Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Cardboard History Guide to the 2016 NBA Finals

This 2015-16 NBA season has been nothing short of spectacular. From the opening tip of the first pre-season game to the last two teams standing, the season has been exciting, unpredictable and basically everything an NBA fan could hope for.

Here is a screencap of the Playoff Bracket, from nba.com

28 teams have been eliminated, leaving two standing, one from the Eastern Conference, and one from the Western Conference. For the east, the Cleveland Cavaliers have advanced to the finals for the second consecutive year, and third in franchise history, all three of them in the LeBron James era, who will be playing in his 6th consecutive NBA Finals- becoming only the 8th player in the NBA's 70th year to accomplish that feat. All the others are part of the Celtics' Bill Russell-led dominant years of the 1960s, with the feat having been accomplished last in 1966. The Cavaliers are also in the finals with a rookie coach for the second consecutive year, which is unheard of. Former NBA point guard Tyronn Lue became coach of the team in January 2016.

The Cavaliers got here by having the best record in the Eastern Conference during the regular season, than sweeping the Detroit Pistons and Atlanta Hawks, before facing more of a challenge from the Toronto Raptors, who advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time in franchise history, before falling in 6 games. The Cavs had to wait for the Golden State Warriors-Oklahoma City Thunder series to end, which went to 7 games (and why the Cavs are getting written up first- the Cavs section of the post is being written before game 7 of the Western Conference Finals!)

Wearing #0, Kevin Love is in his second year with Cleveland, although he missed most of the playoffs last season after having his shoulder pulled out of it's socket by the Celtics' Kelly Olynyk. 2015-16 is his 8th season in the NBA. Love is a second-generation player and nephew of founding Beach Boy Mike Love.
2015-16 Prestige #10
Wearing #1 is James Jones, also in his second season with the Cavaliers. Jones signed with the Cavs specifically because LeBron James moved to the team, Jones having played with James in Miami. He is mostly known as a 3-point sharpshooter. 2015-16 is his 13th NBA season.
2014-15 Panini Threads Signage #10
Wearing #2 is the starting point guard and 2011-12 NBA Rookie of the Year, Kyrie Irving. Irving was the first pick in the 2011 NBA draft and has played his entire 5 year career with the Cavaliers. He suffered a broken kneecap in game one of the 2014-15 NBA Finals. Irving was born in Australia as his father, who is American, played in the NBL, Australia's top basketball league.
2015-16 Hoops #222
Wearing #4 is Iman Shumpert, who completed his first full season with the Cavaliers in 2015-16, being traded to the team by the New York Knicks during the 2014-15 season. He was thrust into the starting lineup during the 2014-15 NBA playoffs after Love went down. Shumpert was also drafted in 2011, making this his 5th season, as well.
2014-15 Panini Threads #74
Wearing #5 is J.R. Smith, who, in his 12th NBA season has finally found a "home" in the NBA. The fit for Smith with the Cavaliers plays to his skill set perfectly, and he is now a starter on an NBA Finals team for the second consecutive year. Smith came to the Cavaliers in the same trade as Shumpert, on January 5th, 2015.
2015-16 Hoops #221
Wearing #8 is Australian point guard Matthew Dellavedova, who had a breakout 2015 Finals, as he stepped into the starting lineup when Irving went down. He played so hard he ended up in the hospital suffering from dehydration, yet didn't stop playing. 2015-16 is his third NBA season.
2015-16 Complete #77
Wearing #9 is Channing Frye, who joined the Cavaliers at the trade deadline this season, there are no cards issued of him yet in Cavs uniform. Frye is in his 10th season, with an asterisk- he missed all of 2012-13 with a heart ailment. (drafted in 2005) Luckily, he has made a complete recovery.
2015-16 Hoops #117
Wearing #12 is Jordan McRae, who is one of the least-used players on the Cavaliers roster. He joined the team on a 10-day contract on February 28th, and was later signed to a rest-of-season contract. He held the all-time single season scoring record in the D-League for part of this season, scoring 61 points in a game before being called up by the Phoenix Suns, which led to his later joining the Cavaliers. He did not receive any cards in 2015-16, which is is rookie season, but he was included in 2014-15 Prestige, despite not actually making the 76ers team. He only played 15 games in the regular season and 1 playoff game for the Cavs this year.
2014-15 Prestige #198
Wearing #13 is Tristan Thompson, who is lately playing the starting center role, although that depends on the matchups the Cavs are facing. He is another member of the 2011 rookie class, with Irving and Shumpert. He played all 82 games this year, which is becoming a rarity in the NBA these days.

