Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Pudge Rodriguez and Mike Piazza In The Hoopography House: '97 Upper Deck SPx Cornerstones

'97 Upper Deck SPx Cornerstones Rodriguez/Piazza
I know it's been about a week or so since my last post. I've been extremely busy with work and family. I actually became an uncle this past weekend which I'm very excited about. With as busy as I've been though, don't think I'm not collecting or staying up to date with the hobby happenings. I just got in a few new items in recently and I'm posting today about what I think is a pretty sweet addition to my late 90's Upper Deck SPx Pro Motion and SPx Force sets. As many of you probably know, I'm currently putting together all of the SPx Pro Motion, Cornerstone, Duo View and Force sets from '97 and '98 for football, baseball, hockey and basketball. It's a tall order, but I'm a huge fan of the die-cut and hologram designs from these sets.

This Ivan Rodriguez and Mike Piazza card is the second card from the '97 baseball Cornerstones set I've been able to add to the collection. The first one I got was the Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez you see to the right. These cards are beautiful. The set name is Cornerstones, but they are basically the same design as the basketball and football Pro Motion sets. I'm not quiet sure why Upper Deck decided to call the baseball and hockey (Duo View) sets by different names. No matter what the name, one thing is for sure. The gold foiling in the backgrounds, die-cut designs and crystal clear holograms make these inserts standout. I paid $5.00 including shipping for the Rodriguez and Piazza. It's not that the baseball Cornerstones cards sell for exorbitant prices, but that was a Rickey Henderson type steal.

I apologize for the lack of posts last week, but I needed some time to focus on a view other things. No worries though. I have a number of new items that I just added to my collection that I'm excited to post about over the next few days. Happy collecting and… "Enjoy Every Crack Of The Bat".

Monday, June 13, 2011

Which Is More Impressive: Handlebar Mustache or Mullet?

The mullet maybe a little tough to make out on this 1993 Upper Deck SP cards, but Rod Beck definitely had one back in the day. However, I'm going with the handlebar mustache as more impressive. I just think it's pretty cool. Those Reebok cleats aren't too bad either. Gotta like old school. What do you think?

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Product Preview: 2011 Panini National Treasures Basketball

Other than the feverishly hot Blake Griffin RC Auto, last year's 2010 Panini National Treasures was a bit of a disappointment. It looked less like the hobby's high end basketball product and more like one of Panini's sticker books. I know 2010 NT sold well both in the retail and secondary markets, but that had more to do with the Griffin chase and less with the overall product. That's never a good thing for the perception of a product or a company, but it looks like Panini might have vastly improved upon 2010 NT with the upcoming August 3rd release of 2011 National Treasures Basketball.

Below are a few of the images Panini released on their official blog called The Knight's Lance. These images really look amazing and have got this collector's juices flowing. Each eight card box will include six autographed or memorabilia hits per box. It looks like most of those auto's will be on-card (at least from what the released images reveal). That's a big step in the right direction for the hobby. There is no reason a high end product such as National Treasures shouldn't feature a trading card/memorabilia company's best. And by "best", just checkout some of the cards below. If 2011 NT Basketball is anything like the early preview images, us collectors are in for a treat!!! What do you think?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Alonzo Mourning In The Hoopography House: '94 Fleer Illustration

'94 Fleer Illustration Alonzo Mourning
This 1994 Fleer Illustration card of Alonzo Mourning isn't worth really much at all, but it sure is fun!!! I'm a big fan of those old school Charlotte Hornets jerseys, and Mourning is one of the all-time warriors of the NBA. As much as I liked Zo and how he approached the game, I'm up in the air on the Hall of Fame. At 17.1 points/game, 2.8 blocks/game and 8.5 rebounds/game he does have respectable career stats, but I'm not quiet sure those numbers are enough. Certainly time will tell, but what do you think? Is Alonzo Morning an NBA Hall of Famer?

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Did Shaquille O'neal Maximize His Talent?

To say Shaquille O'neal didn't have a Hall of Fame career is ridiculous. However, did he maximize his talent throughout his 19 year career? Did he really get everything he could have out of that 7'1'' 300 plus frame? I've argued for many years that he did not. Sure, I was a big fan of the Shaqdaddy throughout his illustrious career, but there were certainly times that I questioned if he was fully invested in the happenings on the court.

Reebok Shaq Pump
For someone with the size, strength and athleticism of O'neal, there shouldn't have been anything that stopped him. For the most part, there wasn't a player in the league that could stop him except maybe himself. Shaq has never successfully completed an 82 game NBA regular season in 19 tries. In fact, he averaged only 64.5 games per season. I understand that a man that size wasn't exactly treated like a little baby out there. The term "hack-a-chaq" was created for a reason. The real issue here is conditioning.

We all have our different body types, but it didn't look like O'neal spent the necessary time a professional athlete should have on his body as other great centers did like a David Robinson. I wonder how much more dominant Shaq could have been had he worked to keep his body in peak conditioning. How many more injuries could have been prevented at at what level he could have performed at had he worked to keep his body in better physical condition. Let's face it, that "Shaq Versus" show was entertaining, but it really was the cross-training workout he was touting.

No doubt, O'neal is a top 10 all-time great, but could he have been in the top 5 or even 3? Maybe, but I guess we'll never know. One thing is for certain. I like collecting the early O'neal inserts and auto's. A couple of my favorites from my collection are posted above. Enjoy the NBA Finals and… "Every Bounce of the Ball".

Friday, June 3, 2011

What Summer Releases Are You Most Excited For?

Although I'm most excited for the 2011 Upper Deck The Cup hockey release, I haven't actually seen any pictures yet. So I'll exclude The Cup from this conversation. However, it's safe to say that UD will do a great job with that product. I'm also pretty interested to see how Panini's Dominion Hockey product will fair against The Cup. As for a few other products I'm looking forward to this summer, Topps' Lineage baseball release should be fun along Panini's Gold Standard basketball.

I know there are a number of nice products coming out over the summer and I for one am very excited as usual. The above mentioned products are just a few of the many trading card releases that are sure to get my collecting juices flowing. What upcoming summer releases are you most excited about this year?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Poll: Is Phil Jackson The Greatest Coach In Professional Sports History?

Is Phil Jackson the greatest coach in professional sports history? Although I was a huge Chicago Bulls fan during the 90's like many young wannabe ballers during that time, I don't believe the Zen Master deserves the title. I think there are essentially two schools of thought on Mr. Jackson. You either believe he's the greatest coach in professional sports because of the 11 Championship rings or you think he was in the right place at the right time with the right players. I believe the later is true.

Sure, there had to be some level of coaching involved to win those 11 rings, but he also had the best players of their respective time periods in their primes with Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Shaquille O'neal and Kobe Bryant. I think he should have won as many title as he did. What do you think? Is Phil Jackson the greatest coach in professional sports history?