Saturday, March 31, 2012

TTM Success Current MLB Network Analyst and Former Brewers Pitcher Dan Plesac

The last of my great mailday TTM returns was the last one from the first batch I sent out at the end of Feburary. I send requests to Teddy Higuera, Tim McIntosh and Sterling Sharpe as well.  Well Dan was the last to come in from that first batch but I'm glad they're here.  I'm also happy to have batted 100% for my first round of TTM to sports guys.  I do plan on sending more requests out to current players, but it's just so much fun to hit up guys I use to watch and show them a little love.

I sent Dan 3 cards and a nice Letter saying how much I enjoyed watching him as a kid and how much I love his views on the MLB.  Which I do and did.  He was nice enough to sign and return all three cards.  Like I said earlier I've decided to limit myself to one or two cards only from now on, but it's nice these guys don't mind signing all three.

Dan signed in a thin Sharpe or felt tip and while I would have preferred a thicker Sharpe, it's a beautiful signature well placed on the card.  Dan's a pro.

Next up is probably my card for my Topps TTM project, yes the idea was blatantly stolen from The Lost Collector.

1991 Topps

I also sent along a 1989 mainly because I can't resist this set.  I don't know what it is about the 1989 design, but it's one of my favorites from the junk wax era.  I think Teddy Higuera's autographed 89 geta the spot in the project, but this is still a super nice addition to the TTM collection.

Address used:
Dan Plesac
c/o MLB Network
40 Hartz Way, Suite 10
Secaucus, NJ 07094

Date sent 2/27/12
Date Returned 3/19/12

Thanks to Dan Pleasac for the great additions to my Brewers TTM collection.

Friday, March 30, 2012

TTM Success Cubs third base coach and former Brewers Shortstop Pat Listach

Continuing my great mail day with another former Shortstop and current Cubs coach.  I got Mr. Pat Listach.  Pat is currently the Cubs third base coach.  I actually got to see him during the Brewers/Cubs spring training game I went to this spring. I wasn't able to get his autograph then, but I decided to send all three former Brewers on the Cubs coaching staff TTM requests.  The only one I'm still waiting on is Chris Bosio.
It's Pat!!!

Anyways I sent Mr. Listach 3 cards, I decided to start limiting my TTM to two or less cards, but this round I sent out I was high on some recent returns and really couldn't decided which cards to send to these guys.  As luck would have it so far these guys have been great and have returned and signed everything I've sent.

Filling up the 94 spot on my Topps project.  I almost sent Pat the gold foil parallel version  of this one but I'm glad I didn't got to keep the collection pure.

1993 Score...

My favorite is this next one.

While 1994 Upper Deck is not one of my favorite sets, that squished black and white photo on the side seems silly, this card looks great autographed.

The stats:

Date Sent 3/19/12
Date Recieved: 3/29/12

Just 10 days great return!
Address used

Chicago Cubs
HoHoKam Park
1235 N. Center St.
Mesa, AZ 85201

Thanks to Mr. Listach for the great additions to my Brewers TTM collection.

TTM Success Cubs Manager and Former Brewers SS Dale Sveum

I had a nice mail day yesterday.  I got a few nice cards from my eBay buys and I also got 3 TTMs back.  I was pretty excited.

The first one I got back was former Brewers Shortstop and current manager for the Chicago Cubs Dale Sveum. Dale wasn't at the spring training game I was at so I figure I'd send a few cards to Hohokum Park in Mesa before the season began and I'm glad I did.

I'm slowly working on a new project blatently stolen from the Lost Collector's Yankees Topps Autograph project.  If you haven't checked out AJ's blog you should do so,  after you finish this post go HERE to check it out.

Anyways I sent Dale 3 cards, a nice Letter of Request and told him how happy I was he had gotten the Managers position and how sorry I was to see him leave the Brewers organization, yadda yadda yadda, all true by the way.  I was plesenatly surprised to get all three back signed very nicely.