2015-16 Panini Prizm #145

Wearing #14 is one of the least-used Cavs, and also the second and final rookie on the team, Russian center Sasha Kaun. Drafted back in 2008, he played in Europe before coming to the NBA this season, where he appeared in only 15 games during the regular season. He has yet to play in the playoffs.
2015-16 Limited #190
Wearing #20 is fellow Russian center Timofey Mozgov. who was the starting center on the 2015 NBA Finals team, but has mostly been relegated to the bench during the 2016 playoffs. Like Shumpert and Smith, Mozgov joined the Cavs in a trade during the middle of the 2014-15 season. 2015-16 is his 6th NBA season.
2015-16 Hoops #70
Wearing #23 is the unquestioned star of the team, and one of the greatest players of all-time, LeBron James. The 2003 #1 draft pick, 2003-04 Rookie of the Year, 4-time MVP, 11th all-time in scoring, and among all-time league leaders in literally every offensive category the NBA tracks, LeBron has nearly single-handledly willed his teams to the NBA Finals on multiple occasions, and by making it to the finals this year, he accomplishes something that names like Jordan, Magic, Bird, Bryant, O'Neal,  Abdul-Jabbar, etc, never did, in making it to the finals six consecutive seasons. (Two of which he won, being named Finals MVP both times). He accomplished this all in 13 seasons, so you know that he's not anywhere near done rewriting the record books. He is the only player on the Cavaliers to have previously won an NBA Title, winning in 2011-12 and 2012-13, both with the Miami Heat.
2015-16 Complete #53
Wearing #24 is Richard Jefferson, who has two previous Finals appearances- most recently in 2003! Jefferson reached the Finals in his first two seasons in the league, both with the New Jersey Nets. He joined the Cavaliers as a free agent this season, but Panini has not included him in any sets over the past two years. 2015-16 is his 15th in the NBA, making him the most experienced player on the roster. He is also the only Cavalier player to appear in more than 1000 regular season games (although LeBron is 13 games away)
2013-14 Totally Certified #157
Wearing #30 is the newest member of the team, Dahntay Jones. He joined the team only on April 13th, the final day of the season, and so played in only one regular season game for the team, fouling out at that. However, he has played in 9 of the team's playoff games. (he was suspended one for punching Raptors' Center Bismack Biyombo below the belt). Like LeBron, he was drafted in 2003, but he did not play in 2013-14 so this is only his 12th season. He has not appeared on a card since 2012-13.
2003-04 Topps #240
Wearing #52 is Maurice "Mo" Williams, who is in his second go-round with the Cavaliers, after playing for them between 2008-09 and 2010-11. Injuries limited him to 41 games this season, the lowest of his 13-year career. He is also from the stellar rookie class of 2003-04. He also played in 7 playoff games for the Cavs this year.
2015-16 Complete #101
The Cavaliers will face the Golden State Warriors, advancing out of a knock-down drag-out Western Conference Finals that has been one of the most incredible series in a long time. The Warriors have had an incredible season- the best ever, in fact, going an amazing 73-9, breaking the Chicago Bulls' record of 72-10 set in 1995-96. The team has been nearly unstoppable all season long, beginning the year with a 24-game win streak (2nd all-time) and setting numerous records along the way. Steph Curry is the leader of the "big 3" on the team, winning unanimous MVP for the first time in NBA history, something that most people believed would never happen. (The MVP was first awarded in the 1955-56 season) He also shattered the mark for most 3-pointers made in a season, with 402. He previously held the record already (286), and this season became the first player to hit 300 3s in a season, let alone 4. Teammate Klay Thompson also ended up hitting nearly 300 3s this season, 276, only ten off the previous all-time record. The Warriors found themselves in a 3-1 hole versus the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference Finals but came roaring back, becoming only the 10th team in NBA history to trail 3-1 and come back and win the series.

The Warriors are one of only three remaining original franchises that have been in the League since 1946, they will try to win their 5th Championship in the 2015-16 season. The Cleveland Cavaliers, founded in 1970, have never won the NBA Title.

The Warriors got here by beating the Houston Rockets in 5 games (which would have been a sweep if the refs had not missed a charge by James Harden) and then beat the surprising Portland Trail Blazers, also in 5. The Western Conference Finals proved to be the Warriors' biggest challenge so far, falling down 1-3 before coming back, as noted above. 

