Saturday, October 15, 2016

Do you know the way from San Jose? These cards did!

Because they came to me from San Jose Fuji, proprietor of the blog The Chronicles of Fuji. I won a contest he ran recently, and once I finally checked my post office box, it did not disappoint. In fact, in it he picked out a card for me that did something that hasn't happened since 2004!

There were so many great cards I literally cannot choose a favorite. But I'm going to show you some of them!

First is a card of Mr. Fuji himself. He becomes the first blogger to have a card in my collection (8996th person overall)
This is also the first time the 2015 Topps design makes an appearance in my collection. I really liked that design.

My gut reaction is this card as my favorite. Dikembe has always been a favorite player of mine, and this is my first autograph of his!
Panini even chose an image of him wearing my favorite Hawks jersey, to boot! It doesn't get much better than that!

From the same set, comes a very interesting card.
I'll be honest...I can't stand Larry Brown. He's one of my all-time least favorite people in the world of the NBA. However...I really wanted this card. Why, you may ask? Because of the team! The Washington Capitols were an ABA team, but, like most of the early ABA teams, they did not last. They were gone* by time the ABA started getting cards in 1971-72, and there was not a single card of the team issued until Panini included Brown in some sets in the last couple years. This becomes the first time since 2004 I added a new team to my collection, and that was only because the NBA had a single-team expansion that season. I really have no idea when the last time before that was. I understand Larry Brown is the only coach to have won ABA, NBA and NCAA championships...but, he takes pride in NOT playing young players, in fact in multiple occasions ruining their careers, and that just doesn't sit well with me. He's also mean spirited and vengeful. Not my kind of person. Still, I really wanted this card because I wanted to add this mostly forgotten ABA team to my collection, but I didn't want to spend any money on a Larry Brown card. Now, thanks to Fuji, I don't have to! Also, I have no idea how he keeps the color coding thing he does going, this is the extent of my tribute to his style, LOL

*= The Washington Capitols began as the Oakland Oaks in 1967-68, an original ABA franchise.  They were the Washington Capitols only in 1969-70, then became the Virginia Squires in 1970-71. They lasted until the ABA-NBA merger in 1976 but folded then, after the 1975-76 season ended. They have many cards as the Squires, which I do have represented in my collection. I suppose the argument could be made that the last time I added a new team was 2014 when the Bobcats became Hornets version 2, but since I didn't know they became the Squires until I looked it up for this post, I think I'll continue to think of it as a new team- after all, it's my first card that says Washington Capitols, and I have no other ABA cards that say either, whereas when the Bobcats became Hornets v2 they kept the name Charlotte, when Hornets v1 became Pelicans they kept New Orleans in the title, etc.

This is my first card from the first year of the Sports Illustrated for Kids series! I collected SI for Kids from 1996-2000, and then began again in 2015. They are on the 5th series, renumbering every so often. Series 1 ran from 1989-91 and I have cards from other years of series 1, but not the first year...until now! Even better, this is only the second racing card issued in the SI for Kids series! Mario Andretti had an issue earlier in 1989. I remember seeing her in the Indy 500, later in the 1990s. She competed in the Indycar series (and it's whole, convoluted system) from 1992-2000 but I probably only became aware of her in 1995, which is when I started watching the Indy 500 on a semi-regular basis. (I look forward to it each year now, but back then if it wasn't NASCAR or CORR I wasn't interested..until circa 1995 when I started watching anything I could find on TV) Also here was a Denny Hamlin card from the 5th series, from 2014, that I at first thought was a duplicate but then realized was in fact new, and just used a similar photo from a different Hamlin card in SI for Kids.
That wasn't it for NASCAR though...there was a smattering of inserts from the 2003 and 2005 Press Pass series, some of which didn't scan well due to being mirror foil, which Press Pass loved. But here are some highlights, (but not all of them)
 The Newman is from the long running insert Showman/Showcar. The Showman was hobby exclusive and the Showcar was retail. This is the hobby version, of course, and it's die cut, something Press Pass did a lot in the 90s and early 2000s but then went away from, unfortunately. It's mirror foil but I was able to pull a great scan out of it, somehow!
 A Dale Jr. Insert. Will always be happy to get a new insert of my all-time favorite driver, even if the car photo IS censored.
This is not really 3D, it just kind of looks it. Cup Chase was a long running program Press Pass had (it ran from 1996-2013 or 14) where if the driver won any of the races listed on the card, you could redeem it for a special insert set. If the driver you redeemed won the championship, you got a bonus card, which was usually race used. In 2004 and later, it changed to being if your driver qualified for the Chase (NASCAR's Playoffs) then you got the prize...making it possibly the only good thing the Chase has ever done for the sport.

