distinction and the St. Louis Blues outfit.

A few days before the Whalers picked Mike Zuke off the scrap heap, they shipped a future 5th round pick to the Pens for Greg Malone...

What I love about the '83-84 OPC set as a Whalers collector is that it falls right smack in the "Cooperalls era".

You can tell from the advertisement on the boards that this photograph, like a great majority of the ones featured on NHL trading cards in the '70s and early '80s, was taken in Washington during a game against the Capitals.

Mike Crombeen here was taken off waivers as well, from the same team and on the same day as Mike Zuke.  Also, another photograph taken against the Caps!

Douglas was kind enough to include this particular card, which I shamelessly asked for when he pulled it from a re-pack recently.  Any card that feature's Marek Malik's impressive mullet and a sweatshirt-wearing grandmother is a winner in my book.

The final card was a complete surprise, and a total beauty from 2013-14 Panini National Treasures.  I believe this was an uber-high-end product that I'd never spend the cash on, but I do have to say this is a very nice piece of cardboard.  It's super thick and really has a classy feel to it.  The swatch is supposedly game-used as well (if we can believe any of that any longer).  A very slick and much appreciated hit for my Whalers collection!

Finally, I saved perhaps my favorite item for last.  Douglas found this awesome 1991-92 Whalers pocket schedule and decided to send it along, and boy am I glad he did.  I love the cheesy "Pat Trick" marketing slogan.  Unfortunately, if my research is correct, Pat Verbeek recorded exactly zero hat tricks in 1991-92.

As always, thanks for the awesome package of cards Douglas!  I will start putting together a return package as soon as I can...

Monday, November 17, 2014

Douglas Strikes Again - Part I - Want List Damage

A few weeks back, before things got really hectic for me, I received yet another generous package of cards from none other than Douglas of Sportscards from the Dollar Store.

Keith Acton In Action.  Has a nice ring to it.  Douglas' latest envelope of generosity puts me more than 10 cards closer to an '82-83 O-Pee-Chee set.  I'm past the halfway point in hand collating this one, although I confess I haven't been too active in pursuing it.  I still have most of the big names left to go, so I toil with the idea of just picking up a complete set from time to time.

Whenever I receive a great stack of cards like this one though it's motivation enough to keep me going on hand collating.

Barry does a good bit of work for Bruins TV broadcasts for local TV station NESN, the network that I mentioned screwed up Johnny Bucyk's name in yesterday's post.

I have to confess I don't believe I'd ever heard of Pierre Aubry before receiving this package.  He played just 202 total games between '80-81 and '84-85, so given my age it's not surprising that the name didn't ring a bell.

Just look at that get-up.  Gary Lupul sadly passed away in his late '40s due to cardiovascular issues.

Named team captain at a very young age after being drafted #2 overall, Ryan Walter lasted just a few seasons in Washington before being dealt to Montreal, as mentioned on the card.  Was actually the trade that sent Rod Langway to the Caps.

The package wasn't all '82-83 O-Pee-Chee, Douglas hit on a couple of Red Sox needs as well.

Somehow I still don't have the complete 2013 Topps team set yet...

Here's a refractor from 2012 Chrome.

Another one off of my Zistle want list, this Tiger Williams 3,000 PIM Club card is from 2013-14 ITG Enforcers II.

Joining Tiger in my Whalers collection is this 1991-92 Pinnacle Michel Picard.  I already have numerous copies of this one, but not the French version!

Last but not least, a fantastic oddball item to close things out.  This Sylvain Turgeon disc was distributed by 7-Eleven back in 1984.  I almost certainly would never have stumbled upon one of these myself.  The best part about it is that it completes a 2-disc team set for me, as I received the other Whaler in the set, Ron Francis, as a Christmas gift from my brother nearly 3 years ago.