Wearing #4 is Brandon Rush, younger brother of former NBA player Kareem Rush. Brandon Rush is a backup on the Warriors team who doesn't play all that often, because he is behind Steph Curry. He has not gotten any cards since 2013-14. This is his 8th NBA season.
2012-13 Hoops #184
Wearing #5 is Marreese Speights, who can play either power forward or center, depending on what the team needs from him. He is working on improving his shot, and added the 3-pointer to his repertoire in 2015-16. Like Rush, he was drafted in 2008. Nicknamed "Mo Buckets", he is usually the first player off the bench when the Warriors need some instant offense.
2015-16 Complete Silver #200

Wearing #9 is Andre Iguodala, who was named Finals MVP in 2014-15. He famously gave up his career-long starting role to lead the Warriors' second unit, and it payed off with his the title. 2015-16 is his 12th NBA season. When he won Finals MVP last year, partially for offense and partially for his defense of LeBron James, he became the first Finals MVP in history to not start a single regular season game, and also the first to not start every Finals game, as he moved from the bench back the starting lineup in game 4 of the 6 game series.
2015-16 Prestige #192
Wearing #11 is quiet superstar Klay Thompson. The second-generation player does not have the same showmanship flare, or get the same recognition, as some of his teammates, but he is most definitely a superstar in his own right. He holds the NBA record for most points in a quarter (37, set during the 2014-15 season) and can single-handedly win games with his sharpshooting if need be. He is another member of the talented 2011 draft class, making this his 5th season. He set an all-time playoff record by scoring 11 3-pointers during game 6 of the Western Conference Finals, which would turn out to be the deciding moment of the entire series.
2012-13 Prestige Prestigious Picks #10
Wearing #12 is Australian center Andrew Bogut. The #1 pick in the 2005 NBA Draft, Bogut is one of three former #1 picks to play in the 2015-16 NBA Finals, although, had teams known now what they knew then, there would surely be more, as Thompson went 11th, Curry 7th and Draymond Green 36th! Bogut is not much of a scorer, his main role is to rebound, block shots, and alter shots, something not truly trackable in stats. He is the only starter on the Warriors who I do not have an autograph of.
2014-15 Hoops Authentics #2
Wearing #18 is newest Warrior Anderson Varejao. The Brazilian center had spent his entire career with the Cleveland Cavaliers, but they traded him to Portland at the Trade Deadline this season, who immediately cut him for salary cap reasons. He joined the Warriors several days later and has provided valuable time at center with both Bogut and Festus Ezeli facing injuries down the stretch of the season. There are no cards of Varejao in Warriors uniform. It will be interesting to see the reaction at his first game in Cleveland not as a Cavalier, which will be game #3 of the Finals.
2015-16 Hoops #105
Wearing #19 is Leandro Barbosa, like Varejao both Brazilian and a member of the 2003 draft class.
Barbosa can play either guard position but does not really play all that often due to how many excellent guards are on the Warriors roster.
2015-16 Complete #176
Wearing #20 is James Michael McAdoo, one of the least-used Warriors. He is the nephew of Bob McAdoo, and 2015-16 is his second season. He can play power forward or center. He did not receive a single card in 2015-16.
2014-15 Panini Prizm #296
Wearing #21 is Ian Clark, who is in his first season with the Warriors. He was an undrafted rookie in 2013-14, and has not received any cards since that season, when he was with the Jazz. As a point guard behind both Curry and Livingston Clark is not seen all that often, although he did play more when Curry went down with injury during the playoffs.
2013-14 Panini Signatures Rookie Signatures #12
Wearing #23 is my 2nd all-time favorite player, Draymond Green. (To be honest, Draymond, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson all rank in my Top 5 all-time favorites) Draymond's personality though just sets him over the top. He's a character for sure, and he's also a great player. He is the starting power forward on the team, and leads the team in Triple Doubles, 13 of them being added to his career tally during 2015-16, and that's not counting the playoffs. He can do it all, from defense to offense, and will be giving you his opinion on everything while he's doing it! He was voted second place in Defensive Player of the Year voting this season. Drafted an amazingly low 36th in 2012, he can tell you every single player, in order and by what team, who was taken before he was in that draft.
2012-13 Panini Contenders #233- a card I pulled from a pack myself!
Wearing #30 is one of the all-time greatest players to play the game...and he's only in his 7th season! That is Stephen "Steph" Curry, 2-time consecutive NBA MVP, the first to win unanimously, the greatest three-point shooter in history, (In my opinion. He officially trails only Steve Kerr in accuracy but he takes much harder shots than Kerr did, and also plays significantly more, as Kerr was mostly a backup, whereas Steph plays the majority of every game, and attempts more shots. By the time he retires many years from now he will surely be #1 all-time. In just 7 seasons he already ranks 19th made threes all-time. If he matches his total next season he will vault from 19th to 5th all-time, and he's improved on the number of made threes in every season he's been in the league) He led the NBA in scoring average, free throw percentage, steals, and shots made, in addition to the 3 point record mentioned above, just during 2015-16. He has single-handedly won games for the Warriors on multiple occasions during this season alone, even during these playoffs. While everyone on the team is important to the team, without Steph, Klay and Draymond the Warriors are not in the NBA Finals two years in a row, He is only the 15th player in NBA history to win more than 1 MVP award,
2012-13 Prestige Prestigious Pros #6
Wearing #31 is Nigerian center Festus Ezeli, who is in his 3rd NBA season, despite being drafted in 2012-13, he missed all of 2013-14 with injury, and missed some of the next two seasons with injuries as well. He is the 2nd Unit center on the Warriors, although he will start on occasion instead of Bogut.
2012-13 Panini Preferred #379
Wearing #34 is one of the most remarkable comeback stories in NBA history, Shaun Livingston. Livingston was a highly regarded prospect, being drafted 4th by the Clippers directly out of high school in 2004. He was plagued by injuries early in his career, but suffered what is regarded as the worst knee injury ever to happen in the NBA. (one of the rare times where ESPN has had to use a disclaimer before showing it) It was so bad that doctors considered amputating his leg. They were able to save it, but it cost him more than a year and a half of playing. By all accounts this was a career-ending injury but he powered back from it and his career continued. He has never- and will never- regain the explosiveness he once had, but he is still a very capable backup point guard, and has found his most success with the Warriors, after having bounced around to 7 NBA teams and even 1 D-League team between his injury and joining the Warriors..
2015-16 Complete #224
Wearing #36 is the only rookie on the team, Kevon Looney. The final pick in the first round of the 2015 NBA draft, Looney missed more than half the season due to an injury, and found little playing time when he returned, getting into only 5 games before suffering another injury, which ended his season. He is the only Warrior that is guaranteed not to play in the Finals.
2015-16 Hoops #270
Wearing #40 is one of three Warriors to join the team in the 2012 Draft, Harrison Barnes. The highest drafted of the three (7th), Barnes immediately stepped into the starting lineup and has remained there mostly ever since. Like pretty much everyone on the team except for Bogut, Barnes specializes in shooting threes. He will have an exceptional challenge in the finals as he will be guarding LeBron James much of the time.
2012-13 Timeless Treasures Time To Shine #20
And that is the complete 30-man roster of the NBA Finals.

