Last year, my trip to see Emmitt Smith get inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame was without a shadow of a doubt the BEST sports experience I have ever had live. I grew up idolizing Emmitt Smith, and being a kid in the 90's, I saw his great career from the start to end, and he is and always will be my favorite Cowboy of all time. Just going to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton is an awesome experience in itself, but to go on induction weekend, there's nothing like it! Since the induction ceremonies are this coming week, I figure I'd use this week to share my memories of last year's festivities. I highly recommend any football fan to go and check out the Pro Football Hall Fame, it's pure football heaven! Stay tuned for most posts during the week of what was an unbelievable and memorable time in Canton, Ohio!
Sunday, July 31, 2011
Saturday, July 30, 2011
I've talked about it a few times on this blog, as both Allen Iverson and Kobe Bryant's rookies have made my countdown, but it's amazing how a set that was supposed to be nothing but a filler release, one to appease an agreement Topps had with Wal-Mart, ended up becoming one of the most coveted sets of the modern era. That's exactly what the 96-97 Topps Chrome set is though, a modern day successor to the 61 Fleer and 86-87 Fleer set of the vintage era. Combining relative scarcity with a scorching hot rookie class, made this set climb to legendary proportions. As far as the base cards go, I have all the main cards from the set minus the Jordan, which I hope to get someday. Here's a look at the star-studded rookie class and their Topps Chrome Rookie Cards.
I already mentioned Kobe's card, just yesterday, and to this day it's still the most desirable card of the set. The Colorado incident a few years back tarnished this card a little, but Kobe bounced back and this card is still a highly coveted card to own. It's the Michael Jordan Fleer Rookie card of the set.
I've talked about the Chrome rookie at length on my countdown, as I pulled it out of the 1 pack of Chrome I bought. Here's also the Youthquake insert of Iverson, which also became a popular insert set featuring the 96-97 rookie class. Kobe's is of course the best out of this set. Iverson had a great career (no telling if he's officially retired) as he was MVP in 01, an 11 time all star and 4 time scoring champion. He also lead the Sixers to a NBA Finals Appearance in 00-01 losing to the Lakers. Unfortunately, his career has kind of ended with a whimper after failed stints in Denver, Detroit, Memphis, and a short comeback in Philly. Still, I think Iverson is definitely a Hall of Famer, and there is a great argument this his Chrome rookie is the 2nd best out of the set.
Known for years as the best player no one had ever heard of because he played in Vancouver and Memphis, it seemed like Abdur-Rahim only needed a change of scenary to become a big time NBA Superstar. Unfortunately Abdur-Rahim never achieved that superstardom and though he had a good NBA career, it wasn't the greatness everyone expected. He made one all star team and won a gold medal in 2000, but kinda faded away and just became a role player in Portland and Sacramento. This card at it's peak was a $150 card but nowadays it's a far cry from that.
Here's a guy who when he started his career went head to head with A.I. in terms of popularity. It looked like him and KG would be the cornerstones of a young and hungry T-Wolves team for years to come and the price of this card reflected it at the time, at one time peaking at a whopping $150. Unfortunately, though he put up some nice numbers, he never really matured, and wasn't a real leader on the teams he played for. It seemed like every team that he got traded from got better when he left. His attitude and selfishness was a real turn off to fans and collectors and that's unfortunate cause he had the skills to be among the NBA's elite. He's a two time all star, and again kind of like most of this rookie class, kind of just faded away after having some nice seasons.
Another guy who had such a bright future, and it looked like he and Paul Pierce were going to bring the Celtics back into the NBA spotlight. Another rookie card that peaked at $150 when it looked like Walker was going to be the cornerstone of the Celtics. Now, he's more known for his money problems than his playing career. A 3 time all star, after he left Boston he became a supporting player for various teams, including the Miami Heat where he won a title.
