Sunday, February 26, 2017

Lights, Camera, Box Breaks!

I'm one of those guys who loves watching movies... but doesn't enjoy watching The Oscars.  Sure... I'll look to see who won some of the major categories in the morning.  But that's only because all of my friends will be discussing it tomorrow at lunch and I don't want to be completely oblivious.

Nope.  While millions of people are laughing at Jimmy Kimmel's jokes, playing drinking games, and finding out whether or not Denzel Washington takes home his third Oscar... I'll be sleeping.  Yup.  Sleeping.

I've been sick the past few days with a head cold... and tomorrow I'm back in the classroom, so I need to get as much rest as I can.

However... before I hit the sack, here's a quick recap of some 2011 Panini Americana blasters I broke over the weekend.

I picked up ten of these blasters off of Dave and Adam's during their Black Friday sale for $55.  Each blaster contained 8 packs (5 cards per pack) with one guaranteed relic card per box.

With only 100 cards on the checklist, I figured I would be able to make at least one... possibly two hand collated sets.

2011 Panini Americana #12

Unfortunately... I came up one card short.  Anyone out there have an extra Gloria Stuart laying around?  I have plenty of doubles, triples, and quadruples to trade.

Don't worry Panini.  It's not like I purchased these boxes for the base cards.  I was mainly interested in pulling a James Dean or Marilyn Monroe relic.  Let's see how I fared...

Relic #1:  She Done Him Wrong  (1933)

I kicked things off with a movie I had never heard of before.  At least I recognized both of the stars featured on this card and it looks like this movie was nominated for an Academy Award for Outstanding Production (Best Picture) back in 1934.

Relic #2:  The Towering Inferno  (1974)

I watched this movie years ago, but never realized it won 3 Academy Awards (Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, and Best Original Song) back in 1975. I just remember that there were a lot of famous people in the film.  

Relic #3:  A Streetcar Named Desire  (1951)

I've heard of this film, but have never seen it.  According to Wikipedia, it won four Academy Awards (Best Actress, Best Screenplay Writing, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Supporting Actress), so maybe I should give it a shot.

Vivien Leigh took home an Academy Award for Best Actress for this movie... and for another film you may have heard of... Gone with the Wind.

Relic #4:  National Velvet  (1944)

Okay.  I'm starting to realize that most of these relics involve movies that premiered way before I was born.

Never heard of this movie... but I have heard of Elizabeth Taylor.  She's the woman that stole Carrie Fisher's father away from her mom.  Oh... and she won a pair of Academy Awards for Best Actress too.

Relic #5:  Rebel Without A Cause (1955)

I'm a huge fan of movie posters and this one is pretty awesome.  Plus... it's my first chance at pulling a James Dean relic.  Let's see if I do...

Aww shucks.  Oh well... at least Natalie Wood is a nice consolation prize.  She was nominated for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for this movie.

Relic #6:  A Streetcar Named Desire  (1951)

Duplicate.  See Relic #3

Relic #7:  Mezzogiorno Di Fuoco (High Noon) (1952)

I'm a big fan of westerns.  Heck... Wyatt Earp, Young Guns, and Tombstone would all fall within my top 200 movies of all-time.  But surprise, surprise... I've never heard of Mezzogiorno Di Fuoco.  Grace Kelly?  Yes.  Who hasn't heard of Princess Grace?  Gary Cooper?  Hell yeah!  Pride of the Yankees is one of my favorite sports films of all-time.  But sorry High Noon fans.  This film just wasn't on my radar.

However now that I know that it took home 4 Academy Awards in 1953, I'm excited to check it out.

Relic #8:  The Caddy  (1953)

Yeehaw!  A sports film!  Wait.  Haven't heard of this movie either.  Was this the prequel to Caddyshack?  With Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis starring, it's safe to assume that this is a comedy.  And it looks like some of the biggest names in golf made cameos.

Relic #9:  Rebel Without A Cause  (1955)

Another shot at a Dean relic... and another miss.  Oh well.  At least this is a dual this time.  This time Wood is paired up with Sal Mineo, who was nominated for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for this film.