This is a rematch of the 2014-15 Finals, and it should be a great series. The Cavaliers are at full health this year, while Steph Curry is not, after suffering a sprained knee in the first round of the playoffs against the Rockets. It noticeably hampered him in the first few games of the Western Conference Finals, but they won the last three games (and game #2) with him on the court most of the game, so I doubt it will make much impact, or at least as much as the media will talk about it.

I predict that the Warriors will win it all in 7 games, with each team winning their home games. I believe it will go down as one of the best Finals in NBA history, and I am looking forward to seeing it play out over the next several weeks. The Finals begin on Thursday, June 2nd, at 9PM Eastern Standard Time on ABC.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Five things I hate about this hobby.

As you probably know by now, I don't really like to talk about things that I dislike. Card collecting is an escape away from the pain of "real life", I am in pain 24/7 but cards make me happy...usually. There are some things I dislike about the hobby immensely, sometimes even venturing into the realm of true hatred...some are just merely annoying, but are on the list anyway. I could have gone over 5 but chose not to.

What I hate the most is the hardest to show with a picture. Of course, the lack of a picture is perfectly apt because what I hate the most is small sets. I'm not saying every set should be huge, and include everyone...but there should be at least one set a year that includes every player in the NBA. There are at the very least 450 players in the NBA at any given time. Panini usually refuses to give us a set with any more than 300, they issued a set in 2015-16 and laughably called it "Complete" even though it only had 330 cards. NO. That is NOT complete. A complete set would have had 450 cards!