Now here's a guy who's in debate for 2nd best in the class of 96. He might not have scoring titles like Iverson, of MVP's like Nash, but he's 10 time all star, the NBA's leader in 3 pt shots made, and a clutch shooter at that, and something that Iverson and Nash aren't..an NBA Champion. A sure fire hall of famer, he's consistant year in and year out. His Chrome rookie has always been pretty consistant, I don't recall a major drop-off in comparison to guys like Iverson, Shareef, etc, in fact Allen was able to leap or become on par with these guys, so he's prolly seen a modest spike since this card came out. Definitely warrants major consideration for 2nd best in the class.
No he's not an all-star, but noone can deny Fisher's presence in the Lakers championship runs of the 2000s. A five time NBA champion, Fisher has been a crucial part of every Lakers championship. Fisher of course wasn't a key rookie card initially since when this set came out, the Lakers weren't NBA Championship contenders like they are now, but due to his pedigree, it's become one of the better rookies in the set.
Going back in time, I think most people would've imagined Camby not panning out. Injury prone initially, and more of a defensive standout, I never thought he'd outlast Shareef, Antoine, Marbury, and Iverson, but here's Camby still goin strong to this day. This card really didn't receive a huge price increase, because Camby really didn't have a NBA following like the others. A former Defensive Player of the Year, surprisingly Camby's never been an All-Star, but that doesn't take away that he's been a solid NBA player, especially on the defensive end for years.
Another guy who when looking back in time I never thought would be one of the faces of the leagues when he was drafted, Nash's first couple years in the league were nothing to write home about. Even the trade to Dallas at first, he was nothing too special. This was just another rookie card for years before he stepped his game big time, when he, Michael Finley, and Dirk turned Dallas from a laughingstock to a legit playoff contender. When Nash resigned with the Suns, his career really took off, and he's a two time MVP. Nash is definitely is one the best point guards to play the game and also deserves consideration for 2nd best rookie in the class. Not making at least one Finals appearance though, does hurt.
Jermaine O'Neal was the other high schooler taken in the first round in 96. Unlike Kobe though, O'Neal spent a lot of time on the Trailblazers bench, just waiting to show off his potential. It wasn't until a trade to the Pacers, that we got to really see how great O'Neal could be. A 6 time all star, injuries kind of shortened his impact in the league, still a solid NBA player and still one of the better cards in the set.
So there you have it, I still like this class a lot, and for awhile this class looked damn near unbeatable. All these guys had their moment in the sun, but basically it comes down to Kobe, Ray Allen, Allen Iverson, and Steve Nash as the cream of the crop....which isn't bad to say the least. The Topps Chrome set of 96-97 has cemented it's legacy in basketball card history, and it's a set that will always stand the test of time.
Friday, July 29, 2011
Kobe Chrome. Back in Kobe's first couple of seasons, those two words were universally known. It's the card that put Topps Chrome on the map. It helped turn the 96-97 set from a one note retail only set to a modern day 86-87 Fleer with Kobe leading the way of a star studded rookie class. This card was on FIRE during Kobe's peak in his first couple years, and the entire Topps Chrome product was as well. It's still a highly desirable card, it's not only Kobe's best rookie card, it's one of the best rookie cards to own in all sports. To think, a parallel of the 96-97 base Topps set would end up being Kobe's crown jewel. This is definitely a great card to start up the top 30 cards of my collection.
Thursday, July 28, 2011
Top 100 Cards of My Collection Honorable Mention: 03/04 Bowman Rookie and Stars Signs of the Future Dwyane Wade
If I didn't have the SPX auto rookie, this card would've definitely made it somewhere on the countdown. It's an on card rookie issued autograph of one of the best NBA players in the game today. It was also one of the first auto's of Wade out there and I remember paying a little over 10 bucks for this when they first came out (in contrast I paid $75 for Carmelo Anthony). It's also one of the rare autographs that depicts Wade in college. It might not be an official rookie card but it's still a slick autograph of Flash. Definitely worthy of honorable mention status.
