Sunday, December 27, 2020

Turning Two (And a Giveaway)

1962 Topps #311, Tony Kubek In Action

Back in 1962, I bet kids were really excited to find this card in packs. Using their imaginations, they'd be able to scan through the four frames and watch Tony Kubek turning a double play. Then they could rewind the action and run the instant replay as many times as they wanted. 

And that imagination was important, because instant replay during televised sports broadcasts didn't occur until 1963, the year after Kubek's card was released. In other words, maybe we're a bit spoiled with all the camera angles and super-slow-mo replays and graphic overlays we receive during modern sports broadcasts. Spoiled, or bombarded, depending on how you look at it.

But Kubek "turning two" on that card is just a lead-in to the real reason for this post. Something else is turning two, in an anniversary type of way.

This blog!

And I'm happy to say that for a second consecutive year, I managed to hit the mark of posting new content once a week, every Sunday, throughout the year (with the exception of the 1980 Miracle on Ice entry, which I posted on a Saturday to match the 40-year anniversary of that event). The goal is to stick to the every-Sunday schedule again for year three.

As a way of thanking all of you for reading and commenting throughout the past two years, I'd like to offer up some prizes from my collection.
Even if you're a long-time reader, first-time commenter, don't be bashful about staking a claim. Just let me know which one you'd like in the comment section below. 

One prize per person, first to claim the prize gets it, so prepare your typing fingers. Here they are:


(1) A few shiny and colorful Topps Chrome cards [CLAIMED]
(Jake Peavy, Mike Napoli, Matt Garza)












(2) A few minor-league stars from 2008 Justifiable [CLAIMED]
(Allen Craig, Mike Moustakas, Carlos Santana, Julio Teheran)























(3) Three Beltres Belting (borrowed that idea from Billy at Cardboard History)

(4) 2005-06 SP Game-Used Authentic Fabrics Card [CLAIMED]
(Patrik Elias)

(5) 2013-14 Panini Select Rookie Autographed Card [CLAIMED]
(Nick Petrecki)


(6) Two Sealed 1989 Donruss Baseball Wax Packs [CLAIMED]
(Chance at RCs of Ken Griffey Jr., Randy Johnson, Gary Sheffield, Craig Biggio, and John Smoltz to name a few)

(7) Two Sealed 1990-91 Topps Hockey Wax Packs [CLAIMED]
(Chance at RCs of Mike Modano, Alexander Mogilny, Jeremy Roenick, Mike Richter, and Mark Recchi to name a few)

(8) Assortment of Baseball Wax Pack Wrappers [CLAIMED]
(Included are 1984, 1985, 1987 Topps; 1981, 1986 Fleer; 1982, 1986, 1987 Donruss. Great variety of advertisements and special offers on the sides.)

(9) 1986 Fleer Baseball's Best Boxed Set [CLAIMED]
(Complete set)

(10) Starter Set of 1997-98 Pacific Paramount Hockey [CLAIMED]
(You'll get 100 cards total, which is half the set. Included are stars like Gretzky, Jagr, and Thornton.)

(11) Trio of Notre Dame football cards
(Rocket Ismail, Ricky Watters, and an autographed card of Pete Bercich)











(12) Group of "Tall Boy" Cards 
(Dave Winfield, Chris Weber, Jacques Lemaire, Chad Pennington)

(13) Group of Basketball Cards
(About two dozen total. Most from the 1990s, plus a few modern cards.)

(14) Group of 1982 Topps E.T. cards

(15) Group of 1996 Skybox Star Wars Stickers

(16) Oddball/Food Issue Baseball Lot [CLAIMED]
(1980 Topps Squirt Soda card, 1985 7-Eleven West Region Steve Garvey and Eddie Murray discs, 1986 RGI Don Mattingly, 1987 Jiffy Pop Jack Morris disc, 1987 Sportflics pin offer, 1989 Donruss All-Star pop-up Vince Coleman, 1991 Collect-a-Books Matt Williams)

(17) Group of Minis [CLAIMED]
(1965 Autobrite Vintage Cars "Early M.G.", 2012 Topps Allen & Ginter Mini Culinary Curiosities Fugu, 1990-91 Upper Deck box cutout Wayne Gretzky, 2013 Bowman Chrome Miguel Almonte, 2013 Topps Mini Dylan Bundy, 2014 Topps Allen & Ginter Mini no number Joe Mauer)

(18) Group of Bowman Cards [CLAIMED]
(Marcell Ozuna, Jedd Gyorko, Garin Cecchini, Johan Santana, Yoenis Cespedis, Adalberto Mondesi, Max Fried, Adam Eaton, Sonny Gray)

(19) Packet of New York Islanders Media Notes from 1987 Playoffs
(Includes rosters, stats, player notes, and more that members of the Islanders' TV and radio broadcast teams would have used during a playoff game against the Washington Capitals on April 12, 1987. More than a dozen pages in all.)