Relic #10:  Piper Laurie

Laurie was nominated for Best Actress in a Leading Role (The Hustler) and nominated for Best Actress in a Supporting Role twice (Carrie and Children of a Lesser God).  But like most of the movies featured in this post... I hadn't heard of her.

Which means that the Cardboard Gods made sure to load me up with her cardboard.  I pulled both of her insert cards:

Wrapping up these blaster boxes were these two numbered parallels:

The Noth will go into my Prime Numbers PC, while the Ventimiglia will go into my ever-growing box of non-sports inserts/parallels.

I didn't pull a Dean or Monroe memorabilia card... and you can pick up these blasters for $10 less now... but overall... I'm happy with this box break.

Now it's time to rest and recuperate.  In the meantime, maybe you can help me out.  Outside of The Towering Inferno, I haven't seen any of these films featured on these relics.  

Which of these films would you recommend to others?

Enjoy The Oscars!  Happy Sunday and sayonara!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Diamond Are Forever

In 2011, Topps celebrated 60 years of making baseball cards by hosting a huge Diamond Giveaway Promotion that involved collectors pulling code cards out of packs, redeeming them online, and collecting/trading virtual cards with other collectors.  At least... that's what I took from reading this article at the Cardboard Connection:  Topps Diamond Giveaway Goes Live.

I wish I could share my personal experience from this program, but the problem is... I rarely bust any new products.  I'm sure I've opened a few packs of 2011 Topps baseball, but it most likely after this program had expired.

However... I do remember all of the hype surrounding the 2011 Topps Black Diamond Diecuts which were serial numbered to 60.  They were very popular and prices were so outrageous that I didn't bother trying to obtain singles for my collection.

Fast forward six years to a few weeks ago.  That's when Jason over at Clyde's Stale Cards reached out to me and asked me if I was interested in the Tony Gwynn from this set.  After a few emails... it finally arrived in all of its glory:

2011 Topps Black Diamond Diecut #DDC75 (#'d 58/60)

This is one of those cards that doesn't scan very well.  At least not on my scanner.  You truly cannot appreciate this card's beauty unless you're holding it in your hands.  This card is thick, shiny, beautiful, and fairly scarce depending on your point of view.

Historically prices of diamonds have held their value over the years, so I'm very excited to finally get my hands on this card.  Although this card's value doesn't really matter to me... because like Shirley Bassey says... diamonds are forever... which means this card will be part of my collection for the long run.

In addition to this sweet addition to my Tony Gwynn PC... Jason also generously sent me these three unopened packs:

I've never seen these before, but they're 2012 and 2013 Bandai Owner's League packs.  Normally, I'd tear into these... but I decided to keep them sealed and add them to my Japanese Baseball Card Pack Collection.

Thank you so much Jason for these awesome additions to my collection!  You never responded back with your Paypal account, so I went out and picked up a few nice cards for your Matt Williams collection.

Happy Saturday and sayonara!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

White Wizzard

Sorry Tolkien fans, this isn't a post about Gandalf and his congregation of hobbits.  I'm a big fan of the blockbuster movie trilogy.  However today's post is about a "white whale" of Ozzie Smith that I've been trying to add to my collection for quite a while now.

Feast your eyes on one of The Wizard's earliest cards:

1978 Padres Family Fun Centers #1

Offered as some kind of promotional giveaway, this wood bordered beauty features Ozzie in a posed action shot while sporting the iconic brown and gold Padres uniforms that many of us San Diego fans fancy.

On the back there's a portrait shot of Smith with those famous lamb chops that also appear on his official Topps rookie card and his 1979 Hostess card.

There's also a nice story about him winning the MVP award playing for Team USA back in 1976.  And if you look closely under his LIFETIME RECORD, you'll notice a lack of career statistics, because 1978 was his FIRST YEAR IN MAJORS.  I think this is a nice bonus to go along with the facsimile signature I've never seen Smith use before.

With that being said... this card isn't without flaws.  The postcard size and low quality card stock create storage and preservation concerns.