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
The class of 03/04 will go down as one of the best classes and in recent memory rivals 96-97 in terms of star power. LeBron, Carmelo, Wade, and Bosh have all proven to be superstars and multiple time all stars. Though LeBron is the supposed face of the league, it's Dwyane Wade who is more decorated. Wade is already an NBA Champion and NBA Finals MVP and Wade wasn't really the one being questioned about his performance in the finals against the Mavs. Here's one of Wade's best rookie cards at #31, his SPX Auto/Jersey rookie. SPX has always been one of the most coveted brands for rookie cards in basketball and with the 03/04 class, it was no doubt these cards would definitely be on top of collector's want lists. The cards aren't too scarce, (numbered to 750), but are still desirable rookie cards and the Wade is 2nd of course to LeBron. Mine is a PSA 9 to boot, and though I don't base buying cards on grading, this one just happened to graded. This card is a perfect triple threat, it's a rookie card, autograph and memorabilia card all rolled into one. Definitely a winning card of a winning player.
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Here are the other cuts I have in my collection that didn't quite make the cut, so to speak
2009 Razor Cut Signatures Sports Icons James "Cool Papa" Bell
One of my favorite nicknames ever, Cool Papa Bell was one of the greatest stars in the Negro Leagues
2008 SP Legendary Cuts Fall Classic Signature Cuts Carl Hubbell
A Hall of Famer pitcher, Hubbell is most fondly remembered for striking out Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons, and Joe Cronin in a row in the 1934 All Star Game. All five Hall of Famers
2008 Playoff National Treasures All Pros Cut Signature Clyde "Bulldog" Turner
One of the earliest stars of the Chicago Bears, "Bulldog" played both center and linebacker for the Chicago Bears in the 40's and early 50's
Monday, July 25, 2011
When Upper Deck came out with SP Legendary Cuts in 2001, the set was revolutionary. Never had there been an entire insert set dedicated to autograph cuts of deceased MLB players. Since it's inception, it's always been a popular product, and though UD no longer has a MLB license they still produced an SP Legendary Cuts set this year, just without images depicting the players. This card comes from the 2009 set and really the only knock is that there is no picture of former Tiger great and Hall of Famer Hank Greenberg. This is one of the 14 Greenberg cuts in the set. Greenberg was a major star in the 30's and 40's and probably would be an even bigger star in his own right but he only played 9 full seasons as he served the military for 45 months. This is definitely the best cut signature I own in my collection and even despite the lack of a picture it's still an amazing card of one of baseball's greatest stars of the early years.
Sunday, July 24, 2011
Just a couple things this week to showcase
2004 Leaf Certified Materials Mirror White Lou Gehrig Pants
Combination of one of my favorite looking sets and Lou Gehrig memorabilia made me want to add this to my collection. Card looks better in person than in the scan. Awesome card numbered to 25.
2011 Topps Allen & Ginter's Rudy Ruettiger Relic
I know Topps Allen & Ginter's is a very popular set, I've never collected it, in fact I believe this card is the only one in my collection. I was browsing through auctions and had no clue Rudy was in the set much less had a relic card. Thought it would be a interesting card to add to my collection.
Thursday, July 21, 2011
Kobe's been MIA so far on the countdown, so i figured I'd show off my only patch card of him which happens to come from the same set as the MJ that I showed yesterday.
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
It's been a while since we've seen MJ on the countdown but here he is again at #33 with a nice three color patch card from SP Game Used Edition. This card was the very first patch card I bought of MJ and it's a beauty. Numbered to 100, this card comes from the 1 game used card a pack SP Game Used Edition that at the time was a pretty novel idea. Nowadays most people could care less about regular jersey cards, but at the time it was still a treat getting around 6 game used cards a box. I might be in the minority, but I like Wizards game used stuff of MJ almost as much as Bulls stuff. Multi-color patches are always great and it's a nice sized swatch as well. It's very hard to go wrong with MJ memorabilia, especially great patch card like this one.
