Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Legend of the "Croatian Mozart"

With the FIBA World Championships currently going on in Istanbul, Turkey, I think it only fitting to bring an international flair to Hoopography today. One of my all-time favorite and internationally beloved players to ever step on a court is Drazen Petrovic. Born in Sibenic, Croatia, Petrovic had a brilliant basketball career in both Europe and the NBA. Petrovic was given the nickname "Croatian Mozart" because of his knack of turning basketball into an art form, but Petrovic's obsession and intensity was also duly noted by the games greats. Michael Jordan said of Petrovic, " It was a thrill to play against Drazen. Every time we competed, he came with an aggressive attitude. He came at me as hard as I came at him. So, we've had some great battles in the past and unfortunately, they were short battles".

Drazen led numerous Euro clubs to FIBA Euro Championships, his national team to international prominence and the NJ nets to the playoffs. Yes, the NJ Nets to the NBA Playoffs. If you're not old enough to remember Petrovic, you know he must have been spectacular to accomplish a feat like that. The truth is however, we didn't get long enough to truly witness his greatness. He spent four seasons in the NBA. A season and a half was spent as a reserve on the Portland Trailblazers from '90 - '91. The '92 and '93 seasons were spent as the leader of a young, but talented NJ Nets team. While with the Nets, Petrovic averaged 20.6 points, 1.3 steals and 3.1 assists/game in '92 and 22.3 points, 1.3 steals and 3.5 assists/game in '93. He also was named to the All-NBA 3rd Team in 1993.

Sadly, Petrovic's stellar 1993 campaign was his last. He passed away on June 7th, 1993, as a passenger in an automobile accident. He and a two others were traveling back to Croatia from a European basketball tournament. While driving on the German Autobahn, the VW Golf Petrovic and two others were traveling in hit a truck that lost control from the oncoming lane. Visibility and vehicle control were limited due to rain. Petrovic was 28 years old.

Drazen Petrovic is not a player that you collect autographed or shiny 90's inserts of. His time and legend predate that era in card collecting history. Simply, you collect the memories that you can find on cards like the '93 Upper Deck Game Faces card pictured in this post or the 80's and 90's Panini Euro stickers. I collect many players and sets, but Petrovic cards and stickers are high on that list.

I'm a New York Knicks fan today, I followed Michael Jordan through his rarefied air in the 90's, but I've always had an affinity in my heart for Drazen and Croatian/Yugoslavian basketball. As younger fans today learn the game Petrovic loved so much, and its history, they will hopefully hear the name and legend of the "Croatian Mozart".

Tennis Anyone?


(from left-right: Dick Savitt, Stan Smith, Monica Seles, Butch Buchholz, Martina Navratilova, Pam Shriver, Tony Trabert)

Guests attending The Legends Ball on September 10 at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City will rub elbows with tennis legends and industry leaders, honor the greats of the game and have the opportunity to support the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum by participating in a live and silent auction featuring a variety of exclusive items and experiences. All proceeds of the event will support the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the history of tennis, inspiring junior tennis development, and providing a landmark for tennis enthusiasts worldwide.

More than 65 unique items will be on the block ranging from exclusive access at all four Grand Slams in 2011 to luxury Caribbean vacations, as well as unique opportunities such as hit sessions with tennis greats, celebrity meet and greets, tickets to major sporting events, autographed sports memorabilia and more. Auction items may be previewed online at:

The Legends Ball, held annually since 1980, brings the tennis world together to celebrate the history of the game and to honor some of the sport’s great contributors; all while raising money for the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum. This special night of celebration will honor a host of tennis luminaries including the Class of 2010, which features the extraordinary doubles teams of Gigi Fernandez & Natasha Zvereva and Todd Woodbridge & Mark Woodforde, mixed doubles champion Owen Davidson, Derek Hardwick, an influential tennis administrator, and Brad Parks, the first ever wheelchair tennis inductee, who is also one of the pioneering founders of the wheelchair game. A legendary line-up of tennis greats will also be in attendance, including more than a dozen Hall of Famers and tennis dignitaries. During the event, the Eugene L. Scott Award will be presented to Martina Navratilova and the Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Award will be presented to Mercedes-Benz.

About the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum:

Established in 1954, the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum is a non-profit institution dedicated to preserving the history of tennis, inspiring and encouraging junior tennis development, enshrining tennis heroes and heroines, and providing a landmark for tennis enthusiasts worldwide. The International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum was recognized as the sport’s official Hall of Fame in 1986 by the International Tennis Federation, the governing body of tennis. The International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum is supported by Official Partners, such as BNP Paribas. For information on the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum and its programs, call 401-849-3990 or visit us online at www.tennisfame.com.

