Friday, June 28, 2013

A Peek At 2013 Sportkings Series F

Recently Dr. Price announced that In The Game, Inc. and Sport Kings will consolidate in to one brand under the ITG name, previously the two were run independently of each other which made things difficult.
To add to the announcement, Dr. Price went on to discuss some details for the upcoming Sportkings Series F release which is scheduled for an August 2013 release date. No major information has been announced, the Sport kings web site is seriously out of date, so the price and pack out details are still to be released but Price did talk about two new inserts as well as a short list of athletes who will be included in the set.
The first new artistic innovation is the Memorable Moments art cards. Artist Jared Kelley, a great guy and wonderful artist, will be painting 4 puzzle cards that can be put together to depict one of twenty different significant moments in sports. The four cards showing Brandi Chastain’s celebrations following the U.S. Women’s World Cup win in 1999 have been posted for preview. Some of the other moments will be Ali vs. Liston fight, Gehrig’s “Greatest Man” speech, Joe Namath after Super Bowl III and Bobby Orr’s flying goal.

The second new artistic innovation is the Body of Work sketch/patch card. There will be sixty athletes on the checklist and each athlete will have 9 different sketch cards. The card will have a small sketch of the athlete above a large patch. I think the cards would have looked better with a different design, maybe set the card horizontally and square off the relic. This would have given the artist 1/3 of the card to work with. If they insisted on using the portrait layout then maybe making it a booklet card with the patch on one side and the sketch on the other side.

Other athletes on the various checklists include, in addition to the athletes already previewed, but not limited to; Shaq, Bill Parcells, Tito Ortiz, Scottie Pippen, Fernando Valenzuela, Kerri Strugg, Frank Gifford, Cal Ripken Jr., Wilt Chamberlin, Bruce Jenner, George Mikan, Bart Starr, Arthur Ashe, Willie Shoemaker and Roberto Clemente.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

A 1919 World Series Ring For Auction

I came across a story recently and it drew my interest due to the connection with the 1919 World Series. Following the 1919 World Series the Cincinnati Reds players were awarded World Series pins, as was the tradition of the era. The manager, Pat Moran, requested and was given a ring instead of a pin.
Leland’s Auction House has just posted Moran’s ring for auction with a starting bid of $25,000. The auction ends torrow, June 28th ,and currently sits at $33,275 with 4 bids. In a 2011 auction Cincinnati Reds First Baseman Jake Daubert’s 1919 World Series pin sold $82,250. Considering that this is a one of a kind item, the connected historical value and that the origination can be tracked, what could a ring like this be worth?

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

It Is Now All Over For Aaron Hernandez

Aaron Hernandez was arrested today, not for obstruction of justice as originally stated but for First Degree Murder in the execution style murder of his friend Odin Lloyd. Police were able to piece together the clues and tie him directly to Lloyd’s death.
At 2:30 am, Monday June 17th, Hernandez and Lloyd were seen leaving Lloyd’s house in a silver Nissan Altima. At 3:22 am the security cameras in the industrial park where Lloyd’s body was found showed the Nissan Altima entering the area. Overnight workers heard multiple gunshots between 3:23 am and 3:27 am. Minutes later Hernandez’s home security, which the police were able to repair, shows Hernandez entering his home with a gun in his hand. Besides the gun not being found it seems like a pretty straight forward case against him.
The Patriots cut Hernandez immediately after it was announced that he was arrested for murder, he was ordered held without bail. Of course the eBay Toads have begun to jump on his notoriety and there are roughly 75 new postings and I would expect more as the news spreads.
A completely senseless crime.

In an unrelated story, that is just as bad for the NFL, Cleveland Browns rookie Ausar Walcott was arrested today and charged with Attempted First Degree Murder, Second Degree Aggravated Assault and Third Degree Endangering An Injured Victim after attacking a man outside a bar in New jersey Sunday night.