The reason this post is dubbed Part I is because no sooner did I get around to posting these than did another awesome package from Douglas show up in my mailbox.  Look for that one later this week.  As always, thank you Douglas!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Signature Sundays - MacInnis & Bucyk

Two more HOFers this week as I close in on the end of my 2012-13 Panini Classics Signatures autographs.

First up is defenseman Al MacInnis.  Al lasted 23 long seasons at the NHL level, all of them spent with the Flames and Blues franchises.  He was an All-Star many times over, as well as a Norris and Conn Smythe Trophy winner.  MacInnis is perhaps best remembered for his vicious slapshot, and he found the net an impressive 340 times during his NHL career (plus another 39 goals in the playoffs!).

When I landed this MacInnis autograph earlier this year, it allowed me to send the one I already had to someone who appreciates Al way more than I do.

Al's autograph was short printed in this set, and it's not an easy one to come by.

Johnny Bucyk's autograph was a short-print as well, although I've seen significantly more copies of this card up for auction over the past year than I have the MacInnis.  Bucyk was a model of consistency as a player, notching 20 goals or more in an NHL season an impressive 16 times!  When he retired, he was the fourth overall point scorer in league history, and he still ranks at #24 today.

Here's a screenshot I took a year or two ago where local sports station NESN (which broadcasts every B's game) butchered Johnny's name during coverage of a pre-game ceremony:

Pretty bad, huh?  One of the most successful Bruins of all time, not sure how that typo gets through...

At this point I have just two autographs left to show from this set.  I'll probably post both next weekend so that I can wrap this up and get to some of the many other great autographs that have been backlogged over the past year plus...

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Cardboard Classics - Stadium Club Napoli

Now that it's been out for a few weeks, prices on 2014 Topps Stadium Club baseball have cooled as collectors move onto the next hot new item.  I was finally able to land a Red Sox team set for less than $5, which isn't too shabby given that there are an impressive 12 Sox cards on the checklist.

My favorite of the bunch is this fantastic Mike Napoli card.  Stadium Club's hallmark has always been top-notch photography and this year's release is no exception.  That being said, and I could be biased here, I feel as though the Red Sox in particular ended up with some of the nicest photos in this release.

This particular card is one of the nicest new Red Sox cards I've seen in quite some time.  A perfectly framed photograph of Napoli hoisting the World Series Championship trophy minutes after the team won it last year.  The shine of the trophy, the beard, tattoo sleeve, World Series Champs T-Shirt, and sea of fans in the background make for a unique piece of cardboard to say the least.

If there's one thing to gripe about it would be the card back.  Not terrible, and certainly colorful, but overall it just seems uninspired after that captivating photograph on the front.

I'll share a few more from this set down the road, and I'm sure you've probably seen them all anyway at this point, but I thought this card was significant enough to merit its own post.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Signature Sundays - Tardiness Edition...Featuring Arturs Irbe

If I've been slow to respond or get back to you regarding a trade recently, or anything else for that matter, my apologies. I just finished a gigantic project at work that had me working for over 20 straight days so there just hasn't been time for much else.  Things should hopefully be returning to a normal (at least slightly less busy) pace for a while, so I figured why not celebrate with a Signature Sundays post, even if it is tardy.  Better late than never, right?

This week's subject is a guy I remember fondly from my childhood collecting days, Arturs Irbe.  If I'm being honest, those memories consist more of snickering at his amusing name or awkward-looking JOFA helmet than anything else.

He had some success at the NHL level though, particularly the 1993-94 season where he propelled the Sharks to their franchise first playoff appearance, where they stunned the top-seeded Detroit Red Wings.  His time in San Jose came to an end shortly after some strange accident where his own dog bit his hand.  I found out the dog was named Rambo, which made me giggle just like that JOFA lid did back in the day.  The comic relief didn't last long, as a couple of sentences later they mentioned that the dog was "destroyed".  Sorry, was the dog an object, or should that say something more along the lines of "killed" or "put down"?