While AJ was just trying to get every Topps card from 1952 to present signed by a different Brewer I'm trying not only Topps, but Fleer, Donruss, Upper Deck and even Score.

OK here are the cards...

1987 Topps.  I have a special place in my heart for 87 Topps as it's the first set I ever tried to put together.

1988 Fleer

And a 92 Fleer as well.  I really wish I'd have found a early Upper Deck to send instead of one of those Fleer cards but oh well.

Thank you Mr. Sveum for the great addition to my TTM Brewers collection.

Stats for this TTM

Address used
Chicago Cubs
HoHoKam Park
1235 N. Center St.
Mesa, AZ 85201

Date sent 3/19/12
Date recieved 3/29/12

Just 10 days!!!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Sports Card collecting is Dead, Long live sports card collecting!!!!!

I finally got to watch the 4 minute news piece that every one is all up in arms about.  You can go here to watch it if you haven't seen it yet.  That being said there has been a lot of talk around the industry about it.  I realize I'm a day late and dollar short, but while the piece was one sided, not incredibly well researched and reeks of short news day filler, it does raise a few good points.

I feel pretty lucky up here in the great white north.  I have two excellent local card shops that I get to visit when I have a little extra coin in my pocket.  And they both hold monthly trade nights, or they do most of the time.  There are a couple guys in town that put a card show together every now and then and they usually have to go in with the stamp and coin guys to fill up the tables.

So what is my take on the death of the industry?  I think it's been stated very well so far by lots of other bloggers, but it's about change.  Things change, industries evolve.  The fact that an industry that has been pretty much producing the same product or kinds of products for over 60 years and is still around is a pretty good sign.

Does anyone remember the uproar when Panini and Upper Deck decided to try out video cards?  Wow, talk about a firestorm of debate.  I for one was all for it.  Innovation is never a bad thing.  This is why automakers make concept cars.  Remember Topps Tek or Fleer E-X?

This industry like any other is evolving, consolidating and spawning new companies.  Remember when Panini was just an Italian sticker company?  Now it's one of the big 3.  Remember when Upper Deck made the best cards? Now they seem to barely be able to put out a few hockey issues a year. Have you seen what Leaf and In the Game have been putting out?  It's very promising.

Is the industry dying?  I don't know.  But is it better off than it was 7 years ago when the companies were putting out more than 100 different sets of various sports?  Probably not.  I think there has to be happy medium between the glut and the famine.  And I'll state it here again, I hate the idea of exclusivity.  I understand how it works in the companies favor, only competing with yourself, but for collectors it kinda sucks.

And in a time where people are losing their houses, are out of work, and in dire straights, an industry that lives solely on the disposable income of it's customers is going to suffer.

Sorry I'm kinda all over the place here.  The big thing I took from the news story was the lack of kids.  Kids who in theory would become adult collectors.  That's not usually how it works.  Kids grow up find girls, cars, lose interest, ect ect.  And then later find that box of old baseball cards in their parents basement and come back in.  I've read that scenario over and over again all over the blogosphere.  I think the huge popularity in the 80's and 90's is what is killed the industry of the 80's and 90's.  Because it wasn't just the sports card hobby that blew up in that time period, but comic books, stamps and coins all had  huge followings.  Look at all the mail order catalogs and shows going. Was it for the joy of the hobby?  Nope it was for the money.  Speculation, the quick buck, the next big thing.

Let's remember all those kids from the 80's and 90's, of which I am one, are the ones who are collector's now.  So when we were kids and got into the hobby, how much of investment did it take to jump in?  Not much really.  Your allowance could buy a few packs of cards, or if your parents were generous, lots of packs of cards, mine weren't that generous.  Even when things got crazy, packs of cards were still pretty cheap.  Of course there are still cheap packs of cards around today, but lets face it.  If your a kid today, do you want the base rookie of Stephen Strasburg, or do you want his autographed triple relic purple parallel numbered to 5?  Come on kids aren't dumb.