(20) A 2014 New York Yankees Media Guide
(Almost 500 pages of news, notes, player bios, all-time leaders, and photos. Measures about 5.5 x 8.5 inches. Paperback. Jeter, A-Rod, Gardner, Sabathia, Sanchez, Ellsbury, etc.

Stake your claims in the comment section. You can send me your mailing address in either of these ways:

(1) Contact me on the Trading Card Database through my profile page.  

(2) Email me using the link in my profile here on blogger.

Thanks very much again for spending some time here over the past two years. I've really enjoyed the interaction. If we've traded some cards or had conversation outside of the blogosphere during that time, a big thank you for that, too.

Here's to year number three!


Update: I've added a red "[CLAIMED]" note next to each prize that's already been claimed. Still plenty of prizes available: 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 19, and 20. 

Grab one!

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Completed Set: 1989-90 Topps Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Series 1

Have you ever wondered why some story ideas turn into smash hits while others don't? 

The story itself has to be a good one, of course. But there must be other factors, too, like having a connection in the industry, or presenting the idea to the right person when they're having a good day. And part of it might simply be a matter of timing. (Who knows if that same story idea would have taken off had it launched a year earlier, or a year later?)

Oh. And a catchy theme song helps.

So can a good-looking line of toys, and an arcade cabinet that has four joysticks, one for each turtle, so you and three of your friends can fight Shredder and his goons together.

And if you're a card collector, a set of trading cards might seal the deal.

I was a middle-schooler when the Turtles took off, so I was just a little too old to really be swept up by the phenomenon. But it sure was a phenomenon. 

For those around my age, it's safe to say it was the biggest thing since The Transformers. If you're from previous generations, I can imagine it was as big as Jonny Quest, Speed Racer, or the Super Friends. And for those of you a little younger, think Dragonball Z or Power Rangers.

So why did I, a kid who wasn't really into the Turtles, decide to put this set together after all this time? As is often the case, it stems from a moment of nostalgia. A few months ago I found some of these cards in an old box, and they brought back the following memory.

One weekend during that era of turtle-mania, dad and I went to a trading card show at a big banquet hall/catering hall called Leonard's. We started to browse around the many, many tables together, and soon realized it would be a long journey.

So, we devised a plan to split up in order to cover more ground, agreeing to meet back up at a designated location an hour later in order to share our findings. Looking back now, maybe we should have fueled up with some pizza first thing that morning.

I arrived at the meeting spot first, and waited for dad. Just a few minutes later I saw him walking toward me with a big grin on his face. He reached into a bag and pulled out a sealed wax box of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles trading cards he'd purchased for less than 10 dollars. 48 packs of Turtle Power for such a small price? This was our kinda card show.

I think we put together more than one complete set from those packs. I gave one of them to my younger brother, who was just a toddler at the time. Fast-forward about 30 years and he's still got it, but I couldn't tell you where the other set went. So, I thought it would be fun to put one together to replace it.

Thankfully, one of the nice things about oddball sets from the time is that quantities are plentiful, so you have a good chance of finding a trading partner who'd be more than happy to send you a stack (to help get rid of some of their clutter, if for no other reason). And so after just a few trades, I've got the whole set again. You could say I'm savoring it.

The illustrations on these cards are taken directly from the animated show that got its official start in October of 1988. There are 88 cards in series 1, and each card advances the story of the Turtles. 

Good points scored for the design here. Note the turtle-inspired borders on the front, and how the card number on the bottom left (inside a turtle shell) ties into that theme. The text box across the bottom—white letters on a red background—stands out nicely.

I also like how the back of the card provides a detailed description of what you're seeing on the front. 

There's also some good action captured in this set. 

As well as some clear shots of the major players.

In each wax pack you'd get 5 cards, 1 sticker, and 1 stick of bubble gum. There are 11 different stickers. Here's an example.

Flip over the stickers and you'll find a puzzle piece. Put 'em together, and this image will be revealed.

And there you have it. 88 cards and 11 stickers, for a total of 99 pieces of cowabunga goodness. (That's the perfect number to fill some 9-pocket pages, by the way.)

This is by far the goofiest set of cards I've ever completed, but for the dose of nostalgia it was completely worth it.

Were any of you readers swept up in Turtle-mania back then? Did you have a favorite character? 

Share some stories in the comment section, and thanks for reading.


GIVEAWAY REMINDER: The Nine Pockets two-year giveaway is next Sunday. Tune in and choose a prize!

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Turgeon Brothers

Imagine you're a kid growing up in late-1970s Québec. You and your older brother both love playing hockey, and you're both developing quite the set of skills. 

