Monday, March 27, 2017

2016 Upper Deck Champions

I'm not much for collecting sports other than baseball but, as a multi-sport set, I've always liked Goodwin Champions. It's been hard to find. I haven't seen it in a store since 2014. I managed to get the entire 100-card 2016 base set on eBay for less than 10 cents a card. The set has 150 cards but cards 101-150 are short printed with a black background.

Although there are 150 cards only 50 people are represented. Here's card #1 and #51

The first 50 cards are repeated on 51-100 but in a horizontal format. Cards 101-150 have the same people, in a third photo, but in a different order. I kind of like the idea but I think it would have been better if one card showed a pose, maybe out of uniform, and the second showed an action shot. This comes close to what I'm thinking of.

Baseball is woefully under represented and there are no American football cards at all. Tom Glavin is the only baseball player in the set.

Golf is over represented with 7 different golfers, including Tiger Woods. All of the golfing photos show the player in his or her back swing, except for Woods. They could have dropped a few golfers for baseball players in my opinion.

She appears to be teeing off from the outfield in Wrigley Field.

There are a lot of other sports included: archery, climbing, fitness, boxing, MMA (3), wrestling, field hockey, rugby (3), ice hockey (5), skiing, track and field (3), motor sports (5), swimming and diving.

Most of the ice hockey players are in suits on both cards.

The cards are nice. They are printed on heavy card stock, with no gloss or foil. The design is simple, reminding me of the best of Allen and Ginter. The design is way better than the 2014 design.

In past years, Goodwin Champions included non-sports figures but this year there was only one.

Her claim to fame is that she appeared in the 2008 Sports Illustrated Swim Suit issue. The 10-year-old card collector in me is always happy to get sports cards with girls on them and there were plenty in this set. I always like to look up the Wikipedia entries for the people on cards like this. You never know what you're going to learn. According to her Wikipedia entry "Baker is considered curvaceous".

Here are a few more cards I like from the set.

Hall of Fame basketball player John Havlicek with a football.

One of two water polo players in the set. Azevedo is captain of the US National Men's Water Polo Team.

Here's another example of how I'd have liked this set to go.

Loring taught Jennifer Lawrence to shoot for the "Hunger Games" movies.

Enders, from Houston, started racing when she was 8.

She is a professional CrossFit athlete. I didn't know there was such a thing.

And finally, according to Wikipedia, Vaughn Gittin is a self-taught professional drifter. Which is apparently some sort of motor sport.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Born in Hong Kong

Here's something you don't see every day, a baseball card for a player born in Hong Kong.

As near as I can tell, Austin Brice is the only baseball player ever, born in Hong Kong. Too bad his Wikipedia page is silent as to how he came to be born there, or how he came to live in the US. He was drafted out of a high school in North Carolina.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Movie Review - Kong Skull Island

Hey kids, let's make a new King Kong movie.

It's been a long 12 years since the last King Kong remake. Is this the remake you were waiting for?

I'll give nothing away by saying that the movie is about a giant ape fighting helicopters and giant lizards. And that's pretty much it.

There's a racially diverse cast of people to watch get killed in unpleasant ways.

Academy Award winner Brie Larson in on hand mainly because there has to be a woman in a King Kong movie and she can fill out a tee shirt pretty well.

Tom Hiddleson plays a mercenary guide hired apparently for his jungle tracking skills. Which would surly be needed on what was supposed to be a mapping survey of an unknown island.

Samuel L. Jackson is there because they needed a barely in control crazy guy to lead the obviously hopeless fight against Kong.

The movie was OK for what it was. The special effects were great. Kong was very life-like. The monster fights were, for the most part, whirlwinds of hard to follow activity.

Large stretches of the movie made little sense. The expedition arrives at Skull Island on board a ship with three helicopters parked on it. The ship can't get near shore because there is a permanent storm raging all around the island. So they plan to fly through the storm on the helicopters, which are Vietnam War era gun ships (the story takes place in 1973). The three helicopters take off and some how turn into a fleet of 13. Question: can the doors on helicopter gunships be closed? They fly into the storm with all the doors open, and somehow, everyone isn't soaking wet when they land.

Remember the 2014 movie "Godzilla"? Neither do I, but "Kong Skull Island", while not a sequel, is the second film in the "Monsterverse". The next film, due in 2020 will be called, wait for it, "Godzilla vs. King Kong".

The music is all "Apocalypse Now" with the Doors and Credence Clearwater Revival blaring loudly.

