Saturday, July 4, 2015

Saturday Night Five: Proud to be an American

Two hundred thirty-nine years ago, the United States formally declared their independence from Great Britain and that's why we celebrate the 4th of July each year with baseball, barbecues, and fireworks.

Unfortunately, I messed up my back, so I won't be attending any games, watching any fireworks, and probably won't be barbecuing.

However... I do want to celebrate this special occasion, so I figured I'd show off some of my favorite Team USA collectibles.

#1:  2010 Marvel Heroes and Villians Sketch Card #NNO Captain America

Team USA:  1941 to Present

Is there anything out there more patriotic than Captain America?  I'm a huge fan of sketch cards and I immediately jumped at the chance to purchase this one of a kind masterpiece on COMC for $12.25.

#2:  2008 Donruss Americana Sports Legends Memorabilia #23 Bruce Jenner

Team USA:  1976 Olympics

Bruce.  Caitlyn.  1976 Olympic gold medalist.

#3:  1985 Topps #401 Mark McGwire

Team USA:  1984

It's hard to believe that collectors have been pulling this iconic rookie card out of packs for the past three decades.  Three decades.  Time sure flies by.

#4:  2003-04 Fleer Avant Stars and Stripes Jersey #TD Tim Duncan

Team USA:  2004 Olympics

I've always admired Tim Duncan and the way he approached the game.  In a sport that is defined by showboating and flashiness... he's humbly won five NBA titles, three NBA Finals MVP Awards, two NBA MVP Awards, an NBA All-Star Game MVP Award, and just about every other award imaginable.  Unfortunately a knee injury kept him from winning a gold medal with Team USA in 2000, but he did help the United States win a bronze in 2004.

#5:  Mike Eruzione Autographed Puck

Team USA:  1980 Olympics

The United States shocked the world in 1980 by beating the Soviet Union... and the event instantly became one of the greatest team sports moments in U.S. Olympic history.  Two days later, they would bring home the gold with a win against Finland.

Honorable Mention #1:  2004 Upper Deck USA Baseball Autograph #MAU Joe Mauer

Team USA:  2013 World Baseball Classic

Honorable Mention #2:  2012 Goodwin Champions Memorabilia #BL Brian Leetch

Team USA:  1988, 1998, and 2002 Olympics

Honorable Mention #3:  2013 Goodwin Champions Autograph #EW Eric Wynalda

Team USA:  1990, 1994, and 1998 World Cup

Honorable Mention #4:  Brandi Chastain Autographed Soccer Ball (Steiner COA)

Team USA:  1991 and 1999 World Cup

Honorable Mention #5:  2009 Upper Deck USA Winning Materials #29 Sonny Gray

Team USA:  2009-2010

Happy Birthday America!

Back in 2010, the year I started this blog, I wrote a similar post where I listed some cardboard featuring good old... red, white, and blue.  If you're interested in seeing what I posted back then, click here.

Happy 4th of July everyone!  Stay safe and enjoy your holiday weekend.  Happy Saturday and sayonara!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Flea Market Finds #86: Bobbles and Autos

When:  Sunday, June 21st
Where:  Capitol Flea Market
What:  Bobble Heads and Autographs
How Much?:  $19

Holidays and flea markets don't mix.  Vendors stay home with families... and that typically means less people walking around too.  Father's Day was no exception.  But that wasn't going to stop me from getting my daily steps.

Compared to the average Sunday, Capitol was probably missing 35 to 45% of their regular vendors.  However there were plenty of bargains to be found.  In fact, I found more stuff that day in the three previous trips combined.

Unfortunately... sports cards weren't part of the equation.  But I was definitely happy with my purchases.

Purchase #1:  Forever Super Bowl XXXVI Bobble Head $5

I recently cleared off one of the shelves on a bookcase in my office and started filling it with random bobble heads.  This one caught my attention, so I picked it up.  It's a little chipped, but nothing a little touchup paint can't fix and it looks great next to my broken Klay Thompson bobble.