Highlights of the Live Auction Will Include (Hosted by Sotheby’s auctioneer Benjamin Doller):

- Two coveted Centre Court tickets to the 2011 Wimbledon Ladies Final and Gentlemen’s Final plus a three-night stay in a posh apartment in the Mayfair section of London .

- An extraordinary Australian Open package including two seats in the President’s Suite for the 2011 Australian Open Men’s and Women’s Finals; four nights accommodations at the Hilton on the Park in Melbourne; and two round-trip business class flights on Qantas. This package also features an exclusive hit session with Hall of Famer Patrick Rafter.

- Two Centre Court tickets to experience the grandeur of the 2011 French Open Men’s and Women’s Finals.

- Tickets and hospitality passes for all four major 2011 LPGA tournaments: Kraft-Nabisco Championship, The LPGA Championship, US Women’s Open, and the Ricoh Women’s British Open. In addition, during the US Women’s Open, the winning bidder will be invited to a private 30-minute wine-tasting with Annika Sorenstam, featuring artisan wines from the Annika wines label, created in partnership with Wente Wineyards.

Highlights of the Silent Auction Will Include:

- Exclusive Experiences with Tennis Greats and Celebrities: A round of golf at LPGA International in Daytona Beach with 2010 Hall of Fame Inductee Gigi Fernandez and former LPGA Champion Jane Geddes; Tennis hit session with The Real Housewives of New York City star and tennis professional Mario Singer in New York City; a lunch for a young person with Miss Teen USA; a lunch with fashion guru Tim Gunn; a dinner with Hall of Fame President and 1970 Hall of Famer Tony Trabert; a hit session with tennis great Todd Martin in Florida; a round of golf with Hall of Famer Stan Smith at Harbour Town Golf Links; a weekend for two at the Van der Meer Shipyard Tennis Resort; and a one week junior session at the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy and at the Evert Tennis Academy.

- Tennis Tournament Ticket Packages: 2011 WTA Championships in Istanbul, Turkey; Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters; WTT Smash Hits Celebrity Event in Washington, DC; Opening Day at the 2011 French Open; BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells; Sony Ericsson Championship in Miami; and Opening Day at the 2011 US Open.

- Luxury Vacation Packages: A one-week stay in a downtown Paris apartment; a one-week stay including golf, tennis and water sports at the beautiful Karma Bay Villa at the Tryall Club in Jamaica; a three-night getaway to Atlantis, Paradise Island in the Bahamas; several dream vacations for tennis fans including an escape to the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club; a weekend at Saddlebrook Resort in Tampa; and exclusive access to Antigua Tennis Week with Hall of Famers Owen Davidson and Fred Stolle, including a stay at Curtain Bluff Resort and playing spots in tennis clinics, pro-ams and more.

- Autographed Memorabilia and Tickets to Sporting Events: Roger Federer signed racquet; autographed photos from all eight 2010 Grand Slam Winners from the Michael Baz Collection; a signed B.B. King guitar; an autographed Alex Ovechkin jersey and four tickets to a Washington Capitals game; a CC Sabathia signed jersey and four tickets to a Yankees game; two week-long passes to the 2011 US Open Golf Championships at Congressional Country Club; and more.

For tickets, sponsorship opportunities, or to learn more about the event, call 212-843-1740 or e-mail legendsball@hgnyc.com.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Hoopography Top 25: #14

Shaquille O'neal was the biggest name in basketball trading cards when I was growing up. It was the time of the "Shaq' Attack". Sure, "His Airness" was also at the peak of his collectibility, but O'neal took the NBA by storm in 1993 and never looked back. It didn't matter what type of card or which company produced it, his RC's were hot!

I could remember going to the local sports card shops and looking at all the O'neal RC's in the glass cases. There were a lot of sports card shops back then, so I saw a lot of his RC's. One of those cards that I gawked at happens to be the #14 card in my Hoopography Top 25 countdown. This '93 Fleer Ultra All-Rookies O'neal insert was one of the most sought after basketball cards of '93.

Fleer had been in the trading card business for quite some time by '93, but the Ultra set was the first premium basketball set Fleer had ever released. To say they did a great job with the 'Ultra release is an understatement. From the on-card Scottie Pippen Career Highlights Auto's to the Ultra Rejectors and Ultra All-NBA inserts, the '93 Fleer Ultra product had it all.

