Sunday, December 26, 2010


I must admit that I'm addicted to the Topps Million Card Giveaway. What a great idea and what a great response it has received. The opportunity to unlock and then receive baseball cards from years gone by has made me quite eager to purchase 2010 Topps baseball products.

Although, the odds are more likely that you'll unlock an Omar Vizquel or a Delino Deshields card, sometimes you can get a winner. Today, I was lucky enough to unlock this card.

According to Wikipedia, Bob Cain shut out the New York Yankees in his first major league start, and in 1952 matched one-hitters with Bob Feller and won, 1–0. He is, however, most remembered as the pitcher who faced Eddie Gaedel – the only midget to appear in a major league baseball game.

On August 19, 1951, St. Louis Browns owner Bill Veeck put the 3 foot, 7 inch Gaedel into the game with instructions to hold his bat on his shoulder and not swing. Cain later recalled: "I went out to the mound to start to pitch the bottom half of the first and as I was warming up, Eddie went over and got these little bats. We couldn't understand what was going on." In his crouch, Gaedel reportedly had a strike zone of 1½ inches. Detroit catcher, Bob Swift, advised Cain to "Keep it low."

According to observers, Cain was laughing so hard at the prospect of pitching to Gaedel that "he's practically falling off the mound with each pitch." Cain proceeded to walk Gaedel on four straight pitches, all high.

Another great piece on baseball history for my personal collection.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

2010 Fall Sports Card Expo

I'll be heading up to Toronto, Ontario for the 2010 Fall Sports Card Expo on Friday morning. As always, I'll be there for all three days. It's a great opportunity to meet other collectors, see other collections, and get those cards, boxes, and oddball items that are just about impossible to find elsewhere.

I think this will be my 6th Sports Card Expo in Toronto. I didn't make it there in May 2010 as it was a little too close to the expected birth date of my daughter. I figured it would be safest just to stay home. Hockey card collecting is important but my pregnant wife had top billing. Molly was born in June and all was good.

As always, I'll look into getting a few autographs as well. Jean Beliveau is returning so I might have to go see him again for an autograph. He's the classiest hockey player I've ever met and many people don't realize that he was almost the Governor General of Canada in the 1990's.

I normally have good luck pulling cards at the Expo and hope that this event will be no different. Having fun with the hobby is great but every now and then it's great to beat the odds and be the envy of everyone else.

Looking forward to three days in Hockey Card Heaven!

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Return of Hockey Cards

With the release of 2009-10 Upper Deck The Cup last week, I can now focus on the 2010-11 hockey card season. Although 2010-11 UD Victory has been released, it just isn't a new season until the final release of the previous season has hit the shelves. Technically, I could be wrong though as In The Game's 10th Edition of Ultimate could very well be listed as a 2009-10 product as the 9th Edition was stamped 2008-09. It will be released on November 11, 2010.

The big news this season is the return of many forgotten brands thanks to Panini. Although many collectors will never forget Score and Donruss due to over-production issues in the early 1990's, the retro feel will be too good to pass up. I'm really looking forward to 2010-11 Score. In 1990-91, I remember buying boxes for $25 and hoping for an Eric Lindros Future Superstar card. How times have changed.

I've had a great 2009-10 collecting season but I'm looking forward to a new one. John Tavares followed me around this past season but in other years it's been Andrew Alberts (05-06) or Vladimir Mihalik (08-09). Some years you're lucky, others you're not. I've learned to enjoy it regardless. The new rookies, the new designs, and the new products.

As a Habs fan, I'm hoping that PK Subban will follow me around this season... but I won't be terribly disappointed if I see some Edmonton Oilers Young Guns are I flip through my 2010-11 UD Series One.

Now if only they'd stop delaying products... 2010-11 UD Artifacts has already been pushed back to October 26th, 2010. Ugh!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Topps Million Card Giveaway

I'm a hardcore hockey card collector.

However, that doesn't mean that I don't dabble in other sports. I often grab a pack of basketball, football, baseball, UFC, non-sport, etc.

The other day at the local card store, I decided to purchase a few packs (7) of 2010 Topps Series 2 Baseball. Not only was there a chance for a Stephen Strasburg RC (need'em) or a Jason Heyward RC (got'em), but there was a chance for a Topps Million Card Giveaway redemption card.

In my seven packs, I was lucky enough to get two redemption cards. Intrigued by the program, I immediately went to the computer and learned that I was now the proud owner of a 1958 Topps Dick Gray card and a 1976 Cesar Geronimo card.

Two old cards. Two players I've never heard of.

Although he only played for a few seasons, Dick Gray is an interesting character. On April 18, 1958, the Dodgers played their first home game in Los Angeles against the San Francisco Giants. In this game, Dick became the first Dodger player to hit a home run in the city of Los Angeles. In the bottom of the 7th inning, the Dodgers were on top 5-3. With one out, Gray smacked the first home run off of Johnny Antonelli to put the Dodgers ahead 6-3. His home run in the 7th held off the Giants enough for the Dodgers to win their first game in Los Angeles, 6-5.

A winner of four consecutive Gold Glove Awards from 1974-77, Cesar Geronimo was an outstanding defensive center fielder. In his fifteen seasons, GerĂ³nimo batted .258, with 51 home runs, 392 RBI, 977 hits, and 82 stolen bases. He also held the dubious distinction of being the 3,000th strikeout victim of both Bob Gibson and Nolan Ryan. "I was just in the right place at the right time," he joked.

