Thursday, February 25, 2021

1965-66 Topps....finally!

 I've mentioned a few times that I really like the design of the 1965-66 Topps NHL set, but that I didn't have any. I've come close, even having some on the table in front of me at the two card shows I went to in 2019, but I went with older cards instead, picking up a 51-52 and 54-55 Parkhurst instead of going through the stack of 65-66s. 

In fact, it was one of only two Topps flagships not in my collection yet in any way, with 1958-59 being the only other one, although 1961-62 has not actually gotten to me yet, it's in my COMC file for over a year now, awaiting shipping. 

I decided it was time to change that, so I went to ebay and as usual I had it sorted "Lowest price+shipping" and lo and behold, the very top card listed was a Ranger! There wasn't any serious flaws with it, so I took it as a sign...and took it home. 

That's a really fine card for $3 and change! I don't know why I didn't do that sooner, in fact. Perhaps I will have to see what the prices are on the 1958-59 cards some day...

Interestingly enough, I scanned a card from 2001-02 Topps Heritage in the same scan I did for this Don Simmons card, which uses the 58-59 design, so even though I don't have any, I do have the design of 58-59 right in front of my face!

It turned out to be my first card of Don Simmons too, he doesn't have many as many 60s players don't. 

In this time period, O-Pee-Chee actually produced the cards for Topps. This is only my 17th card issued during the Original 6 era, not counting the one or ones waiting for me in Washington. (I don't remember if it's just that one or more than one, like I said, it's been more than a year since I actually bought it.). I'm actually surprised it's that many,

Friday, February 19, 2021

Black History Month Spotlight: Jarome Iginla

 When I "discovered" the NHL, I read as much as I could. I read the entire history of each team...and I read about random players who I just happened to click on, uh, randomly. I'm lucky I clicked on to Jarome Iginla. I had seen him playing a time or two- I think I only saw him play two games, because he retired at the conclusion of my first, partial season -don't remember the juxtaposition of when I read the article to when I saw him play. I consider myself fortunate that I actually got to see him play. 

One thing stood out to me is that he has spent a considerable effort on diabetes research. As you may recall, I have that and it almost killed me in 2013, when I didn't know I had it. The most amazing thing? He doesn't have it, or doesn't have anyone close who has it. If the article I read is correct (never a guarantee, but I hope so) he simply read about it and wanted to try and help. That is somebody who deserves my fandom. 

He was also a really, really good hockey player, the best player in Calgary history if you ask me. 

Here's ten cards from my collection of him:

1998-99 Black Diamond is my oldest card of him. 
The 2000-01 Topps set looks better in scans than it does in hand, I think.
I bought this Refractor on COMC
This was an insert in MVP
One of two promo cards I have of him in my collection
You know me with SN cards. I've already added 3 of him to my collection
This was probably my first card of him
I pulled this card from the very first hobby box of NHL cards I ever did
Another SN card I bought on COMC. 
The eggplant set, the borders always remind me of the color of eggplants. Unlike the vegetable, I have not tasted any of these cards.

Now that he's retired he doesn't get many new cards anymore, unfortunately. You can see my entire collection of him here: Jarome Iginla although like pretty much everyone in my collection, not all the cards I have collected are scanned yet. 

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Sad news: We've lost one of our fellow bloggers

 Last night I confirmed something I was afraid of, fellow blogger and friend Dawn of Now and Zen has passed away. 

In her last post she detailed her ALS diagnosis and it was not good...the last time I spoke with her she said that she didn't think she had much time left, and unfortunately that turned out to be true. 

I first met her back in 2016 on the Trading Card Database and we became friends on there, and eventually on Facebook. I know she was never on there a whole lot but it had been too long since I had interacted with her, and I did some investigating. It turns out she had passed away in September 2020. I didn't check sooner because it was not uncommon for her to go a few months without logging in, but it seemed like too long and I began to fear the worst. 

Besides cards (She was a big time Cubs fan) she also collected stamps and postcards. Some of my favorite stamps in my collection were a gift from her, in fact. 

I will miss her, she had a great sense of humor and a kind personality. 

My condolences to her wife and loved ones. 

On a personal note, she is the first blogging friend lost. While I was aware of Bob Lemke, I didn't actually know him, Dawn, I knew. So while I'm glad she's no longer suffering I'm very sad as well. 

Sunday, February 14, 2021

25 Years as an NBA fan

 25 years ago today, I became an NBA fan. My fandom would define my life for the next decade. More than one half of my card collection is NBA cards, despite the fact that I didn't collect them between 2007 and 2012. (and again in 2021 until ?, but for different reasons) 

It all started on Valentine's Day in 1996. My mom, who worked in my school, saw that none of my friends collected NASCAR or comic based cards, which I already did at that point for 8 years. Not wanting me to be left out, she got me a pack of 1995-96 Fleer Series 2. I loved the wild and wacky designs of that set, and later that night I found a basketball game on TV. It was the Knicks vs. the Hornets, and you can see the Game Log here if you so choose. It was a 20 point blowout, with the Knicks losing badly. It didn't matter...I was hooked. Basketball would then become a part of my daily life for the next 10 years. I would spend hours and hours sorting, resorting, looking at, etc. my cards. I watched as many games as I possibly could, for quite a while. 

After I lost my dad, 19 years ago last week, the only thing that brought me anything resembling happiness was getting cards. And I did...a lot of them. The vast majority of my collection was built from 2002 to 2006...I built up a collection of more than 72 thousand different cards. 