The All-Rookies inserts were really hot when they first came out. The O'neal had a solid $40 - $50 price tag originally, but that didn't last very long when collectors realized the set was not very rare. The odds of pulling an All-Rookies card was one in every thirteen packs. With ten cards in the entire set, it wasn't too long until the market was flooded with these cards. The O'neal RC from the set has fallen in value to $25 since the days of the "Shaq' Attack". You can actually go on to eBay today and pick one up for less than $10 (click here).

Regardless of book value, I still really like this card. It reminds me of the days when I first got into the hobby as an eager young sports fan, and couldn't afford this ultra cool O'neal RC. Plus, checkout the first Shaq' Reebok Pumps O'neal is Rockin' in the card. Those are classic.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Super Bowl XXV: Commemorative Hologram Ticket

One of the most treasured items in my sports memorabilia collection is this Super Bowl XXV Commemorative Hologram Ticket. There are a number of conflicting stories of where these tickets actually came from. I do know that they're limited and pop up on e-marketplaces from time-to-time. All of these commemorative tickets are encased in the thick Lucite cases seen in the scan. Also, the commemorative tickets all have the same seat numbers printed on them. They are not actual used ticket stubs. As you can see, the ticket is intact. Most dealers have told me a similar story that these encased tickets were included in VIP/Media gift bags for those who attended Super Bowl XXV.

It's an item that I chased down for quite awhile before I was able to add it to my collection. Unfortunately, the history behind the item is not as fondly thought of as the item itself. This was the "Wide-Right" Super Bowl, and the first of four straight losses for the Buffalo Bills. As difficult as it is to relive those losses, I do look back with joy as those were the glory years for the Bills. Especially taking into account the past decade over here in Bills Country. It's not too often that a piece of memorabilia can be so bittersweet, but this gorgeous looking ticket represents the best and worst of times for Buffalo Bills fans like me. The sobering thought, I wouldn't change a thing.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Michael Jordan Sure is N-Tense

This Jordan SkyBox N-Tense Michael Jordan insert comes from the 1995 SkyBox Emotion release. The Emotion set deserves a mention of it's own in a future post, but it's one of the best base basketball sets of the 90's.

The N-Tense insert set features 10 foil-covered inserts of the biggest superstars the NBA had to offer in 1995. The Jordan is the gem of the set for most collectors. Besides the obvious reasons, Jordan is wearing the number forty-five. He wore number forty-five when he came back from his first retirement. The card is beautiful. The gold foiling looks even better in person than on the scan. It has a book value of $40, but typically sells for right around $12 - $16 (click here).

Poster Review: "Chocolate Thunder" Nike Poster

I'm not exactly sure whether this Darryl Dawkins poster is scary, cool or just scary cool. They're your eyes, so I apologies in advanced, but checkout those ridiculously short shorts. Even considering the shorts, this is a pretty great 80's Nike poster. I love the old school pair of Nikes Dawkins is rockin'. Plus, checkout Darryl "Chocolate Thunder" Dawkins holding a rim in his hand. He looks like he just tore the entire rim off and shattered the glass of a basketball hoop. Oh wait, he did…twice.

Dawkins came right out of high school and joined the NBA before it was fashionable or even really tolerated to take such a huge leap. He was drafted 5th overall in the 1975 NBA Draft, and had an up and down professional career most notably with the Philadelphia 76ers. His tenure in Philadelphia produced four trips to the Eastern Conference Finals and one trip to the NBA Finals. Unfortunately, the 76ers could never close the deal during that stretch. Dawkins was eventually traded to the New Jersey Nets after the '82 season. With a revamped team that now featured Moses Malone, the 76ers were able to finally get over the hump and win the '83 NBA Championship.

The Nike "Chocolate Thunder" poster came out right at the beginning of the 80's and is highly representative of the flamboyant Walt "Clyde" Frazier 70's NBA that preceded the posters release. The "Love Tron" shirt Dawkins is wearing is pretty crazy too. I also like that the poster celebrates the most enduring aspect of Dawkins' tenure in the Association as a dunker.

This is one cool poster. It's difficult to find vintage copies of, but it can be added to the collection a patient collector. They show up on eBay usually once a month, and typically sell for right around $15 - $25. If you do add this classic 80's Nike poster to your collection, make sure to enjoy your time on Planet Love Tron.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

What Are Your Daily Searches?

If you're anything like me, you have a number of daily/weekly searches on your favorite e-marketplaces. Here're a few of mine below. What are some of your daily/weekly searches?