Purchase #2:  Joe Thornton Autographed Puck $5

Each year, the Sharks Foundation holds several "mystery puck" fundraisers, where they sell blind bags containing a random puck signed by a San Jose Sharks player.  They are sold for $20 each at specific games during the holiday season and usually have a holiday theme.  Each player signs the same number of pucks.  I've actually considered purchasing them in the past, but since the odds of pulling a big name are slim... I always pass.

However I met a guy who had six or seven different pucks, feature a variety of years and holidays who wanted $5 per puck or 3 for $10.  Joe Thornton was the only big name, so I decided to pass on the bulk deal.

Purchase #3:  Autographed Tim Brown 8x10 Photo $1

If this photograph were a sports card, it'd probably be graded a PSA 3.  There are a couple of indentations and the autograph is kinda faded... but for a buck, I figured it was worth it.

Purchase #4:  Funko Pop Vinyl Batman $3

Funko Pop Vinyls are this generation's version of beanie babies.  I see them everywhere:  toy shows, toy stores, Target, Walmart, in classrooms, and now at the flea market.  This one has a damaged box, so the guy sold it to me for $3.  It'll make a nice addition to my classroom.

Purchase #5:  Landon Donovan Bobble Head $5

As I've slowly lost interest in the NBA, I've started watching other sports like mixed martial arts and soccer.  Landon Donovan is one of the greatest players in our country's history and although I wasn't watching soccer when he played for the Earthquakes... I'm still happy to add this to my San Jose shelf in the office.

2009 Calbee

Speaking of soccer... my heart goes out to Laura Bassett and her fellow Lionesses.  I was totally cheering for Nadeshiko Japan, but that was the worst possible way to watch them win.  I'll definitely be cheering for England when they face Germany on Saturday.  As for the big game on Sunday, I really hope it's an exciting game like in 2011.

I'd love to see Team USA bounce back from their epic loss at the last World Cup, but at the same time, I'd like it to be a close game.  If USA turns this game into a blowout, I might end up flipping sides and pulling for the underdog.

Anyone else out there soccer fans?  Any of you following the Women's World Cup?

Happy Saturday and sayonara!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Blog Bat Around: Once Upon A Time

There's nothing like a timely Blog Bat Around.  More often than not, I'm digging and sifting through scans in hopes of coming up with something to write about.  I mean... there's only a finite number of flea markets I can attend while maintaining my summer job.

But Blog Bat Arounds save the day.  I mean seriously... why don't we do these more often?  Now for those of you who may not be familiar with one of these, it's actually pretty simple.  A blogger posts a question and other bloggers write responses on their blogs.

They're a lot of fun, because you get to see different perspectives around our blogosphere.  Last Friday, GCRL posed the question...

What cards have you owned that you regret are no longer in your collection?

You can read his response... HERE.  Wanna read Spastik's?  Click... HERE.  Night Owl's?  Right HERE.

As for mine... it ended up being a little more difficult than I thought, because I don't usually sell or trade any of the cards I consider to be PC.  Except for back in 2002... when I sold off the bulk of my collection.

The problem?  I kept most... if not all... of the cards that had sentimental value to me, like my 1983 Topps Tony Gwynn or my 1975 Topps Mini Robin Yount.  And the ones that I didn't keep, I have acquired since I re-entered the hobby back in 2008.

Then it hit me.  Once upon a time... way before I dove head first into the hobby... my aunty from Hawaii took me to store that had a small display of sports cards.  She told me to pick out any card that I wanted, but I didn't recognize any of the players.  That's because they were all guys from the 50's and earlier.

She asked the owner if he had a suggestion and he mentioned the 1952 Topps Andy Pafko.  He explained the significance behind the 1952 Topps baseball card set and taught us about how the first and last cards were often damaged by rubber bands.  The car salesman... I mean card salesmen did his job and the Pafko had a new owner.

A few years down the road, I ended up trading it to a dealer at a card show for... wait for it... a 1987 Fleer factory tin set and a bunch of 1986 and 1987 rookie cards that included guys like Wally Joyner, Will Clark, and Jose Canseco.