6/27 UPDATE-
 To add to the devistation that has become Aaron Hernandez's world, the police are now working to link a double homicide from July 2012 to Hernandez. A silver SUV that Hernandez was renting at the time is linked to the scene of the double murder in Boston. No other additional information about the connection has been released but considering his current circumstances I would not rule out anything.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Origination Of Relics- Animal Style

In the mid-90s the world of sports cards began to change; printing presses were being slowed down, high energy and wild designs were being tamed and fringe card companies were either shuttering or being bought out by the bigger companies. Companies were also looking to go outside the box, something more was needed to grab the attention of potential customers.
Believe it or not the most profound change came from two companies producing NASCAR cards, Wheels Racing and Press Pass, when they introduced collectors to the memorabilia card in 1996. Little did they realize they would ignite a revolution. A year later Upper Deck became the first major card company to jump on board the memorabilia train when they inserted three limited edition jersey relic cards in their 1997 Upper Deck baseball release, Ken Griffey Jr., Tony Gwynn and Rey Ordonez were the first baseball players included on a relic card insert checklist.
But before there was jersey swatches and bat relics there were fire suits and wheel rubber swatches. Wheels Racing even went further outside of the box when they used animal skins, which did not go over well with animal lovers. They only made three different inserts in 1996 and 1997 before they ended the experiment. I have finally gotten my hand on the third insert to complete my set.
In 1996 Wheels Racing released the Diamondback Authentic insert. There were actually two versions; one showed each driver with a fabricated skin the other showed the driver with real Western Diamondback skin. Cards were a horizontal landscape card; I actually like the card design better than the 1997 versions. They used a Western Diamondback relic, with the racer to one side and the skin to the other side. The card is foiled and in the background in an image of a race car. The back includes a snake related description and at the bottom right corner was a printed #/749, mine is #541/749.

In 1997 Wheels went beyond the Diamondback cards. They still had the Diamondback Authentic series but the cards were now horizontal with the driver above the rattler’s scales. The background is a high energy, colorful etched foil board. For some reason these cards were not serial numbered.
 The next animal used in 1997 was the American Alligator. Like the Diamondback cards there were two Gatorback versions, a real skin and a fabricated skin. The design uses the horizontal design similar to the Diamondback 1996 layout with the driver on one side and the gator skin on the other. The cards were foiled and the background looked like gator skin, there were cards made using back scales and stomach skin, mine is a stomach skin version so it is smoother. The back of the card had a swamp related message and hand written serial numbers, mine is #121/450.
The final animal used was the Great White Shark. The cards are horizontal, foil and have a water theme. There is only one version of these cards; they all have a real shark tooth. The tooth is embedded in the surface; you can actually touch the tooth. I have seen white teeth and dark colored teeth, mine is a white tooth. The back of the card includes a water related message and the serial number is both hand written and printed. My card is #190/500. This Sterling Martin card was the final addition to my animal set.

Wheels Racing continued to release sets for another decade before finally being taken over by Press Pass a couple of years ago but they were done using animal relics for their cards. They did continue to use animal names for some inserts but went with what has become the traditional inserts in racing sets like fire suits, race wheel rubber, sheet metal, flags, etc.
If you are interested in picking up either a real Diamondback or Gatorback cards make sure that the checklist number has correct numbering with the “A” added. The added “A” stands for “Authentic”, which was the designation for the real skin. Some sellers have posted the cards as “Diamondback Authentic” or “Gatorback Authentic”, because that is the sets name, but they do not state that the card has the fabricated skin. These cards are also prone to chipping because of the foil board fronts.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Congratulations To The Chicago Blackhawks, The 2013 NHL Stanley Cup Champions

What a game in Boston tonight, Chicago comes in up 3-2 in the Stanley Cup Finals and it could have gone either way. The score was tied 1-1 at the beginning of the 3rd Period before Boston’s Mila Lucic puts the Bruins ahead with 8 minutes left. Less than 1:30 left in the game and it appeared that the series would go 7 games before Chicago’s Bryan Bickell ties up the score with 1:16 left in the game. But Chicago was not done, 17 seconds later Chicago’s Dave Bolland puts in another goal with just 58 seconds remaining putting the game in hand and earning Chicago the win and the Stanley Cup.
This is Chicago’s second Stanley Cup win in 4 years and with most of the pivotal players under 30 years old, only Hossa (34), Sharp (31), Odya (31) and Rozsival (34) are over, the Blackhawks have the pieces in place to make additional runs at the trophy.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