(Search Words: "Exquisite")

(Search Words: "'97 Ultra Court Masters")

(Search Words: "'97 SPx ProMotion")

(Search Words: "'97 Flair Row 0")

(Search Words: "'98 Dunk N' Go Nuts")

(Search Words: "Anfernee Hardaway")

(Search Words: "Bo Jackson")

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Have You Seen Me? 2008 Topps Allen & Ginter's Thom Yorke

So I have to admit that I really don't know very much about one of the most popular releases in the hobby today, Topps' Allen & Ginters. I like the cards. I think they are an ultra simple design, but the simplicity is what makes them great. The diversity of athletes and pop culture icons doesn't hurt either. It just seems like a really fun product that I really should know more about. So I've decided to go after one Allen & Ginter's card.

There probably are at least a million different cards and memorabilia items that I'm chasing. I try to keep that number reasonable at only a million. Since a million items is kind of a lot to look for on a busy schedule, I thought I'd share with the Hoopography readers some of the items I'm looking for.

Today's "Have You Seen Me" post is this 2008 Topps Allen & Ginter's Thom Yorke card. Yorke is the lead singer of Radiohead, which also happen to be one of my favorite bands. If you've seen this card, love/hate Radiohead, want to comment on the Allen & Ginter's product or have the card to trade, let me know your thoughts in the comments section of this "Have You Seen Me" post. Thanks and "…Enjoy Every Bounce of the Ball".

Edit: A fellow blogger has informed me that the Allen & Ginter's Thom Yorke card is actually an "original creation" of Matt over at http://heartbreakingcards.blogspot.com/. Checkout his blog. It's the same as this card… AWESOME!!!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Rookie Cards For $10 Bucks or Less: Shawn Kemp Fleer, SkyBox, Upper Deck

Basketball fans can’t talk 90’s NBA basketball without mentioning the “Reign Man”. Shawn Kemp was a devastating 6 foot 10 inch athlete who could catch an ally-oop from fellow running mate Gary “The Glove” Payton better than anyone in the Association. In addition to his athleticism, Kemp also had the skill-set to work down low in the post. He averaged 14.6 points/game and 10.9 rebounds/game with a .488 field goal percentage during his NBA career. Those numbers are a bit skewed because of a few seasons when his averages dipped for a number of reasons including weight issues. It was reported that Kemp showed up to Cavaliers’ training camp weighing a hefty 275 lbs. during the ’99 lockout shortened NBA season.

I like to remember the Shawn Kemp that many referred to as “Man Child”. This was the player that no team had an defensive answer for during the mid 90’s. For all of Kemp’s natural abilities though, it would have been fun to watch how much better he would have been if he had only put more time into the game and himself. As it is, I'm still a fan and enjoy watching old clips of Kemp Reignin’ down on Seattle.

I've done a couple of these “Rookie Cards for $10 Bucks or less” posts thus far, but this is the first time i'm featuring three rookie cards of one player. The best part about featuring Kemp’s three rookie cards is that you can add all three of these RC's to your collection "...for $10 Bucks or Less”.

  1. -The ’91 Fleer RC features a great action shot of Kemp doing what he did best, dunking. This is my favorite Kemp RC out of the three. Just checkout that awesome blue and red trim around the photo of Kemp. Coupled with the yellow surrounding Kemp's name, this card is so bad it's actually cool. The card has a book value of only $1.50 due to the over abundance of the card. In fact, that is the case for all three of these cards. Trading card manufactures mass produced their sets and thus killed the value of their own products during the late 80’s and early 90’s. eBay auction: (click here for an eBay “buy now” auction featuring the ’91 Fleer Shawn Kemp RC).

  1. -The ’91 NBAHOOPS RC has a fairly simple design. I can’t say it’s the best looking card ever made, but it’s a nice buy at around $1 on the secondary markets. Again, the card only has a book value of $1.50 like the ’91 Fleer RC. eBay auction: (click here for an eBay “buy now” auction featuring the ’91 NBAHOOPS Shawn Kemp RC).

  1. -The final Kemp RC is a ’91 SkyBox card. The ’91 SkyBox set is one of my all-time favorite sets. I actually like both the ’91 and ’92 SkyBox sets. They have some really funky early 90’s graphics and designs. The Kemp RC from the ’91 set has some of those funky graphics and is a good looking card. Nothing like some randomly colored lines going through the background of a card. Kinda like the always cool laser background used in 90’s school photos (you know the ones I'm talking about). This Kemp RC has a book value of $2.50, but typically sells for right around $.50 to $2. eBay auction: (click here for an eBay “buy now” auction featuring the ’91 SkyBox Shawn Kemp RC)

(Just for good measure, Kemp's Top 10 Slam Dunks)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Is This The Best Looking Baseball Card Ever?

Ok, so I think the question posed in the post title is really impossible to answer with any definitely. Essentially, card collecting is a very subjective hobby, but every now and then a card comes along that combines great design, color, photography and a HOF player. This is the case with the 1980 Topps Rickey Henderson RC.