Anyway, when I recently stumbled across this on-card autograph of Irbe it was too good (and too cheap) to pass up.  With a winning bid of $5.51 and free shipping, this is a bargain I'll enjoy for many years to come.

R.I.P. Rambo!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Signature Sundays - Fuhr & LaFontaine!

Not much time to write today, been working all weekend unfortunately (from home at least, enjoying the Pats/Broncos game as I write this). Anyway, here are two of the final few cards I have to show from 2012-13 Panini Classics Signatures...

First up, goaltender Grant Fuhr.  Of course Grant is most well known as the man between the pipes for quite a few Stanley Cups in Edmonton in the 1980s.  He also won a Vezina, and lost out to only Mario Lemieux for MVP one season.  Fuhr became a HOFer in 2003.

Pat LaFontaine missed quite a bit of time, and ultimately had his career ended prematurely, thanks to head injuries.  He was never able to hoist the Stanley Cup, but he was a very successful offensive center who racked up just shy of 500 career goals and recorded over 1,000 points.  He played his entire NHL career with the three New York teams (Islanders, Sabres, and Rangers for his final season).  Like Fuhr, LaFontaine was inducted in 2003.

Just a few more of these to go!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Stickey Sox from '67

A while back I was fortunate enough to land a small lot of stickers from the 1967 Topps Red Sox set.  I don't see these around my neck of the woods that often, so when I had a chance to jump on some at what came out to around $6 each I couldn't resist.  I showed the first sticker back in August in the form of Dalton Jones, today I've got the rest from the lot...

Dave Morehead's MLB career wasn't that spectacular.  He did toss a no-hitter for the Red Sox during a pretty rough 1965 season.  Must have been an interesting no-hitter to witness, because due to the fact that it was a late-season day game and the Red Sox were already out of it there were supposedly less than 2,000 people in attendance.  He does have the most fitting name for this set, as each card features "more head" than your average MLB trading card.

George Smith is included in the set because he appeared in 128 games with Boston in 1966.  Those would actually be the only games he'd play with the Red Sox though, and in fact his final MLB games period.  I'm not sure why some players got a large, colored shape behind their floating heads while others, like the Dave Morehead sticker that led off the post, did not.

Jose Santiago pitched a ton for Boston in the '67 season.  He made a few starts but logged the majority of his innings via bullpen work. 

Because team ace Jim Lonborg had started the final game of the regular season, Jose actually started game 1 of the World Series in '67.  He pitched a hell of a game facing off against Cards ace Bob Gibson, giving up only two runs.  Unfortunately that was enough to earn the loss as Boston scored just a single run.  That single run came from Santiago as well, as he blasted a solo shot off Gibson to help his own cause.  Too bad none of the other guys could manage as much or else the outcome may have been different for Boston.
George Scott played a lot of games for Boston in the 9 years (2 different stints) that he was with the team.  He was named an All-Star a few times during his career, and is a member of the Boston Red Sox HOF.  He passed away last year, apparently after a lengthy struggle with diabetes.

Jerry Stephenson was literally a lifelong baseball guy.  He would play with the Seattle Pilots and the Dodgers after his time in Boston.  When his playing days were done, he served many years (decades!) as a scout for both the Dodgers and the Red Sox.  He finally retired at the end of the 2009 season, and sadly passed away the very next summer at age 66.

From what I can tell, Jose's career is best remembered for one play late in the 'Impossible Dream' '67 season where he gunned out the potential tying run at home plate late in the game.  Oh, he's also Danny Tartabull's father.

I don't know a whole lot about Wyatt, and from what I've read I don't think he had a particularly notable career at the MLB level.  He was credited with the win in Game 6 of the 1967 World Series, the very last game the Red Sox would win during that amazing season.

I doubt I'll ever even come close to completing this set, but this lot puts me at around the 25% mark with just 33 total stickers on the checklist.  At least I've got some nice examples now for my Red Sox collection, and at what I'd consider a bargain price given the age and condition.
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