I call out Panini because they currently have the exclusive license but Topps and Upper Deck did the same thing. UD was the last to truly do it right, and that was back in 2002-03.
Press Pass was the same with NASCAR. They had the exclusive license from 2001-2014, yet for almost all of those years they couldn't figure out that in a card set for NASCAR, you should show cars. That concept was one they just couldn't figure out most of the time. When they started the exclusive license, they limited most sets to 50 cards, but when they eventually went higher, the sets weren't any better, because instead of giving us actual action photos, we got endless subsets that were mostly all the same, but occasionally were different...but still not good. One set that sticks out as very poor was a set on drivers' "star signs". Yes, really. While I miss getting new NASCAR cards I don't really miss Press Pass. In all those years of exclusivity for Press Pass, the only time they ever actually got it right was 2011, when they issued a 200 card set that actually had cards for each driver's car that they included. (they ignored some drivers totally, mostly in the Busch and Truck series)

#2 is Mirror Foils. I've talked about how little I like them in the past...but since I got my new scanner going two weeks ago today (as I write this) I've worked on them almost exclusively and I loathe them even more now. They've managed to suck the fun out of one of the very few things that I get any enjoyment out of at all. I am always scanning and I normally scan about 150 cards a day...both front and back. Since I began working on the mirror foils my output has fallen to about 35 cards a day, fronts only. It's taken so much fun out of it that I'm spending time writing posts like this instead of working on scanning/editing or even posting to the Database!
I know that cards are not designed to be scanned, they are designed to be held in hand and enjoyed that way...but I've generally never cared for mirror foils even back when I had no idea what a scanner was, IE, the 1990s. They show fingerprints much easier, if you happen to be looking through cards with the window open and the sun hits them they hurt your eyes, etc.
This is one of the easier mirror foils to scan, 2004-05 SPx

That's not even the worst. This is some college set. I can't be bothered to keep track of college sets so I couldn't tell you which one.
OK, so when I uploaded the scan I can see it's Collectors Edge Impulse 1998. But which parallel is this? I have no idea. I don't even really care all that much. I despise the NCAA more than anything on this list, because they treat their players as if they were slaves. (I have a theory on why they treat basketball worse than other sports that's related, as well) That's a whole other topic but you will notice I almost never show any college cards on here...and probably never will, at least until the NCAA is overthrown/massively restructured to where they don't force players to go hungry, or even use their own name.

I don't have a problem with mirror foil used for a player's name, team name or card brand, but when the entire card is mirror foil, then I have the issue.  This issue is probably not as much of a problem for people who aren't scanners/bloggers. I certainly didn't start to hate these cards until I began scanning my entire collection, in 2009.

#3 is people who don't take care of their cards. Now, I've had a few get damaged on my watch, including some earlier this week when my high-powered fan blew them off my table and they landed on the edge, getting damaged. But that was an accident. This...how do you not care so much that this happens?!?
I know the picture isn't great but I did it with my cell phone. The Thomas card is bent clear in half, by the way. 
Sadly, these are neither duplicates nor the worst condition cards in my collection. I have an Ernie Irvan card from 1995 Upper Deck that I'm pretty sure was run over repeatedly in the street- has holes in it, even. But it's the best copy I have so it's part of my collection. Another thing that irks me is when you get cards in trade and they have greasy fingerprints all over them. I've had it happen more than once. Please, people, don't handle cards until you've washed your hands after eating potato chips or the like!

#4 is people thinking cards are meant only for kids. Um, no. Cards were meant and originally marketed towards adults, the idea of marketing them to kids dates to just before World War II, when most adults were busy fighting for the future of the world. Trading cards as a concept date to the 1870s and for the first 40 years of the hobby were almost solely sold as a premium in cigarettes.
The majority of cards, throughout the history of the hobby, have been purchased by adults. The market is finally starting to realize that adult collectors are what keeps it alive, but they've gone too far the other way, with Panini producing a $6000 pack of cards in 2015. The so-called super premium sets could very, very easily have made the list.
I did start in the hobby when I was 4 years old, and I've never left, but I didn't truly appreciate it until much later, after I hit my 20s. This is something I will be doing for the rest of my life, no matter how long that is. (it almost ended already at least once). If I live to be 100, I will still be collecting cards, so perhaps what I should be calling for is people to appreciate it as a lifelong thing, not something that should only be done while young. Even when I was young, I hated to be spoken down to, which is something that is done in the hobby from time to time.
As a kid, I certainly wouldn't have been able to appreciate a card like this-
although I have always loved error cards, which this is. Note the foil location on card.

