Friday, July 31, 2015

Mike James continued...where did those cards come from?

So a few days ago I posted that I'm collecting all the Mike James (literally all of them - if you have a card of a guy named Mike James, send it my way).  I figured it might be nice to let you know where the first few cards came from!

The two base Mike James (basketball) came from Bo of Baseball Cards Come to Life in his big old basketball lot, and pretty much singlehandedly kick started the collection:

The James (football) auto and James (baseball auto) both came from Dennis of the Too Many blogs, after he mentioned the baseball guy:
(Doesn't the baseball guy have an awesome sig?  Shame that's the only card that ever used it...)

And then the James (football) plate and James (basketball) serial #'d card were bought by me on COMC.  After Dennis pointed out that the plate was available:
And so it goes.  Hopefully many more Mike James to come!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Mike James Collection (Yes, all three of them)

Mike James (and Mike James, and Mike James): 10/348 cards (0.1% total)

Once again, it all starts with video games.  When we weren't playing Madden or Fifa, my brothers and I played NBA video games, and I was always the scrappy PG passing off to my brothers.  Many times I picked Tyronn Lue, who I've collected before and will probably collect again.  His backup, however, was typically Mike James, former streetballer and three point specialist:

Much later on, I played fantasy football and found a new Mike James.  He was a RB for the Buccaneers, and though their backfield was crowded, he was insanely talented and I found myself rooting for him and rostering him:

One day, a few months ago, I pondered supercollecting these two guys and calling it the Mike James collection.  I mentioned it to Dennis of the Too Many blogs, and he said "Would you include the baseball player too?"  I said, "There's a baseball player?"  And what do you know, there was!

And it all just seemed too perfect - one basketball player, one football player, and one baseball player, and no one else (Well, there's one football card listed in the 1995 R.E.L. set, #214, but I'll believe that when I see it).

And so the Mike James Collection was born.

Listed below are all of the Mike James cards I have, by year, with sports mixed together (the only years that overlap are 1995, 2001, and 2002).  I've scanned every card I have for you to see.  If you have something that isn't here, I need it, and we need to make a deal!

1988 - 0/1

1989 - 0/1

1990 - 0/2

1991 - 0/2

1992 - 0/2

1993 - 0/3

1994 - 0/1

1995 - 0/3

1996 - 1/6
1996 Leaf Signature Extended Autographs #88 (Autographed)

1997 - 0/9

1998 - 0/9

2001 - 0/7

2002 - 0/7

2003 - 0/2

2004 - 0/15

2005 - 3/45
2005-06 Bowman Draft Picks and Stars Chrome X-Fractor #31 (Serial /150)
Not Yet Scanned
2005-06 Topps #138
2005-06 Topps Big Game 99 #107 (Serial /99)

2006 - 3/136
2006-07 Topps Trademark Moves Trademark Swish Wood #TSW-6 (Serial /75)
Not Yet Scanned
2006-07 Topps Trademark Moves Trademark Swish Wood #TSW-6 (Serial /35)
Not Yet Scanned
2006-07 Topps Trademark Moves Wood #45 (Serial /75)

Not Yet Scanned

2007 - 0/80

2009 - 1/18
2009-10 Panini #149


2013 -  1/78
2013 Panini Contenders #169A (Autographed)


2014 - 1/55
2014 Score Printing Plates Cyan #213 (Serial 1/1)

2015 - 0/1

Monday, July 27, 2015

Cowboys Heads up Quad - A tale of four boys from Dallas

So I just watched North Dallas Forty the other day, and it was a pretty good flick - I didn't realize Nick Nolte had such acting chops back in the day before he became somewhat of a caricature.  It's fitting, as a result, that I post this Heads up Quad of the Cowboys that I picked up in my most recent COMC lot.  It's got on sweet patch, three plain ones, and four stories of NFL careers gone...something or other.

Here's the front:
Michael Wiley was an Ohio State kid, picked in the 5th round in 2000 by the Cowboys.  They thought about turning him into a slot wide receiver, but that didn't work, and he ended up a career third down back/special teamer with just over 500 career rushing yards and 3 touchdowns.  He was waived after the 2002 season and never played again.

Troy Hambrick had lower expectations placed on him at first, but rose to higher heights.  He was undrafted in 2000, and started slow, but did enough in 2001 and 2002 that the Cowboys used him as their replacement for Emmitt Smith when he moved on to Arizona.  Hambrick was okay, with 972 yards on 275 carries and 5 touchdowns, but the Cowboys let him go at the end of the season.  He was briefly a Raider, was then traded to the Cardinals for Peppi Zellner where he played his last NFL football, and then was basically done.  He had trouble with the law in the mid 2000's and ended up serving 5 years in prison for selling crack, but has since gotten out and semi-turned his life around, so this story has a somewhat happy ending.

Here's the back of the card, with that aforementioned patch:
Darren Wooson is a 5 time Pro Bowler and 3 time First Team All Pro - why he's on this card, I do not know.  He was a 2nd round pick in 1992, and proved well worth it, as he could play the run equally as well as the pass and helped the team win numerous championships.  He has been mentioned as a potential Hall of Famer off and on since 2008, and I wouldn't be surprised if he made it in some day.

Anthony Wright is a GSNHOF favorite, but obviously not anywhere close to Woodson's level.  The Steelers actually signed him as an undrafted free agent in 1999, but the Cowboys quickly signed him in 2000 to back up Quincy Carter.  He saw six starts in three years with the team, with mixed success.  Clint Stoerner (another GSNHOF fave, I loved the crappy early 00's Cowboy QBs) was a constant thorn in Wright's side and took his spot on the roster in 2003 when the Cowboys cut Wright.

