Tuesday, January 17, 2017

First Package of 2017

Tom, from The Angels, in Order, and I have been exchanging cards for nearly four years now. Not that I'm biased or anything, but I've found that all guys named Tom are really stand-up traders, and Tom has proved this multiple times over. I'll ship him out my unwanted Halos and I'll receive back players donning Cubs blue. It's a great relationship, it truly is.

Recently, I dumped some Angels on Tom during the Great Purge of 2016.  He responded back with what is my first new-to-me cards of 2017.

Tom sent back some beauties, including these nice Fukudome cards for my player collection.

 I love me some World Series Cubs and Zobrist is one definitely one of my favorites. Actually, I think the Topps Bunt design was my favorite of 2016 as well. We need more large team logos in the background!
Carl Edwards will be one of the livest arms in the bullpen this year and I'm looking forward to seeing how many of his opponents will chase that curveball of his. It's downright filthy. 
 Eric Karros and Mark Grudzielanek were two of my favorites on the 2003 playoff team. Grudzielanek actually received MVP votes that year. I bet you didn't know that!

 Four of the more recent familiar faces of the Cubs franchise are featured on the cardboard above. The Dunston cards looks to be a little grainy, so let's take a closer look.
 Nope, the picture is crystal clear, but the weather that day was not. Didn't you just love those black & gold parallels from Leaf back in the day?

This unused linen postcard is an absolute gem.
It's an older postcard for sure, but I can't figure out the year exactly. It was produced by The J.O. Stoll Co., and the back holds a place for a "one cent stamp" in the corner. Through a little bit of research I know this postcard must have been produced before 1952, when the price was upped to two cents. Maybe Wrigley Wax, who seems to be a historian on all things Cub, would have an idea of when Wrigley looked like that. My guess would be in the 1930s. No?

Regardless, the postcard is beautiful and will be on display in my man room.

Lastly, we have a 1983 food issue card from Post's Super Sugar Crisp.
 This is a scratch-off card from 1983 which gives you a chance to win a ColecoVision (old-school gaming system or an autographed baseball.
The contest states that children between the ages of 6 and 14 years of age as of Dcemebr 31, 1984 were eligible to win. I was seven back then, but MLB baseball wasn't yet on my radar.
The back sports a little team history, which needs to be updated: Hack Wilson has now been credited with 191 RBIs and the Cubs got lights in 1988. Plus... maybe we should add something about a World Series win in 2016? 

Tom, thanks for the cards!  My favorites were the postcard and the Super Sugar Crisp Cubs scratch-off. Great stuff!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Surprise Delivery from K3

My mom-in-law was born and raised in Kankakee, IL (aka K3) and earned a degree from Olivet Nazarene University in nearby Bourbonnais. After Ben Zobrist signed with the Cubs he partnered with ONU to put together an advertising campaign throughout Illinois for the liberal arts university. In fact, I've seen some of the adds on the digital billboards here in P-town.

As many of us do, my mom-in-law receives an alumni magazine from time-to-time. I usually flip through the one I get from Eureka College pretty quickly and then it finds the recycling bin, but she sent me hers! Yeah, she loves me!
Wow!  What a fantastic cover! Wouldn't a nice blue signature look beautiful on the infield dirt? I think I found a new goal!

There was a six page spread on the inside, which was heavy on the pictures and had a nice amount of biographical information sprinkled in.
 Ben spent three years at Olivet and was inducted into their athletic hall of fame in 2014.
 My mom-in-law sent me many newspaper articles and full newspapers about the Cubs during the playoffs. She knows what puts a smile on my face!  I'm very thankful she was willing to part with her ONU alumni magazine.

She also sent me a copy of the Chicago Tribune's 2016 Photos of the Year magazine. 
There were about a half dozen Cubs-centric photos inside and some other visually stimulating non-baseball shots as well. There were also quite a few photos with captions that described scenes after a homicide within the city. As much joy as the championship has brought the city, it has not cured its ills. Overall, the pictorial did a nice job capturing the ebb and flow of 2016 in Chicago from many different angles.