A Difficult Situation In New England Gets Worse

You have to wonder what are the Patriots going to do for a Tight End next season?
First party boy Rob Gronkowski leaves the team wondering what his future holds after four surgeries on his left arm, not to mention the following infection, and then on Tuesday he had surgery to repair a herniated disc in his back, which he had previously surgically repaired while he was playing for the University of Arizona (Bear Down!). Depending on his rehab he may be out for a portion of the season.
Now it appears that Aaron Hernandez, who is also recovering from shoulder surgery earlier this year, may be in for a double legal battle that if it turns south could end his career with possible prison time.
First a lawsuit has been re-filed against Hernandez related to a shooting in Miami this past February. The victim, Alexander Bradley who apparently knows Hernandez, claimed that he was shot after a confrontation with Hernandez. Bradley’s face had to be reconstructed and he lost an eye due to the shooting.
Now an arrest warrant for obstruction of justice has been issued, but not served yet, for Hernandez after a friend of his, Odin Lloyd, was found shot (execution style) less than a mile away from Hernandez’s house on Monday night. The police have him listed under suspicion but not as a suspect yet. The warrant is connected to his impromptu destruction of his security system and phone. When police requested to view the security footage from this weekend they found that the entire security system and recording device had all been intentionally destroyed. When they asked him to turn over his phone his lawyer handed the cops a baggie with the phone broken in to tiny pieces.
What could make things worse? An SUV leased to Hernandez was found parked at the crime scene and then Hernandez hired a cleaning crew to scrub his entire mansion clean on Monday.


I am not making any accusations here but things do not look very good for him or the Patriots and not to make light of a horrible situation but maybe the team can talk Tim Tebow in to taking over the Tight End position.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

All Hail The Miami Heat, The 2013 NBA Champions

We have now seen the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals three years in a row, winning the last two. Are we looking at a dynasty here?

You have to admit, with the core "Big 3" of LeBron, Wade and Bosh all signed through next season the team has a solid chance of returning to the Finals at least one more year. Mario Chalmers (team option buyout), Ray Allen (player option) and Chris Anderson's (unsigned) contracts will have to be worked out when free agency begins at the end of the month but otherwise things are good for Miami through 2014.

One thing that caught me strange though was the one kid sitting a couple rows up at the Spurs end of the court who was wearing a Golden State Warriors jersey. The kid stood out in a sea of white shirts in Miami. Who would pay to go to a Game 7 of the NBA Finals in Miami and wear a Warriors jersey?

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Upper Deck Is Bringing The Masters To 2013 Goodwin Champions

Upper Deck is finishing up the final touches for the release of 2013 Goodwin Champions next month and as pieces are coming together they are posting up preview images. One of the hits in the release will be the hand painted “Art of the Ages” cards, a modern artist’s rendition of works from the masters like Leonardo Da Vinci, Vincent Van Gogh and Claude Monet on a 2 ½ x 3 ½ card sized canvas.
I minored in Fine Art while earning my Graphic Design degree and this is now one of my favorite Upper Deck inserts, I am glad that they decided to take a step away from the norm and go with something unexpected.
There will be around 300 “Art Of The Ages” cards, each a one of one card. A checklist has not been released so I do not know who the participating artists are or which masterpieces will be included.  With Vincent van Gogh’s “Self Portrait With A Straw Hat” being included in the preview images I am hoping to see at least one of his three “Nights” paintings, I am also hoping to see Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” and anything from Umberto Boccioni during his Futurism period.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A Quick Panini Golden Age Update

Now that 2013 Panini Golden Age Baseball is down to only a week until it is released Panini is still making some announcements of what to expect when the product is released June 26th.  So far we found out that Evel Knievel is in the set, Hell yea! In the past two weeks we found out that Fonzi, Bo Derek and the Bad News Bears will have their autographs included and today we now know that there will be a John Belushi relic on the checklist, this will be Belushi's first relic ever. Additionally, following in the footsteps of last year’s release there will be a relic from another disaster, the 1937 Hindenburg disaster. Last year there was the Titanic relic.

A quick update to previous posts, the base cards for the Bad News Bears have been previewed now. Initially I thought the cards were to be silver or red, they will actually be tan colored like the other base and mini cards, only the autograph cards will be red. Other names from the unannounced checklist include a couple of Little Rascals, Red Grange, Bigfoot, Wyatt Earp, Bob Denver, Stan Lee, Dale Murphy and Gene Tunney.