Not only was Henderson likely the best lead off man in MLB history, but the '80 Topps card features a classic 70's/80's card design and iconic batting stance. The Oakland A's green and yellow team colors also brings the whole card together. This is a must have for any baseball card collector, and I was glad to add the Henderson RC to my collection a few months ago.

To some, the 1980 Topps Rickey Henderson RC is the best looking baseball card in the hobby, to others it's not, but there's no question that it's certainly worth noting. What do you think? Is this the best looking baseball card ever, or at least in the conversation?

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Sometimes It Feels Like You've Got The Whole World On Your Shoulders

Sometimes you just feel like you have the whole world on your shoulders. Just ask the former #1 overall pick from the 1995 NBA Draft of the Golden State Worries, Joe Smith. This 1996 Upper Deck card features Smith holding up the world. With career averages of 11 points, 1 assist and 6.5 rebounds/game Smith didn't exactly take the NBA world by storm, but he did have a solid fifteen year career.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Poster Review: David Robinson "National Defense" Nike Poster

After fulfilling two years of his five year military service commitment (the U.S. Navy excused Robinson from three years of his five year commitment), “The Admiral” joined the San Antonio Spurs in 1990. The addition of Robinson turned the fortunes of the Spurs franchise around and brought a new meaning to athletic big man. Robinson’s speed, size, power and athleticism were unmatched. His career averages are also very impressive at 21.1 points/game, 10.6 rebounds/game and 2.99 blocks/game. The ’95 NBA league MVP was selected to ten all-star teams, was the ’90 NBA Rookie of the Year, ’92 & ’96 “Dream Team” Olympic Gold Medal winner and two-time NBA Champion (’99 & ’03). “The Admiral” was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009.

Robinson was one of Nike’s top spokesmen during the 90‘s. He had a great smile, was a standup role model and most importantly, had loads of game. The “National Defense” Poster portrays Robinson as if he were on a naval ship protecting the 50 United States. Aside from those incredibly short shorts, I really like this Nike basketball poster. Also, check out those ultra high Nikes Robinson is sporting.

(RSS and third party site readers, click here to view videos)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Yankees Prospecting: 2009 Upper Deck Icons Brett Gardner Auto'd RC

I decided to collect Brett Gardner cards about halfway through the NY Yankees 27th World Series Championship season. It's not that Gardner is the flashiest Yankee or that he hits gargantuan home runs. He's actually far from any of those types of players. Instead, he simply does the little things to help a team win. Whether it's playing great defense, getting on base with a .381 OBP or stealing bases to get into scoring position, Gardner is one of the Yankees unsung heroes.

I bought a few Gardner cards toward the end of last season and during the MLB off-season. One of those cards is this 2009 Upper Deck Icons Auto'd RC. There aren't too many Gardner auto's out there yet, but this one is pretty nice. It's not all that limited with a print run of 600, but I probably wouldn't have been able to afford it if it was extremely limited. I paid just under $8.00 with shipping. That's a pretty good deal as many are now selling for $20.00 - $30.00 right now on eBay in Live auctions (click here), and are right around $50.00 on Buy Now eBay auctions (click Here).

Gardner currently has a .285 BA, 5 HR's, 39 RBI's, .381 OBP, 73 R's and 34 SB's.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Three New NBA Jerseys Released This Week

There's been a barrage of redesigned NBA jerseys released this week. Which one do you think scores a slam dunk, and do any warrant a technical foul?

Mail Time: Courtesy of The Chronicles of Fuji

This past weekend I received a package of cards from Mark over at The Chronicles of Fuji. I first have to thank Mark for his generosity. He sent me some great Buffalo Bills, NY Yankees and hoops cards that I'll get into in just a minute. If you haven't already checked his blog out, make sure to do so. The Chronicles of Fuji is one of my favorite sports card blogs on the net. It's part of my daily reading and for good reason. From Sports Busts and Sketch Cards to Contests and PC Action, Mark's got it covered over there in Fuji Land.

As for the cards Mark sent me, I couldn't be more ecstatic!!! Mark sent over a few refractors including a '96 Topps Finest Shawn Kemp Mystery Refractor which I absolutely think is awesome. I've always wanted to collect this set and now have the motivation to get started. He also sent over a couple of really cool looking former Buffalo Bills running back Antowain Smith inserts. No question, all the cards were great, but the best card was his personal "trade" card autographed by Mark himself. This "trade" card is easily one of the coolest cards I've seen in a very long time. It even has stats and trade info for Mark on the back. TOTALLY AWESOME, THANKS MARK!!!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Trade Bait: Mike Alstott 2000 Upper Deck SP Authentic Buyback Auto

I really like on-card autographs and I especially like buyback auto's. There's just something really cool about the whole buyback auto concept. I only have two buybacks in my entire collection, but I feel luck to even have two. The first buyback I added to my collection was a 2006 Bowman Chrome Melky Cabrera Buyback Auto. I was a huge Cabrera guy and decided to collect him until he was traded to the Detroit Tigers last offseason. On a side note, that "Milkman" card would have been on my Top 25 PC Countdown had he not been traded.