Going hand-in-hand with this is people who refer to the hobby as a 1990s fad, or who call any cards junk, IE, the term "junk wax". One, the hobby is in it's 14th decade, it's not a fad. It predates the automobile, airplanes and competent medical care. Not a fad. My least favorite hobby term is used by people to whine about the period of time circa 1988-95. This was the glory days of the hobby, the time period when it reached it's most prosperous, most wide-spread; The people who use this term are usually not true collectors but just in it for the money, when they can't sell their cards they whine about it because everyone has them already; yes, there was a lot of cards produced in that time, but they were produced because there was a demand for them, it was truly the best time in the hobby...cards were everywhere. Anyone who truly loves the hobby should be wishing for a return to cards being everywhere, not something that only a select few have access to. This is the only time you will ever see the term "junk wax" on Cardboard History...literally, ever. Unless, of course, I am insulting somebody who uses the term...THAT is a possibility!

#5, I don't really hate #5. I am...vexed...by #5. It's more of an annoyance than hatred, but an annoyance it is.
That is cards with purposely rounded corners. I'm not talking about vintage cards that have had a hard life, and the corners that were once there are gone- I'm talking about rounded on purpose for no good reason. Take this card that I just scanned tonight-
I have not finished cropping it yet but you can see the rounded corners. Now here comes the problem...
Now that it's been properly cropped you can barely tell that the corners are rounded. This is solely a problem for people who scan their cards; for single use collectors they probably don't even know this problem exists, but for those of us who go beyond just collecting- IE, scanners, bloggers- it can be something that's annoying.
This is from a 48 card set, so doing front and back, there are 384 corners in the set. I'll be lucky if I get 10 of them to show properly in a scan. In the end, I do the best I can, but I know it won't really be perfect. Nothing ever is, really.
This set DOES have a reason for rounded corners, but not all do. This set, made using lenticular plastic on the front, would be very sharp with pointed corners...sharp enough to cut yourself on.

I know it's somewhat...irrelevant to real life, but I rarely rant so please allow my flights of wording here.

Now get off my lawn!

Monday, May 23, 2016

NASCAR Encyclopedia: Billy Abernathy

Welcome to the start of a new series! Before I really begin, an introduction:

I realize this isn't a concept that is entirely new, but, to be fair to me, I had this concept long before I knew what a blog was, not knowing that other people were doing something similar with baseball.

My original concept was to create an album on my website and post a scan of a card of each person in my collection, for both the NBA and NASCAR. and then in the caption write up their stats, but I never finished it for two reasons: I have to pay for my website, and I'm trying to limit the amount of duplication, and I began with my NBA collection and realized I needed to do a lot more scanning before I could really do it properly- when I put it on the backburner I was less than 1/3rd of the way through scanning my NBA collection. I stopped working on it in 2013.

Now, I'm resurrecting that idea but I'm going to improve on it, here on Cardboard History. I'm also going to begin with NASCAR, which would have been the logical choice to begin with as my entire NASCAR collection is scanned, at least the card fronts, but logical choices doesn't always enter my thought process.

I'm going to go alphabetically, except on the occasions where I add someone new to my collection and I've passed their point in the alphabetical order, in which case they will be moved to next in line. By my calculations I am missing only 33 people who have ever gotten a card in a NASCAR set.
For drivers I plan to give career stats up to the time of writing, for car owners, crew chiefs, and other people who have received cards, that's not as easy to come up with that information, so I'll attempt to provide the length of their career.

Eventually I plan to follow with an NBA Encyclopedia, but that won't be for several years as more scanning is required, much more. To be included, each person MUST have a card by themselves, they cannot share it with another person, only appear on a team card, etc. They must have their own card.

And now, let's begin, with the first person alphabetically to receive a NASCAR card, Billy Abernathy!

Billy Abernathy
Born: 2/16/1948
Home: Stony Point, North Carolina
Cards produced, according to the Trading Card Database: 2
Cards in my collection: 1
NASCAR Career: 1963-?