So the point of making is that when comparing the industry of yesterday to today, the industry of yesterday killed itself.  You will always compare the current to the best boomtime of an industry, but what if we compare the industry now to the 1970's or the early 80's.  I think you'll agree while the age demographic has changed on who's buying and total numbers of card production may be down, but companies are putting out fewer cards of higher quality.

Is the local card show dead? Yeah probably.  Why?  Well eBay is the short answer and Beckett.  You go to a card show and you're looking at a card.  It doesn't have a price on it so you ask about it. What's the first thing that dealer does?  Grabs a Beckett to look it up.  And if he wants to sell it he'll knock about 20 to 30% off the low book.  But if I can get that same card on ebay for 50, 60 or more off book why would I buy it at the show?  To support my local sellers?  Sure, but realistically I want the better deal and I know where I can get it.

Wow if you read all that and understood what I'm trying to say. Bravo.  I tend to ramble in my diatribes.

So in summary, my two cents, just my opinion here.....

You can't compare the industry of the late 80's and early 90's to today, it just not the same.  Second to say that kids will save in the industry or that we have to get kids back into the hobby to save the industry is just false.  Kids are going to do what they want, and kids don't have the money, so you can try and cater to the kids. In the end you have to cater to the parent.  And even if a child doesn't collect cards growing up who's to say that he or she won't discover the hobby later in life?  And yes the local card show might be a dinosaur about to sink into the tar pit.  It's unfortunate, but dinosaurs will die.

Character Building Series 1 Micro-Figures

So I'm taking a break from sports cards for a few posts and keeping with the same topic as the last post....

I know there are quite a few mini-figure collectors out there.  To be honest I'm just a fledgling collector.  But if you read the blog regularly you know I love the oddball and the mini.  I started doing some research on minifigures and it can get a little overwhelming.  There are the Lego Minifigures, Megablok minis, Kreons, Kenex has mini's as well, Kubricks and Minimates.  I'm sure I missed a few but the cool thing is there is so many subjects and genres there's really something for everybody.  The only mini's I haven't seen yet are the sports mini's.  Where are the mini Albert Pujols, Ryan Braun, Mickey Mantle?  I think someone is overlooking something here.  Anyways a while back I was checking out the card aisle at Target and noticed these in a gravity feed next to the Topps Series 1.  

I had no idea what these were about but for $1.99 I figured I grab a few.  Well that started a slippery slop and next thing you know I'm trying to complete the set.  For those of you who have never heard of CB's or Character Building, it's a British company that holds the license for Doctor Who and Deadly 60, which is a British nature show, and also put out a line of British military minis too.  You can find their website here.

JDNA is a Canadian import company. There website is here.

You'll notice if you click on either one, neither has any information on these mini's.  Since there is a Series 1, I guess we can assume there will be other Series' to follow. Maybe.

Here are the insert sheet that comes with each blind pack.

1 White Astronaut - Common
2 Orange Astronaut - Rare
3 Race Car Driver? - Common
4.Construction Worker - Rare
5. Black Soldier - Rare
6.White Soldier - Uncommon
7.Special Forces - Common
8 Red Ninja - Rare
9 Black Ninja - Common
10. Knight - Black with red trim and red cape - Rare
11. Knight - Red with black trim and black cape- Common
12. Zombie monster - Uncommon

First you'll notice there are as many "rare" minis as common and only 2 uncommon.  I'm only missing the Construction worker.

Lets have a look at the real figures.
 1. White Suit Astronaut - Common

This guy is actaully suppose to have a backpack but I forgot to put it on
Here he is with the backpack.  One other note.  These guys don't come with that base piece I stole that from a lego Mini figure.

2. Orange suited astronaut - rare.

3. Race Car Driver?  - Common
I think it's a race card driver.
 4. Construction Worker - Common 
Don't have yet.

5. Black Soldier - Rare

6. White Soldier - Common
The other neat thing about some of these figures is the hidden details you don't see.
Like the details on the soldiers shirt under his vest.  The black soldier has the same detail.
The white soldier looks like it's from the H.M. Armed Forces line, but looking at the Character Building website I don't see the black soldier in the set so it might be exclusive to this release.