Wright ended up in Baltimore in 2003, and had 14 starts in three years there, including a very solid 5-2 run in 2003.  He then kind of faded though, and spent two years as a backup in Cincy and with the Giants before retiring.

Who wins the cards?  Clearly Darren Woodson.  Then Anthony Wright, then Troy Hambrick, then Michael Wiley.  Rarely is a quad jersey card so easily placable from 1-4.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

I Choo-Choo-Choose You: My first four Choo printing plates

So a while back, Dennis mentioned that he was bidding on some stuff for me on Ebay.  He mentioned he won a pretty big lot of Shin-Soo Choo plates (which was amazing!) and that there were a few others still around too.  The end result was me getting 4 Shin-Soo Choo plates in the span of like thirty Ebay minutes.  Insane, right?  I'll show them all of here.

The first is the one plate Dennis didn't get.  When he said some were still around, I quickly sorted Choo plates by time left, and found this one with a few minutes to go.  It was a decent price, and it's got Choo featured on the Reds, which is how I prefer to remember the guy, so it's definitely an awesome get!
All that said, his eyes are REALLY CREEPY here.  It kind of cracks me up.  I love the yellow band here up at the top too - it really shows that used quality which is cool to see in plates.

The back is your typical looking back for a plate:
I love when they detail the set like that - always a plus.  I do wonder about the "Online Exclusive Trading Cards" piece, because I didn't realize there was a regular vs. online difference.  If so I guess there would be 8 mini plates?  Can anyone shine any light on that weirdness?

So that shipped straight to me quickly.  The other plates shipped to Dennis first, then he sent them my way - and now they are here in all their beauty.  They are:

Red

Cyan

and Yellow

plates from 2014 Topps Triple Threads.  Which means this is the first plate set ever where I have 3 of the 4 plates (only missing the black).  The backs look really cool together too:

Obviously getting 4 plates in one day is huge for my Choo collection, and once again I have Dennis to thank for it!  Thanks man, and hopefully I can track down that black Threads plate someday to make this awesome collection whole!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

FIELD TRIP!: A Very, Very Delayed Futures/Celebrity Softball Game Recap (I got a really cool autograph too!)

Awww yeah...bringing back the blog segment that has been dead for 6 years.  Could the name hall of fame be far behind?  Eh...don't hold your breath...but maybe lol.

So the All Star Game was in Cincinnati this year, and I really really wanted to go to something.  After all, how often does the All Star Game come to your city?  Problem was, tickets to the game itself were like $300+ each for nosebleeds.  And with homerun derby tickets it was like $150+ for nosebleeds.

So I decided pretty early that I wanted to go to the Futures Game and the Celebrity Softball game.  Two games for the price of one (I had never been to a professional double header in my life), so that was really cool.  But since the tickets were cheapish, I also wanted to sit really close.  Like Row A, on the field.  And we did - here were our seats, not too far down the first base line:
My wife took the pictures, so I don't have any of the Futures game (typical).  But it was awesome.  It was drizzling throughout, but never rained enough to delay anything, and the players were pretty great too.  Jose Berrios and Lucas Giolito started out throwing zeroes, and it continued that way a while until the overmatched World team pitchers kind of lost control in the later innings.  Cubs super prospect (and all around giant human being) broke things open with a generous triple (really a double with an error) that knocked in two and made the game 3-1.  Then Josh Bell crushed a homerun, and late inning contributions from J.P. Crawford and Trea Turner (who is going to be an amazing major league shortstop) put the game far out of reach.

For me, some of the coolest parts of the game were the defense.  Crawford made a leaping grab at one point at shortstop, and later on Raul Mondesi Jr. one upped him with a great play behind 2nd base.  Then Arcia (some Colorado prospect) made the play of the day on a surefire single up the middle, twisting and twirling and hurling to first for an amazing out.  It was pretty cool to see up close.

After all that awesome, they got ready for the Celebrity game.  Which started with a gross country concert (ugh) but then ended up with celebrities right in front of us playing catch.  Like Nick Lachey here:
That was pretty darn cool, and set the tone for a nice little game.  It started really boring actually, but Snoop Dogg refused to let that continue as he tried stretching a single into a double and was called out on a close call.  He argued it, they challenged it, the crowd screamed "Safe, Safe, Safe" and the call was reversed.  Fans cheered like crazy, and from then on the game was great.  Vlad Guerrero got MVP for going 4/4 with 4 epic homers, and he was clearly the best, but Snoop was great too - he hustled like crazy, his hat fell off a bunch, he even relieved Jennie Finch - he was amazing.

My wife likes to take pictures of player's butts when we're sitting close, so she did that during the celebrity game.  Her favorite was Snoop:

Her least favorite was urban Meyer, who was booed mercilessly by the fans.  Like, Andy Dalton was booed a lot...this guy was booed on another level:

The coolest part of the celebrity game though was definitely the fan interaction of Josh Hutcherson, aka Peeta from The Hunger Games.  He played right field at one point, and unlike a lot of the celebs interacted with the fans a lot.  He was running over and letting people take selfies with him between pitches, but also crazy focused on the game, running back when the ball was hit and even making a play or two.  After that inning he walked down the line taking pics with people, and after he high fived my wife I asked if we could get an autograph too.  He said sure, and so my Jose Lopez autographed ball:

gained a second signature to be friends with:

All in all, an amazing day.  So I'd say, fellow bloggers, if the All Star Game is ever in your city, and you want a good time but don't want to spend all your monies on one seat, go to the Futures/Celebrity game combo.  The tickets are pretty cheap, the games are awesome, and you might even get a free concert in between (but hopefully it's not country!).