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Top 100 Cards of My Collection Honorable Mention: 2003 SP Authentic Splendid Swatches Pairs Ted Williams/Ken Griffey Jr
Here's another combo game used card with Griffey paired with another baseball legend, this time Teddy Ballgame. In 2003, SP Authentic included a Ted Williams memorabilia set called Splendid Swatches which combined Ted Williams with various other stars of the game, including Mark McGwire, Mickey Mantle, Sammy Sosa, Nomar Garciaparra, and even Jason Giambi. Of course the one I went for was the Griffey combo. I think a couple reasons this card didn't make it were it's not that rare (406 copies were made) and the Ted Williams swatch is actually from a pair of game used pants, not jersey, unlike the Mantle which came from a game used jersey. Still nonetheless, a real cool card and awesome combination of two of the greatest stars of all time.
Monday, July 18, 2011
Top 100 Cards of My Collection #34 2001 SP Authentic UD Exclusives Game Jersey Combo Mickey Mantle/Ken Griffey Jr
You combine one of the greatest Yankee players of all time with my favorite baseball player of all time and what do you get? An awesome card at the #34 spot. Here's a dual jersey card of Mickey Mantle and Ken Griffey Jr that was issued as part of the UD Exclusives set out of 2001 SP Authentic. There are various combinations of jersey cards featuring Griffey, Mantle, and Dimaggio in this set. When I saw this card on Ebay a few years ago I knew I had to own it. This card in particular is a short print with only 98 copies produced. The Mantle swatch is awesome because it contains the oh so popular pinstripe, which as I have stated countless times is a favorite of mine. The Griffey is a boring plain white swatch, but even a boring white swatch of game used jersey looks amazing when paired with Mickey Mantle.
Sunday, July 17, 2011
When thumbing through my collection I noticed I only had one memorabilia card of Patrick Ewing. Now when you think of Patrick Ewing you think New York Knicks. The two go hand in hand. No one defined the New York Knicks in the mid 80's all the way through the 90's like Patrick Ewing did. Yet here's a jersey card, a dual one nonetheless that features two swatches from Patrick Ewing game used jerseys. Yet neither one of them is from a Knick jersey. The card comes from 01-02 Fleer Focus Jersey Edition and it's from the Trading Places set. It's easy to forget that Patrick Ewing didn't finish his career with the Knicks. In fact he did play for two more teams before calling it a career. Ewing would be traded to the Sonics before the 2000 season and then to the Magic where he played for one season before announcing his retirement. Already nearing the end of his Hall of Fame career, his two non Knick seasons were pretty underwhelming, but it did give Fleer an opportunity to create this card featuring Ewing worn Sonics and Magic jersey swatches. Now, I haven't done much research but this might be the only card created that uses Magic and Sonic jerseys. I think it's pretty cool, because there has to be less game used jerseys from his Magic and Sonic playing days than his Knicks. I'll eventually pick up a Ewing Knicks game worn jersey card cause it's only natural to want to add one, but this card will always standout to me because it's so weird and surreal to see Ewing not only donning two different jerseys besides his New York Knicks uniform but to have a card containing those two other game used jerseys.
Saturday, July 16, 2011
One of those light mail weeks, but still got some good stuff. here we go!!
2005 Bowman Chrome Draft Ryan Braun Auto RC
Finally was able to pick one of these up to add to my collection. Been wanting it for a while now but kept getting outbid. Cool thing is I had Ebay bucks so it only cost me like 20 bucks out of pocket.
Ernie Banks Signed Baseball With Mr Cub Inscription JSA Certified
It's always nice to add a sweet autograph to the collection especially of someone like Hall of Famer Ernie Banks. Love the Mr Cub inscription as well!
Topps Heritage II Shawn Michaels Autograph
One of the greatest wrestlers in WWE history, picked this up to add to my wrestling collection. Despite being a sticker autograph, still think it's a nice card.
Friday, July 15, 2011
When you talk about the ultimate champion in any sport, one of the first names to come to mind has got to be Bill Russell. Two NCAA championships with the University of San Fransisco, a Gold Medal in the 1956 Olympics and of course he was a 11 time World Champion including an amazing streak of 8 in a row with the Boston Celtics. A five time MVP, 12 time all star, and numerous more awards, Bill Russell has one of the most impressive resumes in any sport in the world. A basketball collection cannot be complete without a Bill Russell autograph and that's why this autograph makes it on to the countdown at #35. Russell used to be a notorious hard signer and his signature used to be one of the rarest ones to get. Over the years though, Russell softened his stance and now his autographs while still a little pricey are way more affordable than they used to be and that's great for collectors who want to obtain an autograph of the Celtic great. Yes, mine is a sticker autograph, which is probably the only weakness of this great card numbered to 100, but I'll take any kind of certified autograph of Bill Russell any day of the week.