The second buyback auto'd card i've been lucky enough to add to my collection is this 2000 Upper Deck SP Authentic Mike Alstott Buyback Auto. It's a really good looking card that features a huge signature. There's nothing worse than when a player's signature is all mushed together. The really cool thing about this card is that it came with the separate Upper Deck Authenticating Holo COA to match the COA Holo on the back of the actual trading card. It may seem lame, but I always thought those separate COA's were cool.

I haven't decided whether to put this little gem in my Trade Bait Album or not yet. It's really a pretty nice edition to my collection if I decide to keep it. I guess it all depend on if and what type of offers I receive on the card. Either way, checkout my Trade Bait Album and let me know if there's anything in there you're interested in adding to your collection. Thanks for reading and… "Enjoy Every Bounce of the Ball".

Monday, August 16, 2010

What Three Active Pitchers Have Beaten Every MLB Team?

There are between 330-360 active pitchers in MLB today (Formula: 30 teams x 11 and/or 12 pitchers per team). Out of those 330-360 active pitchers, only three have managed to beat every team in MLB during their careers. Sure, you can take the easy way out and Google Search the answer, but it would be so much more fun to test your sports knowledge and take a guess. I'll give you one out of those three pitchers right now.

Javier Vazquez of the NY Yankees completed the feat a few weeks ago on July 21, 2010. The Yanks traded my favorite Yankee at the time Melky Cabrera. I was sadden to see Melky go as he was one of those role players that provided the glue during the World Series run last year, but Vazquez has been a pleasant surprise after a slow start. With a 9-8 record and 4.22 ERA, he's not making a run at the AL Cy Young Award, but he's been very solid as the Yankees 5th starter.

Here's a 1999 SkyBox Autographics card I recently purchased for $2.99 including shipping. Not too bad for an on-card auto of a current player on my favorite MLB team. I love those old school Expos logos too.

Oh, I almost forgot. I'll leave a comment in a day or two on who the other two active players are who have beaten all 30 MLB teams, so take your guesses.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

To Peel Or Not To Peel: That Is The Question...

After reading a quick post over on Heartbreaking Cards of Staggering Genius about peeling off the clear protective coating on 90's Topps and Leaf products, I thought it'd be a great question to pose to collectors out in the blogosphere. Do you peel these protective layers off your cards or leave them on and why?

I certainly understand both sides of the debate, but I rather leave the protective layer on the cards. There's just something about that coating on the card that makes the card whole in my eyes. I wont even purchase a card that is missing that clear plastic coating. Here's a few cards in my collection that have the protective coating still attached.

To Peel Or Not To Peel: That Is The Question… what do you prefer?

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Bo Knows Bubble Gum: '94 Upper Deck SP Holoview Die Cut

About a month ago I wrote a post reviewing an old school Nike Bo Jackson poster and explaining how Jackson also played semi-pro basketball for a very brief time. The post was entitled, "Bo Knows Basketball?" (click here). I'm a huge Jackson fan, and collect as many of his cards and posters that I can get my hands on. I really enjoyed the "Bo Knows Basketball?" post, especially the YouTube highlight videos and old Nike TV commercials I was able to embed into the post. I had so much fun putting that post together that I thought it'd be cool to do a "Bo Knows…" post for every Bo Jackson item that I'm lucky enough to add to my collection.

This newest post in the "Bo Knows…" series features this 1994 Upper Deck SP Die Cut Holoview Bo Jackson card. I love the Holoview sets Upper Deck put out during the mid 90's. Regardless of sport, all of these cards looked great. Of course the '94 baseball set features some high value gems like the A-Rod RC, Michael Jordan baseball RC and equally outrageously expensive Ken Griffey Jr. You can get the base versions of these cards at a relatively reasonable price, but it's really the die cuts that get collectors excited.

The Bo Jackson doesn't carry the same price tag as many of the other cards in the set, but is equally beautiful. It shimmers from the foiling UD used on the surface of the cards, and I think most die cut parallels look better than their base counterparts. As cool as the front of the card looks, the back is even better with Bo demonstrating his mastery of blowing bubble gum bubbles.