But wait, there's more!

Fuji mentioned on his blog that he bought a lot of relics and half of them were coming to me, so the least I can do is show them all! I don't know if he planned it or it was a happy accident, but there was high Nets content here, the Nets of course being my favorite team. 4 out of 10 relic cards were Nets! Even better is that they are not guys I have a whole lot of. It's only my second Maurice Ager card of any sort, (both numbered, but the other is not a relic) 3rd Terrence Williams card but first with the Nets, and only my 8th Sean Williams card, all with the Nets, but my first relic of him! Jeff McInnis I have a lot more cards of, but not a lot of them were with the Nets. it's my 47th card of him, but only 6th as a member of the Nets! Bonus for him wearing #0, a number that has always fascinated me for some unknown reason. It's also only the third card I have from 2006-07 Sweet Shot.

Nick Fazekas is someone who was missing from my collection, it's my first card of him! When I was away from the NBA from 2006-12, there were a lot of players who didn't "stick" in the NBA who I missed adding to my collection when the cards were new, and he's one of them. Of course, there were some who DID stick but Panini chose not to give cards to as well, so are also missing from my collection.

This Chris Paul is my first relic card from 2007-08 Topps, the Sean Williams, Shannon Brown and Fazekas are only my second cards from those sets (The multi-player is my third from 2007-08 SPx, the same set as Fazekas) and the Faried Black Gold card is only my third from the set. Black Gold was the second to last set issued in 2015-16 and was high priced, so I didn't get to open any. I joined a group break and got two cards out of it or else it could have been the first one from the set in my collection. It didn't scan well, because it's a shadowbox type card. The color photo is printed on clear plastic, and the gold tone photo is set well back from it- far enough back that my scanner didn't pick it up clearly. It's striking in person, but not as impressive in the scan.
The Donnell Harvey is from a set I've completed, 2000-01 Fleer Tradition, but I didn't have any from this insert before now...and I love throwback jerseys, so that makes it extra nice.

There was one other relic I didn't show, because it's kind of a duplicate. How can something be kind of a duplicate? When it's an upgrade, of course! I have a lot of the 2005-06 SP Game Used Authentic Fabrics set. I had a source for them when they were new, although I don't remember what it was anymore, but I have way more of them than I should have considering my usual 2 box purchase pattern of the time. The card I have though was one that went off the table at one point and got a ding in the corner. Now, I have a replacement!
It is of another obscure player, Bernard Robinson, who only appears 8 times in my collection. You can see my scan of the first version of the card I have HERE, on the Trading Card Database (which is where all the numbers of how many I have of each person came from as well). I always prefer to get a card of an obscure player over somebody like Michael Jordan for example.

In conclusion, this was a great contest package, and I'm thrilled to have these cards added to my collection! Thanks again! You made my day for sure!


  1. That is a really great thing for the package to include so many of your favorites.

  2. "In 2004 and later, it changed to being if your driver qualified for the Chase (NASCAR's Playoffs) then you got the prize...making it possibly the only good thing the Chase has ever done for the sport."

    I got a really good laugh at that last line.

  3. Fuji sure hooked you up! Since I was a big fan of his as well, the Mutombo autograph is probably my favorite. And having never seen them before, the Donnell Harvey Genuine Coverage is pretty neat too. It has a really nice look to it.