Thursday, July 14, 2011
With so many legends that have appeared from ever sport on this countdown, from Ruth, Gehrig, Mantle, Payton, Jordan etc, it's shocking that one hasn't and will not appear at all. Roberto Clemente has 0 cards on my top 100 list, yet probably leads the way with most honorable mentions without having a card on the countdown with 5. His 1973 Topps (his last ever card while still active) 66 Topps and Hats Off game used Hat from Famous Fabrics all were considered for this countdown, but ultimately didn't make the cut. Here are the 4th and 5th cards of Clemente not to make the cut, both game used jersey cards. Both actually come from 2001 products, with the 1971 All Star Game Salute coming from Upper Deck, and the Rookie Reprint coming from Topps obviously. Both feature game used jersey swatches of Clemente (one grey and one a creamish color). Both definitely warranted consideration because they feature game used material from one of the biggest legends that ever played the game. I would give the slight edge to the rookie reprint card because I think it's cool that Topps combined a relic swatch with one of the most historic rookie cards in baseball. My Clemente's might not have cracked the top 100, but I still consider them great cards in my collection and am definitely proud to showcase them here.
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Mickey Mantle makes his countdown debut here at #36 with a gorgeous 6 piece relic card from Topps Sterling. Any time you can get a game used card of Mickey Mantle, it's awesome, but a 6 piece relic card? Amazing. The card commemorates Mantle's Career World Series home runs by spelling out 18 WS HR (18 World Series Home Runs) an amazing feat by one of the greatest players of all time. It contains three bat pieces, two grey material pieces, and a swatch featuring a Yankee pinstripe, which is definitely a favorite of mine when it comes to game used of Yankee greats. Also, the overall design of the card is nice, you can definitely tell it comes from a higher end product. The card is also numbered to only 10 copies (mine is 5 of 10). All the right combinations for my 36th favorite card in my collection.
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Top 100 Cards of My Collection Honorable Mention 2009 Ultimate Collection Legendary Six Jerseys Aikman/Staubach/Bradshaw/Marino/Elway/Tarkenton
This is definitely one of those cards that belongs on my countdown. I had a very difficult time keeping this one off. I mean a 6 player combo jersey card of some of the greatest QB's of all time all one card? Just pure awesomeness. I'm gonna be very biased because both Aikman and Staubach are on this card and even if this card was just a triple jersey card ,each side would be awesome. I love these Ultimate Collection multi-jerseys that came out in 2009. They are very nicely done and you cannot complain about the player selection obviously. John Elway, Dan Marino, Fran Tarkenton, Terry Bradshaw, and of course my two Cowboys. All 6 Hall of Famers. This would've definitely made it, if it was the patch version. The only other reason that I might have kept this off was two plain white swatches for Marino and Aikman, and that's really being nit picky. Not every card I love can make the top 100, but this one is well deserving of an honorable mention.
Monday, July 11, 2011
Top 100 Cards of My Collection #37 2006 Playoff Absolute Memorabilia Tools of the Trade Walter Payton Shoe/Patch
Sweetness makes his 3rd appearance on the countdown with this beauty of a card. Playoff Absolute Memorabilia in both football and baseball always had a knack for having some of the slickest looking memorabilia cards. This is from the 2006 football set and the reason it's my favorite memorabilia card of Walter Payton is that it features not only a patch of Payton's game used jersey but a piece of shoe as well. I've seen numerous Walter Payton jersey cards, but I've honestly never seen many shoe cards of him. It's the uniqueness of owning a card that contains a piece of game used cleat from Walter Payton that makes this one of my favorite cards in my collection. That along with the nice shiny design of the card plus my card is #1 out of 25 all add up to why this is #37 on my countdown.