Baseball serves as a nice escape from the real world, so I'm glad the Chicago Tribune chose the cover photo they did.

Thanks for the gifts, Sarah!

Monday, January 9, 2017

The Favorites of 2016

About four months ago I challenged my fellow bloggers to pick their favorite card of 2016. Everyone who complied was thrown into the randomizer, with the first and last places being awarded prizes. More on that in a little bit.
First, lets take a look at the cards. For the record, the order of the cards is chronologically based on when links were posted in the comments of the original contest post.

The Chronicles of Fuji was the first blog to accept my challenge, and Fuji responded with a Topps Strata serial numbered (16/25) auto patch of Rickey Henderson.

Tony Burbs did a countdown of his ten favorite Cubs cards and Topps' National Baseball Card Day card of Anthony Rizzo came in at number one.

Angus offered up the first football card to be posted: Panini Certified, mirror green parallel of Robert Griffin III, numbered 1/5.

Night Owl shocks the world by taking a non-Dodger, an Archives of Craig Biggio, as his favorite.

Stadium Club should be well represented in this list, and cardboardhogs.com gives us our first from the popular set. What a beautiful black and white photo of the great Willie Mays.

Stealing Home presents us with the first prospect in Willie Calhoun, from Topps Pro Debut.

JediJeff's name is synomymous with Sox, but not Red Sox. Yet, that's what he selected: Xander Bogaerts' Archives card. I love the foul line shot and broken bat.

 Only A&G would give us Mount Everest on a card, and Robert liked it so much he wrote, "Maybe a giant version of this card in a frame might adorn the wall someday."

"2016 was the year of David Ortiz, so I really HAD to go with an Ortiz card." Section 36 delivers a Big Papi card from the Topps AL team set. 

Topps Now made some waves throughout the hobby in 2016 and Laurens gives us our first sampling with an Andrew Benintendi card.  

Tim B. gives us a great action shot of Von Miller from Panini's Father's Day Promotional Set.

A returned TTM request makes the final cut! Here we have a Tanner Kero Young Guns rookie card from 2015-16 Upper Deck Series 2 from Matt Pederson.

Chris sent this one to his Secret Santa, but it's still his favorite: a Strata relic of Jacob DeGrom numbered 10/99.

If you're getting tired of viewing pictures, GCA offers up a post on his first edition of his Collective Awards for the sets of 2016. It's a quick and fun read. Give it a look! (GCA doesn't mention his best card, but he'll be entered in the drawing anyway, because I like his creativity and it's my rules.)

Peter K. Steinberg adds another card of Big Papi to the mix, with Topps' Walk-Off-Winners insert.
Metallattorney ups the count to five Red Sox cards with knuckleballer Steven Wright's Topps Now card. 

Rocky Mountain Oysters and a Marry Poppins reference in the same post? Adam Kaningher presents us with the second Stadium Club card in our list: Jon Gray.

Greg Zawkin gives us one of the hottest names in the sport of baseball: a mini framed auto of Corey Seager from A&G.

I always look forward to Nick's countdowns and this one was no different. He gave us his Top 10 cards of 2016 and the Topps Now Cubs World Series Champions Card is his #1.

Sports are about stories and memories and this card, buckstorecards' favorite, certainly has that covered. It's the 2016-2017 Upper Deck Series 1 card of Bobby Ryan. Check out this link if you want to see if the family got a new puppy.

The Lost Collector places Topps Now firmly in the lead for most popular set choice, with his selection of Tyler Austin and Aaron Judge.

Up next, from Brian Stryker, is an offering from one of the high-end releases of the year. This is a triple patch 3-panel book card of Kang, McCutchen and Cole, numbered 1/1, from Triple Threads.  Wow!

gcrl's post takes us through sixteen different Steve Garvey cards before settling on this Milestone Scripts gold parallel, which is autographed and numbered out of 49, from Panini's Pantheon release.