7 Special Forces Soldier - Uncommon
This is another soldier not featured in the HM Armed Forces line.
This guy has the same detail under his vest.

8. Red Ninja - Rare
9. Black Ninja - common
10. Knight - Rare - Black with red trim and Red cape (Castle on Shield and Chest)
11. Knight - Common- Red with black trim and black cape with a Lion on shield and chest.
12 - Zombie - Uncommon

There you go.  If anyone has an extra construction worker I'd be willing to trade for it.  I have multiple white soldiers, special forces soldiers, white suited astronauts and an extra common knight.  If anyone sees Series 2 out let me know. I've started a new stand alone page to try and keep track of my mini's.

CB out.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Marvel MegaBlok Micro Action figures Series 1 and 2.

I found a small stash of these at a Wal-Mart in town.  Actually the Series 2 were in a Series 3 box, but after seeing the checklist for Series 3, I'd rather have Series 2 to choose from, since there's not too much on checklist I'm interested in Series 3.  Put I've got 3 figures from Series 1 and 3 from Series 2.  I'm pretty happy with the ones I got.
I'm a big fan of Iron Man from way back.  I was a big reader of the comic books back in the day, so if I had to pick two to get out of this series it would be Iron Man and War Machine.

But the first one I opened was the classic Spider-man.  Not too bad as I was/am a big spidey fan, so that's a nice one.  The detail and points of articulation on this mini's is awesome.  They look really good and each one somes with some accessory(s).  Each figure also comes with a nice thick display block.
I'm not sure what the thing on his back is suppose to be.  A web pack or something.

Next up...
IRON MAN!!!  Sweet one of the two I really wanted.
I'm a big fan of the original gold and red color scheme.
Next Up.....

Freaking War Machine.  To be honest I wouldn't mind finishing this series.  It seems it would be pretty easy to pick put the Green Goblin from packs with his glider, but the other two might be harder and I'm sure I'd just start getting doubles, so I'm probably done unless I can find these loose elsewhere.

I had thought about breaking this up into two posts, but figured screw it.  I'm sure I'm going to grab a few more of these packs, being a mini-figure and marvel fan.  I also just found out that Lego will be putting out Marvel based Mini-figures this year as well.  And there are also Mini-mates featuring all sorts of Marvel character.  All of which are Lego compatible.

Where Series 1 was Iron Man and Spidey focused, Series 2 expanded to 8 figures and features character from the three Marvel movies that came out in recent years.
I would have loved to pull a Wolverine.  Not just because it's this series' Ultra rare figure, but because I'm a big Wolvie fan too.  In fact this is another series I wouldn't mind collecting all of them.

Out of the eight possible I picked all three mini's that had to do with Iron Man 2.  So I was not disappointed, but with this series I'd have been happy with anyone.  It's too bad all there Iron Man characters are commons, but I don't really care.

First up...
The Iron Man Mark V.  It's funny, but I remember in the comic books that Mark V had the triangle chest light and in the figures it the Series 1 original Iron Man with the Triangle. And for some reason I thought the movie Mark V had the triangle too. Now I'm going to have to go back and watch the movie again.

If I had to pick one figure I could have done with out it might have been this one..

And last the Battle Droid.
I'm sure I'll pick up a few more of these in the future and I'll probably grab a couple Series 3 if I can find it.  Oh here's the checklist for series 3 if your interested, I just snagged it from the web.

A couple Fantastic 4 character with Mr. Fantastic and Silver Surfer.  So X-men with Havok, Iceman and Magneto and some more Spidy with Stealth Spider-man and Sandman.  Overall I think the only one I'd really like is the Silver Surfer.

CB out.

Update:  I just read online that there won't be a series 4.  :(