Childhood turns into adolescence, and by the time big bro reaches his late teens he becomes so skilled that he's selected to play for the 1982-83 Canadian National Junior team alongside future legends like Mario Lemieux and Steve Yzerman. Big bro is so admired by professional scouts, in fact, that later in the year the Hartford Whalers select him second overall in the NHL Entry Draft.

So what do you do? Motivated by your brother's success, you keep pushing. You play so well that a few years later your talents earn you a spot on the 1986-87 version of the Canadian National Junior team, skating alongside other future legends like Brendan Shanahan and Theo Fleury. But that's not all.

Later that same year the Buffalo Sabres select you first overall in the NHL Entry Draft.

It goes without saying that no two brothers have been drafted that high in NHL history. Mom and dad must have given each other a high-five.

Here are their two boys, looking good on cardboard.

1992-93 Pinnacle #373 Sylvain Turgeon and #165 Pierre Turgeon

Big bro Sylvain really hit the ground running in Hartford. After his first season he received notable consideration for the Calder Trophy, awarded to the rookie of the year. Only Tom Barrasso (the winner) and Steve Yzerman received more votes. And Sylvain's success didn't stop there. Just have a look at the progression across his first three NHL seasons:

1983-84: Third in team scoring (40 goals, 32 assists)
1984-85: Second in team scoring (31 goals, 31 assists)
1985-86: Led the team in scoring (45 goals, 34 assists)

That third season he topped players like Ron Francis, Ray Ferraro, and Kevin Dineen. Unfortunately for Sylvain, injuries really seemed to limit his playing time from then on. Across the next nine campaigns, he averaged only 50 games per season. After Hartford he'd suit up for the Devils, Canadiens, and Senators. Then he finished up his career with a few seasons in the European professional leagues.

I was too young to see much of Sylvain throughout those early years in Hartford, but as for younger brother Pierre? I got a great look at him during his years on Long Island.

And my goodness, what a naturally gifted player. He was one of those guys who didn't seem to exert much effort, but still skated faster than other players and zipped wrist shots into the net from everywhere.

Just consider his stats while he was with those Islanders. In 255 games he scored 340 points (147 goals, 193 assists). That's outright phenomenal. 

Across his career he played for the Sabres, Islanders, Canadiens, Blues, Stars, and Avalanche, and had terrific success with just about all those teams. And that's not to mention some good playoff runs, most notably with the Islanders and St. Louis. Pierre put up a total of 97 points (35 G, 62 A) in 109 playoff games.

Let's have a look at some numbers for both brothers.


(12 seasons)
(19 seasons)

(Career highs in bold)

(1985-86, Hartford)
(1992-93, NY Islanders)

You can see from those single-season numbers that both brothers were quite skilled. And here's a fun fact: They both had the experience of playing for their hometown Montreal Canadiens! (Though not at the same time.)

As for Pierre in particular, I don't know how he's not in the Hall of Fame with those career numbers. But maybe that's a subject for a separate blog entry.

For now, let's salute the Turgeon brothers for two terrific careers, and for setting a draft pick record that might never be broken. Actually, the only way it can be broken is if two brothers are both selected #1 overall in separate drafts. Seems like a tough ask, especially with the international talent pool these days.

Well done, Turgeons!

Sunday, December 6, 2020

From the Favorites Box: Rich Gossage, 1979 Topps #225

A series where I post some thoughts about favorite cards. Previous cards in the series are available here. 

Have a look the delivery captured on this card:

The amount of effort that's just been exerted is outrageous. It's all arms and legs moving left, right, up, down, and off balance. If the scene were in a cartoon, you’d be hearing the sound of screeching tires and pots and pans clanking around.

But the guy probably just hurled a baseball right at the catcher’s target—and close to 100 miles per hour, too. Figure that one out.

What doesn't take figuring out is how that intense delivery produced success for Mr. Gossage. If the image above is a snapshot of game action from 1978—the year before this card was printed—then "Goose" was on his way to posting 122 strikeouts in 134.1 relief innings pitched to go along with a nifty 2.01 ERA and a league-leading 27 saves.

He'd also help the Yankees take their second consecutive World Series title against the Dodgers that fall, pitching six shutout innings across three games, striking out four batters along the way.

And although that was the only World Series victory he'd experience, his pitching success would go on for years and years (22 seasons, in fact). Goose made nine all-star teams from 1975 to 1985, totaled more career strikeouts than hits allowed, and finished with more than 300 saves. And if Major League Baseball kept stats for the most intense delivery and total number of batters intimidated, Mr. Gossage would be pretty high up on those lists, too. Not sure how I'd feel stepping into the box in the bottom of the ninth and seeing that guy winding up 60 feet away from me.

For rearing back and throwing it as hard as you can, for as long as you can, in any way you can, 1979 Topps #225 has a place in my box of favorite cards.