I actually think my mind blocked out that trade, because it took me a few minutes to remember my Pafko.  I can't remember how much it went for back in the late 80's, but it was one of the most valuable cards in my collection back then.  At one point, I remember seeing it for over $100 in Beckett.  In the early 90's, it soared even higher than that.

Over the years, it seems to have held its value.  Low grade copies like the PSA 1 shown above sell for around $100.  I know my copy wasn't perfect, but I'm pretty sure it would have graded higher than that.

One day, I'll pick up another copy if it's available at the right price.  At the moment, there are way too many cards that are higher on my wantlist.  However... if and when I finally grab another Pafko... part of the credit will go to GCRL for motivating me to remember this long lost card.

Happy Tuesday and sayonara!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Historical, Yet Controversial

When I started this blog in 2010, I had no idea whether or not people would read my blog.  Five years later, it feels good knowing that there are people out there who regularly read and comment on my posts.

But regardless if I had one follower or two hundred followers... the bottom line is that this blog serves as a journal which documents everything from my childhood stories to latest sports card purchases.  And every once in a while something historical comes along that's not necessarily sports card related, but it's so important to our country's history that it needs to be remembered and documented.

This is one of those posts.  On Friday, while preparing my group of fifth graders for their field trip to see Disney's Inside Out... my friend came into my classroom and told me about the Supreme Court's landmark ruling regarding same-sex marriage.

Twenty-something years ago, I might have frowned on this decision.  Growing up, I didn't know anyone who was homosexual.  And whether it was the national media, the people I hung out with, my personal prejudices (ignorance), or a combination of all of those things... I had no desire to hang out with a guy who was attracted to other men.

Luckily I was fortunate enough to cross paths and eventually befriend a fair share of gay and lesbian people.  There have been co-workers, friends, students, and even family members who have come out with their sexuality.


And thankfully... I have matured and realized that we're all human beings and when it comes to choosing my friends, their character is much more important than their sexual preference.

Now... I'm not telling you... or even asking you to share my beliefs.  I have friends who don't agree with same-sex marriage based on their religious or personal beliefs... and I completely respect that.  I just hope that this historical event makes our country and its citizens that much stronger, instead of tearing us apart.

Thank you for taking the time to sit there as I stand up on my Sunday morning soapbox.  Have a wonderful Sunday.  Sayonara!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Two Peas in a Pod

On Wednesday, I took my TA's out for a round of golf on the local executive course.  Although temperatures approached triple digits, we had a lot of fun.

After I got home, I ripped open a package from Frankie over at My Life In The Sports Card Hobby and found this awesome card:

2013 Topps Triple Threads Unity Jumbo Relics Sepia #MS1

I immediately recognized this card as being part of a prize package I won on his blog last month.  I'm pretty sure this is my first memorabilia card of one of the hottest pitchers in baseball right now.

It was sad to hear that his consecutive scoreless streak ended earlier this evening at 24.2 innings, but at the same time he earned his 100th win of his career.  His numbers over the past three games were insane.

Damn you Tabata!

After checking out his 2015 game logs, I noticed that my Wednesday golf game closely resembles Scherzer's season.  He has been straight up amazing this season with the exception of three starts in which he gave up a combined thirteen runs.

I too... had a pretty amazing day on the greens.  Well... that's if you count my six best holes.  I shot three bogies, two pars, and my very first birdie of the year.

Unfortunately... there are nine holes on this course.  And like Scherzer, those three holes were pretty bad: two double bogeys and a triple bogey.

But I can't complain too much... especially when I'm lucky enough to have awesome packages like Frankie's sitting in my office.

In addition the Scherzer, he also sent me these:

You're looking at my newest Tony Gwynn memorabilia card a gem-mint Randy Johnson rookie card. The Gwynn is my 61st memorabilia card added to my collection... and although I don't have confirmation... it's probably my 61st Randy Johnson rookie card.  But it's only the 2nd graded rookie card I own of The Big Unit.

Thanks Frankie for the generous prize package!  Keep up the great blog and congratulations on surviving your first 10 months.

Happy Friday and sayonara!