But let's keep it real...

What card would you actually classify as being perfect?

I'm just excited that I finally managed to catch this "white whale" after years and years of hunting.  Seriously... it's not very often you're able to take down a White Wizzard.

Happy Thursday and sayonara!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Taped Cardboard & Mix Tapes

Back in January, Gavin over at Baseball Card Breakdown featured ten albums he was into during his teenage years and paired them up with baseball cards.  Since then a few bloggers kept the ball rolling, so I figured I'd join in on the fun.

However I'm going to tweak things a little and target music singles, since I was the kid obsessed with making mix tapes instead of listening to entire albums.

Today I'm gonna feature songs from 1985 to 1987, otherwise known as My Awkward Years.

While the cool kids were break dancing, skateboarding, playing sports, and chasing girls... I was playing video games and collecting baseball cards.

Honestly... it's a good thing I grew up and hung out with those "cool" kids... otherwise I might have been featured on one of those ABC Afternoon Specials.  But that's another story for another day.  

Let's listen to some music and show off some cardboard...

Tears for Fears:  Shout  (1985)

Whenever I play 80's music for my students, I always include at least one song from the Songs from the Big Chair album.

1972 Topps #323 and #33

I decided to go with Shout, because it made me think of Earl Weaver and Billy Martin.  Both of these guys were known for their entertaining tirades and are two of my favorite managers of all-time.

Bryan Adams:  Summer of '69  (1985)

Bryan Adams had a lot of big hits in the 80's.  After looking over the list of songs on Reckless, Summer of '69 stood out because baseball and summer go hand in hand.

1969 Topps #440

I wasn't around back in 1969, but thanks to the internet I discovered that Willie McCovey won the MLB All-Star Game MVP Award and launched the 300th home run of his career back in the summer of 1969.  To top it off... he took home the NL MVP Award at the end of the season.

Peter Cetera:  Glory of Love (1986)

Glory of Love was Peter Cetera's first solo hit after leaving the band that I grew up listening to in the 70's and early 80's.  I don't hear this song very often anymore, but when I do Cetera isn't the first thing that comes to mind.  It's Tamlyn Tomita:

2010 Rittenhouse Heroes #NNO

This song was featured in Karate Kid II and Tamlyn played Daniel-san's Okinawan girlfriend... Kumiko.  She was my childhood crush back then... and my celebrity crush right now.

Beastie Boys:  No Sleep Till Brooklyn (1986)

No Sleep Till Brooklyn is a classic.  And I can't listen to this song without thinking of the Dodgers and my 1956 Topps Jackie Robinson:

1956 Topps #30

It seems perfect to post my favorite card and my favorite group together.

Bruce Hornsby and the Range:  The Way It Is  (1987)

Both of my brothers influenced my taste in music as a kid.  They're the main reason I'm such a huge fan of 70's rock.

They also opened my eyes to artists like Bruce Hornsby.  This song's title instantly made me think about collecting cards before the invention of top loaders and penny sleeves.

1971 Topps #525

Some of you were around back then, right?  Remember when we would shove our cards in our bike spokes, or draw on them?  Maybe some of you flipped them against walls, or used tape to stick them to your bedroom walls.  That's just the way it was.

The Cure:  Just Like Heaven  (1987)

Back in 1987 or 1988, I went to see The Cure at the Oakland Coliseum.  I'm pretty sure it was the first concert I ever attended.  At the time, I barely knew their music.  But one of my neighbors was a huge fan and invited me to come along.  I'm glad I did... because thirty years later, I'm still a fan.

2015 Museum Collection Archival Autographs #AA-RCR

You can't play Just Like Heaven without featuring an California Angels card.  I had hope to show off my 1972 Topps Billy Cowan card, but it's tucked away in my 1972 Topps set, which I currently don't have access to.

That's okay... I love my Rod Carew autograph too.

Well that's it for today.  I'll try my best to post more cards and music from the second half of my teen years (1988 to 1991) on Thursday.

Happy Tuesday and sayonara!