Hope you enjoyed this installment of the "Bo Knows…" series. I'll continue the series as I get in more Bo Jackson memorabilia. If you enjoyed this post, make sure to checkout the first post in the series (click here) and remember… "Enjoy Every Bounce of the Ball".

(Hopefully you can read what it says on the back of this card. Truly a testimate to the type of athlete Jackson was.)

Hoopography Top 25 Countdown: #15

I love acetate cards. It's easily my favorite trading card technology even though I've been cheating on it with refractor cards lately. Acetate is basically the name given to cards that are produced by encasing or printing an image on a translucent piece of plastic. The heyday for acetate cards was in the mid 90's. Unfortunately, trading card companies have gotten away from this technology which really is a shame. No doubt, I'd love to see a company come out with some acetate inserts featuring some of the modern day superstars, but I'll continue to also hunt down some of the better acetate cards of the past.

One of my favorite acetate cards also happens to be #15 on my PC Top 25 Countdown. The '98 Metal Universe Titanium Anfernee Hardaway is really a tremendous card. It not only features Anfernee "Penny" Hardaway, but Michael Jordan as well. Actually, many collectors pick this guy up because of MJ's presence. That's made the modestly valued card sell for almost double its $15 book value. It's not uncommon for this card to sell for $20-$25 dollars. That's pretty good during a time in the hobby when most cards fail to even reach their book values on the secondary markets.

For me, the Hardaway (with Jordan) is the gem of the set. I'm a huge Hardaway fan and collector, and consider this Metal Universe Titanium one of his best inserts. As many of you know, I'm a huge 90's insert nut as well. That means I'm currently attempting to put this awesome looking set together along with every other 90's insert set (or at least it seems like that).

I recently doubled my ’98 Metal Universe Titanium collection by adding the Antoine Walker, Juwan Howard (K. Garnett in background) and Kerry Kittles (A. Hardaway in background). I also have the Marcus Camby and Ray "Jesus Shuttlesworth" Allen cards from the set. I really like the J. Howard, but the Hardaway with MJ in the background is still my favorite of the six in my collection.

With six down, I have fourteen more to go. If I really concentrated my time and funds on putting the set together, I could probably put the rest of it together relatively quickly with the exception of the pricey Jordan and Kobe cards. I have too many sets I'm putting together right now though, so this one might take me some time. These Metal Titanium cards are fairly common. They were inserted into packs at a rate of 1:72. That’s really not too bad, and there usually are a few different auctions featuring these cards every week. Unfortunately, A few of the cards can get a little expensive (’98 Pippen Titanium completed eBay auction,’98 Jordan Titanium completed eBay auction, ’98 Rodman Titanium completed auction).

Although it's going to take me a while to put the entire '98 Metal Universe set together, I'm pretty happy to have what I consider the gem of the set in my collection. That's why this "Penny" Hardaway Metal Universe Titanium acetate card is #15 on the Hoopography Top 25 Countdown.

Friday, August 13, 2010

2010 Basketball HOF/2010 Panini HOF

With the 2010 Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremony tonight I thought it would be nice to take a quick look at 2010 Panini HOF. I've been looking forward to this product since I first saw these images several months ago. HOF is scheduled to be released September 1st with a $100 price tag. So what do you get for that $100? It looks like you'll be able to grab some cut signatures and on-card auto's of the best players the Association has ever seen. So what do you think? Are you as excited as I am for Panini's HOF basketball product to come out?

2010 Panini HOF Product Info:

Release Date: Sept 1, 2010
Configuration: 11 Cards, 1 Pack, 15 Boxes
SRP: $100.00

Product Highlights:
- All Autographs are on-card
- Dream Team Marks of Fame (#'d to 49 or Less)
- Dream Team Game Threads - Material Cards featuring regular and prime swatches from the actual game-used 1992 U.S. Men's Olympic Jerseys

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Poster Review: '89 Nike Mars Blackmon Air Jordan III's

“Money, it’s gotta be the shoes”. There are a lot of excellent Spike Lee joints out there, but the Mars Blackmon Nike ads really put Spike Lee on the pop culture map. In 1989, Lee was a young film maker and Michael Jordan was unsuccessfully trying to take NBA titles away from Magic, Larry Legend and Isiah. Nike was also relatively early in its plans of global domination, but really got on its way thanks to creative advertising and perfecting the multinational corporate concept.

The “Mars Blackmon” marketing campaign was one of Nike’s best and most entertaining. “Mars” was a scrawny, dorky, MJ wannabe who thought he had discovered how Jordan could fly. Mars’ famous line was, “Money [Jordan], it’s gotta be the shoes”. Nike worked this campaign into posters, commercials, t-shirts and obviously sneakers which I still buy today. There's a sucker born everyday I guess.