Sunday, July 10, 2011
2006 Bowman Chrome Draft Evan Longoria Autograph
I've been eyeing this card for a while and finally was able to win it. Longoria's first Bowman Chrome card. Being a PSA 9 isn't bad to boot.
2004 Bowman Chrome Felix Hernandez Auto RC
Another card I've been sorta chasing for a while. I love Bowman Chrome Auto rookies, and here's a nice one of King Felix.
2009 UD Ballpark Collection Swatch Auto Josh Hamilton
I won this card a couple weeks ago and it finally came in, my first Hamilton autograph. I hope Hamilton won't beat himself up over what happened earlier this week in Arlington. After he hit a walk off home run last night, it doesn't look like it will.
1959 Topps Hank Aaron BVG 4
Had to get my vintage fix and got this cool 59 Aaron for pretty cheap.
1960 Topps Ernie Banks
Nice vintage pickup of "Mr. Cub" Ernie Banks
2011 Leaf Pop Century Smash Hit Signatures Ice-T
Had to add a little something to my entertainment collection so I added rapper/actor Ice-T's autograph from the new Leaf Pop Century set.
Famous Fabrics Milestones Hank Aaron
It's another Famous Fabrics addition! This is of Hank Aaron and it contains a large blue swatch from a game worn Atlanta Braves jersey.
92-93 Stadium Club Michael Jordan
I love being able to pickup cheap stuff combined with free shipping. This is one of my favorite base cards ever and I hadn't owned it until now. It's hard to win stuff on Ebay when shipping is usually a minimum of 2 bucks and I'm not gonna pay four bucks for base card, but a little over a buck with no shipping ,count me in!
94-95 Upper Deck Shawn Kemp Slam Dunk Stars Shaquille O'Neal
Another mid 90's Shaq insert to add to the collection
85 cents for the Big Dog's best rookie card. Not too shabby in my eyes.
I love the SPX sets of all sports, and this was a great and cheap addition to the collection
Another mid 90's Shaq insert to add to the collection
85 cents for the Big Dog's best rookie card. Not too shabby in my eyes.
I love the SPX sets of all sports, and this was a great and cheap addition to the collection
Friday, July 8, 2011
It was inevitable that this day was coming, but it looks like Yao Ming is going to be retiring after 8 seasons in the NBA. Yao was the #1 pick in the 2002 draft and was pegged to not only be the next dominant big man in the league, but also make a huge presence for the league worldwide. Yao would unfortunately not really live up to the hype, not because he wasn't good, when he was on the floor was a great, he was just too injury prone. After 3 healthy seasons, Yao started to get hurt and would only play more the 75 games once more in his career in 2008. He missed all of the 09-10 season with a foot injury then came back to only play in 5 games this past season. The writing was on the wall, and it's a shame cause when healthy he definitely was one of the best centers in the league. Yes his 8 all star starts are little suspect due to the fan votes coming in from China, but Yao was still an All Star caliber player. It's a shame it had to end this way, I would've loved to see Yao reach his full potential and possibly become an all time great. We'll never know now.
What are your thoughts of Yao Ming's Career?
Thursday, July 7, 2011
Top 100 Cards of My Collection #38 09-10 SP Game Used Tag Team Quads Lebron James/Emeka Okafor/Brandon Roy/Kevin Durant
The deeper we get in the countdown the more awesome the cards get. Here at #38 is a Quad Laundry Tag Patch from 09-10 SP Game Used. This beauty is numbered to 10 (mine being 7/10). I don't necessarily understand why these four were paired together, but any card that has both Kevin Durant and LeBron James is definitely a winner. Okafor is probably the most puzzling of the four yet he has one of the better patch pieces. Upper Deck really went all out on it's SP Game Used set, as there are an abundance of different player combinations in both the dual and quad variety. Making it this high is pretty good and the only reason it's not higher is a couple of the swatches are bland one color (in contrast my Karl Malone/Gasol has part of the logoman and Reebok Logo) and Okafor's inclusion kind of hurts the star power, but all in all this is a great card from a great set.