If you're the kind of person who likes to sit through the credits, you'll be rewarded, but you'll have to to have patience. I estimate that nearly 100,000 people were involved in the making of this movie and every single one of them is named in the credits.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Trade with The Angels, In Order

A couple of weeks ago I got an email from Tom over at The Angels, In Order requesting access to my 1990's Phillies Google docs spreadsheet. The result? 23 Phillies cards for me, and, for Tom, some cards off his want list.  Here are the highlights (thanks Tom).

1990 Fleer League Leaders #21 Ricky Jordan

Fleer produced a lot of these 44-card boxed sets in the late 1980s and early 1990s. They were mostly distributed in chain drugstores and the like. I don't remember ever seeing them for sale. Ricky Jordan was one of a number of projected great Phillies from that period who never amounted to much.

1992 Stadium Club Dome #100 John Kruk

The last Phillie I needed from this set.

1992 Upper Deck Minors #68 Tyler Green

There were a lot of Phillies in this set. Even with the 4 that Tom sent, I still need 6 more.

1993 Toys R Us #18 Dave Hollins

Another set I've never seen before. It's a 100-card set I presume was sold as a boxed set. I'd have bought it if I'd ever seen it. My kids were little in 1993 and I spent enough time in the store.

1994 Fleer Excel #246 Scott Rolen

A very nice, very early Scott Rolen card. A nice looking minor league set. Glossy front and back with a little gold foil on the front.

1996 Collector's Choice Silver 

1996 Ultra #519 Lenny Dykstra

Tom set 3 cards from this set. I actually had the Gold Medallion version of this card where the background is all gold. Without the background it wasn't clear what Dykstra was doing in this photo.

1998 Pinnacle Mint #30 Scott Rolen

The only Phillie in this set. I only had a couple of card and coins from 1998 Pinnacle Mint but I didn't have any of the matched coins and card. In an earlier trade with Tom (in 2011) he had sent me this:

1998 Pinnacle Mint Bronze #30 Scott Rolen

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Repack Bang or Bust Part 3

There was nothing new in the local target so I bought this.

4 packs, 50 loose cards and a bonus for $7.99. Through the windows on the front and back of the box we can see that 2 of the packs are 2016 Topps Heritage and 2016 Topps Gypsy Queen. 

I didn't buy a whole lot of Topps Heritage last year. There were 9 cards in the pack. I needed 4 of 8 base cards. There was one insert.

This is a Topps Heritage 1967 Stand Up. Presumably the original 1967 card was a punch out thing that made a creepy standing head. This was the only non-relic, non-auto insert from 2016 Topps Heritage I didn't have so along with 4 base cards, this pack is a bang.

I bought even less of 2016 Topps Gypsy Queen. There were 4 base cards in the pack and I needed 3 of them. The 4th card was an Astro I don't mind getting a dup of. There was also a mini card as expected. And then there was this.

An on-card autograph card. I can't say I knew who this guy was even though he played 3 years for the Astros (2011-2013) and finished last season with the Phillies. He appears to be an extra outfielder who doesn't hit. But an autograph is an autograph and I didn't have any of these from 2016 Gypsy Queen. This pack was a total bang.

The two hidden packs were 2015 Series 1 Topps. Not promising since I already have the whole set. These two packs were a total bust. Not even a card I didn't mind having a dup of. There was one insert in each. Both were the Topps Highlight of the Year cards. 

Fernando certainly had a great year in 1981. I remember his 8-game winning streak to start the season. I also remember that his first loss was to the Phillies. I remember listening to the game on the radio. I had to look it up to get the details. The Phillies beat the Dodgers 4-0 in LA that night. Marty Bystrom, of all people, got the win.

Another great pitcher but of whom I have no personal memories.

Of the 50 loose cards I needed 22 of them. I usually figure if I get close to 50% needs on something like this I'm ahead, especially if I get some players I collect that I need. So the loose cards are also a bang. Nothing especially exciting however.

A relatively early A Rod card from 1997 Upper Deck.

1994 SP. Two cards I needed that are on foil board, which I hate. I wonder why Cone is wearing a green hat. Spring training game on St. Patrick's Day perhaps? I know the Phillies have done such a thing.

1994 Bowman's Best. Utilizing Topps' still new 'Chrome' technology, this is way better than foil board.

I guess Greg Luzinski's son seemed like a good bet. The Dodgers made him their #1 draft pick in 1992. He was a catcher in their minor league system at the same time the Dodgers had some guy named Mike Piazza. Ryan played in the minors until 1999 but never was able to crack into the majors.

And the bonus? 

I think this thing is called a Teeny Mate. It's made by Topps. I bought a few and have gotten a few in this type of repack before. I've 8 of them now sitting in front of my computer monitor.

All in all, mainly based on the autograph, I'll call this repack a bang.