1994 Wheels Team Sets The Bandit's Last Ride Gold #4
Abernathy's only two cards produced were the regular and gold foil parallel of the Harry Gant team set issued by Wheels in 1994. Abernathy was Gant's front tire changer at the time of this card's issue. This is the Gold parallel. I do not know if he is still involved with the sport.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Blog on the run... or, Just phoning it in

Trying something new here, blogging from my phone. I have finally joined the 21st century as I have made the transition to a smartphone, a gift from my brother on May 1st this year. Typing on the phone is not all that easy but it's not as hard as I thought it would be, either. While I'm no Luddite I'm not really up on fancy gadgets and electronics and in fact I don't even own a working CD player! I do have a couple that stopped working so it's not like I've never had one. Anyway, the phone is a great thing. Best thing about is that I am now able to play Simpsons tapped out which is a great game.

If you look at the top of my blog, you will see my pages and the newest addition to that is my Wantlist. I am slowly working on getting everything all on to one page so I can just pull up the page and scroll to each set to see what I need. It's slow going compounded by the fact that I've been sick for almost two weeks but I will get there.

Originally I was going to pull up each set on the Database to check for each set but it took way too long to do especially as the connection at a local card dealer was very slow and spotty to boot.

Eventually I will get the entire NBA and NASCAR plus non-sports listed there but it may take a while.

The camera on the phone is actually pretty good. The pictures it takes of cards are actually better than what I can get on my real camera. Go figure!

I just happened to have this card at hand when I got the phone and it came out very good.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Uniform History: Toronto Raptors

The Toronto Raptors are tied as the second-youngest team in the NBA, joining the League in 1995-96 with the then-Vancouver Grizzlies. The Raptors have remained in Canada, and are currently the NBA's only team based outside the USA.

The 1990s were a period of growth for the NBA, in popularity, attendance and franchises, with #28 and #29 joining the league in 1995-96. The Raptors were officially founded on November 4th, 1993. The team name was derived from the immense popularity of the Jurassic Park franchsise, with Raptors being chosen from among more than 2000 different name options in a poll involving all of Canada. This is despite the fact that no actual remains of any velociraptors have been found in the Toronto area!

The Raptors started with a bang as Damon Stoudemire won Rookie of the Year in 1995-96, after being the first draft pick in franchise history.
1995-96 SP Championship #143
1995-96 Hoops #342. Personally speaking this is one of my all-time favorite jersey designs.
The franchise's biggest star to date joined the team in 1998-99, when Vince Carter was acquired in a draft day trade, the team got new jerseys in 1999-00. The road jerseys were unique in that the front was purple but the back was black.
1999-00 Metal Vince Carter Scrapbook #5VC

2001-02 MVP #168
In 2003-04, the road purple was modified to say Raptors, instead of Toronto.
2004-05 Hardcourt #83
In 2003-04, the Raptors introduced a solid red alternate. This would become the main road jersey in 2006-07 as purple was dropped from the team color scheme.
2004-05 Topps 1st Edition #44
From 2006-07 through 2014-16, the side stripes were changed to red from the original purple on the home whites.
2013-14 Hoops #10
From 2008-09 through 2014-15, the Raptors wore the reds, above, and solid black, on the road just about equally. The black uniforms were considered alternates but were actually worn about the same amount.
2012-13 Panini Contenders #138

From 2007-08 through 2011-12, the Raptors would wear green on St. Patrick's Day.
2011-12 Hoops #226
The Raptors also had a camouflage uniform, but I don't know when or how often it was used. It appears on several cards.
2012-13 Hoops #34
 In 2015-16 the Raptors rebranded with a new logo and totally new uniforms. It is only the second logo in team history.

2015-16 Complete #119

2015-16 Complete #316
The Raptors wear the new black alternate considerably less than the black alternate of 2008-15. There is also an alternate of the alternate, with gold trim instead of red. It has not appeared on any cards yet, but it only debuted after the all-star break of this current season, so that's not all that surprising.
2015-16 Donruss #100

The 2015-16 season jerseys have a small logo on the shoulder area, clearly visible on the Ross and Carroll cards, that show the top of the CN tower, a Toronto landmark. This is the logo for the 2016 NBA All-Star Game, hosted by the Raptors for the first time. This has been on the jerseys all season, and remains there into the Playoffs as the Raptors play in the Eastern Conference Finals, for the first time in team history. Presumably that will not be present on the jerseys come 2016-17.