Monday, June 17, 2013

Wacky Package All-New Series 10 Autographs

In March I wrote up a post about the Wacky package All-New Series 10 release, one of the new additions that peeked my interest were the Commercial Star Autographs. These inserts had an original Wacky Package image on one side with the autograph of the actor who were in the commercials for the items. Some of the cards were Lifer Cereal autographed by John Gilchrist, who played Mikey in the Life Cereal commercials, and Coca Cobra autographed by Matt Frewer, who played Max headroom in the Coke commercials (and Max Headroom Show).
The cards have been out for a while now and prices have seemed to increase since the release, surprisingly, but I picked up a couple of Wacky Package cards and one of them was this All Turtle Snapper card signed by Wendy Kaufman, who played the Snapple Lady who answered viewer’s letters in the Snapple commercials. I paid a whole $1.78 for the card plus $1.95 shipping. The front of the card is the bottle on a flat black background and the back of the card (I am not really sure which is the front and which is the back) is a glossy image of Wendy Kaufman with the sticker autograph. I think these are a fun idea; they really grab the attention of people who grew up in the 1970s and 80s.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Vintage Card Of The Month: 1993 Ted Williams Buck Leonard

I have been slacking a bit with my Vintage Card of the Month serial; my last post was in February. Let’s kick start things with a vintage superstar.  The card is from the 1993 Ted Williams release, so not a vintage card, but Buck Leonard is a vintage player so I am going to include it.
Buck Leonard spent 16 years with the Homestead Grays (1934-50), the powerhouse team of the Negro Leagues. Between 1912 and 1950 the team won 11 League Titles and 3 Negro World Series Titles. There are 12 players from the Grays that have been elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame including Buck Leonard. When he retired in 1950 he had a .320 batting average, 60 home runs and drove in 275 RBIs. After retiring from the Negro Leagues he played 3 years in Mexico and even played part of the 1953 season in the Minor Leagues with the Portsmouth Merrimacs, a Class B team, when he was 45 years old.
Later in life Leonard became a pretty regular signer, his Hall of Fame postcard and the 1993 Ted Williams are easily found signed and prices are usually in the $10-15 range, I paid around $12 shipped a couple of years ago. Currently there are around 400 Leonard autographs on eBay, significantly more than Gray’s teammates Cool Papa Bell, Josh Gibson and Judy Johnson.
The card may not be vintage but his career began pre-war so I will include it. Buck Leonard was a class act, most teammates talked highly of him calling him respectable, even-tempered and professional, he was courteous and very dependable.  Could you imagine if he had been signed by the Yankees to take over for Gehrig when he retired in 1939? The Yankees won 5 titles between 1940-1950, they probably would have won a couple more with Leonard at First Base.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Bad News Bears Are Coming To Cardboard

Another announcement from Panini today regarding 2013 Golden Age Baseball, they will be including 6 players from The Bad News Bears movies; Amanda (Tatum O’Neal), Kelly (Jackie Earle Haley), Ahmad Abdul Rahim (Erin Blunt), Engelberg (Gary Lee Cavagnaro), Rudi (David Pollock) and Toby (David Stambaugh). Sorry, no Ogilvie, Tanner Boyle or Timmy Lupus in the set, maybe next season. It would also be cool if Panini added a Walter Matthau cut signature too.
Almost 4 years ago I actually did a tribute to Jackie Earle Haley and one of the custom cards that I made was a Kelly Leak card using the 1976 Topps Baseball design. The other three cards were Dukes from Semi-Pro (actually decided to make the Haley tribute after making a Semi-Pro set), Rorschach from Watchmen and Freddy Kruger from Nightmare on Elm Street. Here are the links if you want to take a look at the other cards: Three card Haley tribute and the Freddy Kruger tribute.
The six players will have a silver base card, an autograph and a red mini card. There is also a Kelly Leak Tip Top card but I am not sure if all 6 players are included in that insert checklist.
This is the second time within a week that Panini has made an announcement regarding the autograph checklist in the upcoming Golden Age Baseball release that is relating to the 1970s. It is like fond memories from my childhood.
The autograph cards are similar to the other autographs in the set, a red card design and an on-card autograph. The only difference is the inclusion of the Bad News Bears logo on the top left corner, which is a nice addition. The backs give information about the character from the movie.

I have no information regarding the Tip Top cards; only the Kelly Leak card was shown but the card is marked as Card No. 9 so I would assume there are at least 8 other cards in the set.

The base cards (and minis) are what bother me about this release. The images on all of the cards are lower quality and blurred, what surprised me is that these images were actually supplied to Panini by Paramount. So to their support, Panini worked with what they had.
But, what I do not like is that the images were edited poorly, not sure if this was Panini or Paramount, but then Panini designers used a filter, which appears to be a Dry Brush filter, and to add to the dismay the designer then used the Outer Glow style and cranked up the noise and size, this is what causes the “pixilation” appear to be radiating off of the player. The card backs include information about the character as well as some follow up history for the actor.

I found it interesting that the mini parallels are actually a different color form the base cards, Panini switched the dark red background for a bright red background and border. I can handle the bright red background but the border is too much for me.