The poster is one of the most sought after Jordan posters ever, but unfortunately it’s of course out of print today. That means that Jordan collectors have to pay quite a bit for a vintage copy. The poster can be found fairly regularly on eBay if you’re willing to shell-out some serious cash (here's an eBay auction of the Nike poster in “good” condition ending this week).

So what do you think? Is this Jordan’s best poster of all-time? I'll continue to bring you poster reviews of the best sports posters ever made including more Nike Jordan posters. If you have a favorite sports or pop culture poster, let me know and remember… "Enjoy Every Bounce of the Ball".

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Rookie Cards For $10 Bucks or Less: '84 Star Company Ralph Sampson RC

Rookie cards are a huge part of the hobby that we love. Collectors chase down the first trading card of a player for a couple of reasons. There certainly are those who "collect" RC's as if they were stocks or commodities. Just look at the recent example of Stephen Strasburg's RC's. There also are those collectors who add a RC to their collection not because of the anticipated value, but rather for the thrill of owning a card of an athlete who they admired as a kid or even today. Maybe the RC of a player also reminds them of a particular time in their life or of a favorite team. If you are later of those types of collectors, than this Rookie Cards for $10 Bucks or Less series is for you.

This Rookie Cards for $10 Bucks or Less post features the 1984 Star Company RC of arguably one of the best collegiate basketball players of all-time, Ralph Sampson. Sampson was the #1 pick of the '83 NBA Draft out of the University of Virginia. As a collegiate player, there are few who can measure up to the career of the 7'-4'' Sampson. He was a three-time Naismith Collegiate Player of the Year award winner and two-time Wooden Award winner. He was also named to the ACC 50th Anniversary Team in 2002.

After receiving that kind of hardware, it's no wonder Sampson was highly touted coming into the NBA during the '84 season. Many felt Sampson was going to dominate the NBA as he did the ACC, and he did for about a three and a half season span. Sampson and the then Akeem Olajuwan formed the devastating "Twin Towers" for the Rockets during the '85 season after Houston won the rights to the first pick overall for a second year in a row. The talented tandem formed an intimidating two-headed monster and eventually led the Rockets to a birth in the '86 NBA Finals against the vaunted Boston Celtics. The Rockets did go on to lose that series, but cemented themselves as a formidable team to dethrone the Lakers'-Celtics' dominance of the 80's with a core of young and up incoming superstars in Sampson and Olajuwan. Unfortunately, three knee surgeries derailed the promise and talent Sampson showed during his first three and a half seasons in the Association.

Sampson played for a number of NBA teams during the remainder of his career and was eventually waived during the '91-'92 NBA season by the then Washington Bullets. He finished his NBA career as the '84 NBA Rookie of the Year, '85 All-Star MVP, '85 All-NBA Second Team, Four-time NBA All-Star ('84-'87) and a whole lot of unfulfilled promise.

His '84 Star Company RC is a steal today with a book value of only $8.00. Many collectors and hoops fans forget just how dominate of an athlete Sampson truly was. His RC often sells for right around $.99 -$5.00. Here's a recently completed eBay Buy Now auction (click here). I really like the Star Company cards of the mid-80's. There obviously are a ton of noteworthy players in those sets like Jordan, Worthy, Jabbar, Thomas, Drexler, Wilkins, Ewing, Magic and Bird, but it's the simply design, photography and use of vibrant color that make these cards standout. Just look at the bright orange an red colors used on the Sampson RC. So if you're looking to add a solid RC to your collection at a modest expense, checkout the '84 Star Co. Ralph Sampson Rookie Card for $10 Bucks or Less and… "Enjoy Every Bounce of the Ball".

Contest Announcements

Mark over at The Chronicles of Fuji and Guy over at The Basketball Card Blog are hosting some pretty awesome and generous free contests and giveaways this week. First off, these are my two favorite blogs on the net today. I read and follow quite a few sports memorabilia themed blogs, but Mark and Guy's blogs are daily must reads. From Mark's Sports Card Busts and Sketch Card Collection posts to Guy's Murad Chase and Portland Trailblazers Love, these guys have the hobby covered.

Definitely go over and check their blogs out. If you still need more convincing, which you shouldn't, here are links to their contests that are going on right now: The Chronicles of Fuji Contest; The Basketball Card Blog Contest. Both contests feature some really great prizes and they should be a lot of fun. Good luck and remember to… "Enjoy Every Bounce of the Ball"!