Nicknamed "The Rifle", Geronimo was known for his powerful throwing arm. Once after catching a fly out on the center field warning track, he threw the ball home to keep a runner at third base from scoring and the ball went so far on a fly that it went over catcher Johnny Bench’s head. In July 2008 he was inducted into the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame.

A history lesson thanks to Topps and the Million Card Giveaway.

Monday, July 12, 2010


I've stopped reading various blogs lately. There is a lot of negativity these days with sports cards products in general.

Having collected for 30 years, I think I have an opinion which matters even though I may not be one of the big-wigs in the blogosphere. It's rare that I hear how great a product is. More often than not, it's people complaining of a lack of value or poor design or lack of imagination. I like most products, maybe I'm an easy sell.

If you're not enjoying yourself then I think it's time to re-evaluate why you're in the hobby.

I'm in the hobby for fun. It's a great way to pass the time. I read the stats and the backs of cards. I do have a personal collection of some value but cards are in my personal collection due to the card or the player and not the value. I have a Duane Sutter autograph card which means as much to me (and possibly more) than my Mario Lemieux autograph card.

To me, pulling a great card is a bonus... not an expectation. An expensive box is an adventure... not an investment.

I would like to get rid of patch forging and sticker autographs and event-used memorabilia... but I do think that people prospecting for big dollars are just as bad.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Card of the Week

Every year there is one product I look forward to. And this year is no different as I bought 4 boxes of 2009-10 Upper Deck SP Authentic Hockey from Canada Card World.

I love the crisp, clean design. I love the hard-signed autos. I love the fact that you can get one of the hot rookies just as easily as you can get a poor one since the Future Watch Auto's are all numbered to /999.

Normally, the Matt Duchene Future Watch Auto /999 that I pulled would qualify as one heck of a hit... but in comparison to this, it just doesn't quite win the award.

This is the second year in a row that I've pulled a Bobby Orr autograph from SP Authentic Hockey. Last year, it was a 2008-09 Sign of the Times autograph. This year, it's the 2009-10 Sign of the Times Dual autograph of Bobby Orr and Phil Esposito.

Oddly enough, it was my favourite product before these recent pulls. I can't wait to see what next year holds!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Secret Collecting?

As a player collector, you've got a choice.

Do you collect a player in secret? Do you collect a player and let the world know?

I have four player collections. For the most part, I like to keep two of them public and two of them relatively private.

Keeping a player collection private means that other collectors may have less knowledge about a young up-and-coming player. It also means that you don't have to worry as much about someone else holding a card for ransom as they know you really desire it.

On the other hand, keeping a collection private means that you have less help. The card collecting community helps to create a lot of friendships between collectors. When your player is pulled by another collector, the more who know, the more the chance is that you'll get an unsolicited note to help you add another card to your collection.

What do you do? I see the pros and cons... so I play both sides.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Awesome Card of the Week

2008-09 ITG Between The Pipes was one of the best products released last season. In 2009-10, it's much the same. And that's a very good thing. From a box last week, I pulled this:

A Complete Package (jersey/glove/stick/pad) of Pelle Lindbergh is a dream card for anyone's collection. This is the silver version which is /19 and regardless of my loyalties, Lindbergh is a goaltender who should be in everyone's personal collection.

Even as a Habs fan, I felt great sadness when Lindbergh died in the mid-1980's in the prime of his career. The fact that we can still honour his career with spectacular cards like this is a great thing about our hobby.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

National Hockey Card Day

In Canada today, it is not only Hockey Day in Canada, it's also National Hockey Card Day.

As most Canadians know, Hockey Day in Canada means that all six NHL teams face each other in three games. In the afternoon, Ottawa hosts Montreal, in the early evening Toronto plays Vancouver, and later tonight, it's the Battle of Alberta as Calgary faces Edmonton.

A great event has been made better with Upper Deck's recent program called National Hockey Card Day which takes place today as well. Most hobby stores in Canada will hand out free five-card packs to each customer who comes through the door.

After my CrossFit workout today, I headed down to the local card store with my wife and picked up two packs of cards. One for each of us. The store was bustling with activity with lots of collectors, young and old. To go along with our two free packs, I grabbed some supplies and some packs of 2009-10 O-Pee-Chee hockey.

As I sat down at home to watch the Montreal/Ottawa game, we opened our packs. My pack contained Jamie Benn, Steve Yzerman, Vincent Lecavalier, Logan Couture, and Jarome Iginla. My wife's pack was much better. She read out the names of Mike RIchards, Roberto Luongo, Evander Kane, Sidney Crosby, and John Tavares!

Luckily for me, every card that she pulls out of a pack becomes my card and I'm more than happy to add another John Tavares card to my collection.

If you're in Canada, hopefully you made it out for your free pack as well.


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Unwanted

If you're reading this, more than likely, you're a card collector. But what do you do when your collection contains cards which you don't collect?

We all enjoy collecting certain players, teams, and sets. Through trades and eBay it's easy to accumulate a very impressive collection of things we want. However, when we break open packs and boxes, quite often we end up with jersey cards and autographs of players which we don't collect. Sometimes, this is a good thing. You open a pack and you've got a keeper for your personal collection. It's a rare occurrence but it's an awesome feeling.

Unfortunately, more often than not, when we break open boxes, we end up with a lot of cards like these:

The question is... What do I do with these? There are few collectors who collect the no name of the NHL. The odd person needs one of these cards for a certain set and the rare person collects these players. But no one bids on these cards on eBay. No one wants these cards in trade. Do kids even want these players? They sit in a shoebox in your collectibles room and they take up space. So what do you do with these cards? As a collector it's impossible to throw them away. What do you do?