And this is why I love contests. I get to learn about new blogs! SumoMenkoMan, of Japanese Sumo Wrestling and Menko, called this BBM Masterpiece autograph card of Sunao Takizawa his favorite of 2016. Takizawa is a rugby player for the Japanese NEC Green Hornets.

B Man gives us another Stadium Club card, but this one comes from the Instavision Highlights insert set and it is numbered 11/25. Knowing B Man, no one should be surprised it's of Yadier Molina.

Every countdown needs a Kent Tekulve card and I was starting to worry that we wouldn't be blessed with one. Then BWTP came along and gave us all what we crave: a numbered (/60) auto of Tekulve from Topps Signature Archives. Wonderful!

Adam Sanders gives us our second foul line photo from Archives with this beautiful card of Carlos Gonzalez.

Next up is a mini framed relic of Barry Larkin from A&G, which seemed to be a pretty easy pick for Nachos Grande.

"Holy Criminy Jeebus" is right! Babe Ruth with Mike the Chimpanzee from Leaf's Babe Ruth Collection is Dayf's favorite of the year. What a pair!

Sports Card Collectors chose a nice relic and autograph combo of Sterling Shepard from Panini Unparalleled, which I believe is serial numbered to 199. Panini can put out a pretty nice card when it's allowed to have a license.

Topps Now makes its 5th appearance in this list of favorites. John Sharp was touched by Topps' generosity of sending out a free card during the holiday season that featured Kris Bryant, Gary Sanchez, Ichiro and David Ortiz.

Big Pulls? Oh yeah, here's a biggie. Defgav pulled a redemption for a Ken Griffey, Jr. Archives Father & Son, 1/1, black border autograph card. Wow. Just. Wow.

Brian gives us his "Completely Arbitrary Best Card of 2016" and it's the Twins Terrors card of Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano from Heritage.

Raz sneaks in just under the contest deadline to submit a NXT autograph card, numbered to 299, of Bayley from Topps WWE Undisputed.  She seems like one happy wrestler!

Trevor P. was a little late to party and won't be included in the randomizing for the contest prize, but I just have to show his favorite. Behold, a black-bordered 1/1 of Kyle Schwarber from Archives. Wow!

Well, that's the conclusion of the picture portion. In all, cards from baseball, football, hockey, rugby and wrestling were chosen. The Red Sox were the team represented the most (5 times) and David Ortiz' name was called three times. There are three cards of Stadium Club and A&G, four cards from Archives, but Topps Now stole the show by appearing five times overall.

Just for kicks... I thought about setting up a bunch of polls, like Nick at Dime Boxes does, for everyone to vote on your favorite card from those submitted. I even had some brackets made up for 32 cards, but then once we got past 32 entries I didn't want to go through the hassle of messing with play-in games and restructuring the bracket. Sorry...  I have a full plate with baseball open gyms starting up and it just isn't going to happen.  Here's the rough draft of the bracket if you want to see where you would have fallen as a seed... like I said before, just for kicks. 
Please, don't be offended if I slotted you in as an 8 seed. Everyone loves a Cinderella story!

On to the prize!

After three times through the Randomizer here's the results:
Congratulations to Matt Pederson and Robert on your first and last place victories. Matt, I'll send you a blaster of 2017 Topps S1 when they hit the shelves, as promised. Robert, I'm not sure what I'll send you, but I'm sure it'll be better than not having received anything at all.  Oh, and I need both of you to send your mailing address to mrcoach00 at yahoo dot com, please and thank you.

Lastly, thank you to everyone who participated in the contest. I feel like the big winner because I learned about a couple new blogs and was given a whole bunch of blog posts to view. That was just fantastic. Thanks again.  It was a lot of fun and I'm one happy blogger.

Maybe we'll do it all again in eleven more months?