But then, things changed. I was no longer really enjoying the game, or the cards. In 2005 and 2006, I even let my paper listings lapse...which as you may recall from previous posts is the backbone of my collection. I've carted those listings as far afield as Indiana to Massachusetts. To not work on's unconscionable...yet I did. It stems from a lot of things. The collection file on Excel corrupting, which I've discussed before played a bigger role than I realized at the time. Mostly, it was my own depression and burnout that did me in. I don't know when exactly, but sometime between September 2006 and Christmas of that year, I decided I didn't want to collect the NBA anymore, so much so that I even made an "LP", for Last Pack, notation in my card listing, although I didn't list them in time to remember the date, so that is lost to history. The Second Era, aka NBA Era of my collecting journey had come to an end. 

I really thought I was done. I stopped collecting, I stopped watching- I don't think I saw a single minute of the 2007-08 season. 

I now regret that of course. 

I didn't touch my NBA cards again un 2011. And only then because I moved them to keep them from getting wet from a possible hurricane. 

But in 2011 I started to get back into it. I really enjoyed watching the Mavericks win the Championship, which I watched with Mom as her favorite player of all time, Jason Kidd, got his championship. I picked up a few cards for the first time in years, but I wasn't fully back into it. 

Then, in October 2012, I joined the Trading Card Database and discovered they provided stats for your collection. I pulled out my paper listing- relegated to my basement, the only time it's been out of my sight since I created it at Christmas 1998!- and entered my entire collection. It brought back a lot of memories, memories I hadn't thought about in so long. (Well, it seemed like so long, even if it was only 6 years) It brought back to me how much I enjoyed my listing. Then I discovered 44 card packs of Hoops at my local Target for about $5. That was it, all those things combined brought me back to the NBA. I was enjoying watching the game again, the 2012-13 season cards were great, and the NBA had soon regained it's top spot in my collection, which it held until 2017.   

It has changed again now. I am still an NBA fan...I always will be, to some extent...but hockey has overtaken the NBA for me. It's more fun to watch, it's more fun to listen to, (the NBA broadcasts rarely ever actually talk about the game when a national TV broadcast is involved. I've seen games where they spent the entire fourth quarter talking about nothing and not mentioning the teams playing even once). The current NBA cards are terrible. Panini did so well in 2012-13, but has steadily gotten worse ever year. I no longer enjoy the cards...and this time it's actually the cards, not just me being depressed. Now I basically only watch NBA if there is no hockey on, although I still try to watch the highlight show every night, and I still keep up with what's happening in the sport, but it's not #1 for me anymore. I am done collecting the NBA for now, because the hobby has gotten stupidly insane. A box of Hoops that is overpriced at $85 is now pre-selling for $450. 

I don't know what the future holds for me and the NBA. I have gone from a diehard fan to a casual fan, and I'm ok with that. Trying to be 100% into everything simply can't work. I would still like to collect, even if it's not my favorite anymore, but right now that's not really possible. I'd like to fill in the missing holes in the 1990s sets as well...the 1995-96 through 1997-98 sets specifically. But I am not sure how much effort I will put into it...out of sight, out of mind is a real possibility. I've got my collection down to just under 20 thousand cards still needing scans...which is a lot. But I've got 76,000 scanned already, pretty much all of which I've scanned since 2012. So, I do see "the light at the end of the tunnel", which is the break even point. Of course, lately I've been spending a lot more time scanning my hockey cards, I really should focus more on the NBA. I have more left than I could scan this year but since it is a big anniversary year I should refocus. I'm at the point I get to in any project where when I start to get near the end, I start getting antsy to bring it to completion and see the end result...which is bad in a project that still has a couple of years worth of work required to complete it. 

While each pack of 1995-96 Fleer 2 was 10 cards, 8 base cards, 1 subset and 1 insert, I only remember two cards- this was the first one.

#220, Sam Cassell, was the very first NBA card to enter my collection. 
Hakeem Olajuwon's card is the other one I remember. I wish I could remember what the first insert was...the first one I remember is actually from Hoops, which was likely the second NBA pack I ever opened. (Anfernee Hardaway Top 10)

I guess, if I ever want to get to the break even point, I should stop typing and get back to scanning...however, today is the Daytona 500, so I likely won't get a whole lot accomplished scanning wise today! Or tomorrow, since I actually wrote this post at 4:30 AM on Saturday and scheduled it...

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Spotlight On: P.K. Subban

 It's already the 9th and I have not published anything this month. I need to fix why not jump in on the celebration of Black people that is Black History Month and write up a quick post celebrating P.K. Subban? When I first began watching the sport, his Predators went all the way to the finals and he quickly became a favorite player of mine- easily in my Top 5 favorite players. 

Now he's playing locally and is my favorite player on the Devils. Hopefully the team can get healthy and we can see him back on the ice before too long. 

Here's a "clipshow" of  10 cards of him in my collection...not posting them all to leave myself room to expand with another installment next year. 

How often do you see a card of someone wearing a uniform for a team he's never played for? I can't think of ANY other cards! 
This was my first card of him
One of two Parallels of him in my collection
My only card from this set
Now we see him with Nashville, which is where he was when I started watching.
A fantastic card of him saluting his fans when he returned to Montreal for the first time after the trade.
The only other parallel of him I have scanned. The factory set blue was so cool that first year.
All Star!
I pulled this Wood parallel at Christmas 2019, it's not actually made of wood but just patterned to look like it.

I bought this card on COMC because it was a good photo and I wanted to get him in the Devils uniform into my collection as quickly as I could...back when COMC could be considered quick! I have 3 cards of him with the Devils still awaits a scan. I think I've shown this one before, but that's OK. It's holographic which doesn't exactly scan like it looks in hand, only his image is "normal". 

I'm also a fan of Malcolm and Jordan but I don't have enough cards of them combined to make a 10 card spotlight...hopefully someday.