Saturday, May 23, 2015

1996 Merlin Premier League Collector Cards

Well, the 2014/15 Premier League season is done tomorrow. My boys already secured the championship a couple weeks back. Just have tomorrow's games to settle the last team to be relegated, and one possible spot in the Europa Cup. Conveniently, the randomizer picked this pack from my scan folder of 44 different sets to be posted. Damn good timing. I have no dang clue where I found this. It may be a pack I found in an old dollar store bin. If there was every a statement of the junk wax era, this pack is it.

Look - they're "official"!!! I had never heard of Merlin's. In fact, there is no Wikipedia page about them. If you search the disambiguation of "Merlin", there is just a mention of the company:

Bought out by Topps in 1995. Topps kept the Merlin's name, though, as it continued to produce football cards. Anyway, we got 3 cards and a superstar standup. Let's have at it.

First out of the pack is the standup. Alan Shearer is pictured as a striker with Newcastle, where he spent the bulk of his career, also logging 4 years each with Southampton and Blackburn before finishing his career with the Magpies. Shearer is the all time leading scorer in the Premier League with 260 goals.

Graham Hyde with Sheffield Wednesday. Sheffield has been up and down between Championship and League 1 since they were relegated from the top tier in 2000. Sheffield Wednesday is one of the oldest football clubs in the world, founded in 1867. They also are the first English club to ever field an American when they brought over John Harkes in 1990.

A goofy caricature of Gary McAllister dressed in a Coventry City kit, a club he has just signed with for the '96 season. Scotland native, McAllister earned 57 caps with the national squad during his career. Fun fact: he shares a birthday with Jesus. You know his parents only gave him one present on Dec 25th.

Last card is Gunner midfielder David Platt. Platt was a bit of a journey man in Europe, playing with seven teams over a 17 year career. He spent time with the English National team and scored 4 goals in a World Cup qualifier in Feb 1993 against San Marino.

Card back. Recycled image way back in 1996. It seams with the numbers this may have been some kind of card game? Nothing talked about that though. Note the metric measurements and the space for the players autograph. I should send these in a TTM and ask them to sign the backs.

There was some ad card in the pack talking about 1997 Premier League sticker collection being released, but Blogger seems to hate the scan and won't display it. Oh well.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

1993-94 SkyBox Premium Basketball

I hear there's some important basketball going on right now. Let's look at some important basketball cards!

110 - Frank Brickowski - I wonder if anyone called him Brickout.

64 - Bryant Stith - No, that's not supposed to be Smith. I didn't make a typo.

35 - Robert Parish - I have to say, this is one of the nicest looking NBA sets I've seen. SkyBox was in peak form, even though they insisted on hanging on to the glowing basketball trail effect a little too long.

35 - Robert Parish - Here's what the backs look like. Great, right? A large and distinct photo is on the back to accompany some stats and a little write-up. But... I also got the same card twice in a row.

174 - Ricky Pierce - Before there was Paul Pierce, there was Ricky.

130 - Charles Smith

88 - Malik Sealy - A talented player who died about a million years too young.

53 - Gerald Wilkins - 'Nique's brother! Yes!

163 - Lloyd Daniels

76 - Chris Mullin - You could use his head to hang a picture in your home.

188 - Shawn Bradley - His bio starts with "Surprising agility for a 7'6" player..."

17 - Shawn Kemp NBA on NBC - Just go ahead and listen to this.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

2015 Panini Diamond Kings

Without a doubt probably one of the best baseball products Panini has produced to date. Resurrecting the old Donruss we get a great art card set with some pretty nice inserts and hits.  I recently picked up a couple packs from the LCS and this was by far the best one.  Seriously everything featured was in one pack.

The checklist has HOFers, current players and a nice selection of rookies.

I ended up getting a Lou Gehrig Iron Horse insert.

Also in the pack was this red framed Dave Bancroft.  Dave entered the HOF by veterans committee in 1971.  He was a player back in the 1910's and also was a player manager in the late 20's.

I knew the back was going to be good when I saw how thick the middle is.  While mini relics aren't new, having them stand alone is.  I guess Ultra Pro is going to have to make a thicker tobacco card top loader now.

Overall a pretty great pack with 2 inserts and a hit, plus 2 rookies.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

2015 Topps Stickers

Topps MLB Stickers are back, and in a very familiar way. After four years of study sticker-cards, Topps has gone full Panini with this one as they rolled out the classic thin stickers in the thin packet form. In fact, you can even see that it says "Printed in Italy" all over this product, a telltale sign. It's interesting that Topps jumped in bed with their most closest competitor these days, but I'm sure this arrangement was somehow beneficial to both parties. Word on the streetz of the internets is that Sooz from A Cardboard Problem, once a simple Blogger blogger but now a Topps employee, picked out the photos for this product. Cool stuff.

56 - Carlos Santana - I can't ever hear about this guy without hearing "Carlos Santanaaaa" in my head from that awful "Maria Maria" song.

36 - Wade Boggs - I guess Tampa Bay deserves throwback legends like everyone else, but this is kind of goofy.

263 - Wade Miley

87 - Brian Dozier - See?! Printed in Italy!

120 - Robinson Cano - Cano has been off to a pretty lousy start this season, but I think Seattle's offense is going to be better than it has showed so far and it all starts with him.

99 - Mike Trout - Trout was probably doing something pretty hilarious if you are one of those people that like him.

46 - Toronto Blue Jays Mascot - Not pictured: The opposing team's mascot that this Blue Jay brutally beat.

39 - Edwin Encarnacion - Oh, the costumed humanity!

Saturday, May 09, 2015

2015 Topps WWE

**This review was originally published on Heartbreaking Cards of Staggering Genius back on April 25th**

Long before Miss Congeniality reminded the world that April 25th is the "perfect day"  I knew the day was special seeing as it is my birthday.

A birthday means guilt free card purchases so I picked up a couple of 2015 Topps WWE packs. The cardboard gods must have been shining down on me today because I received just about the perfect pack.

First up as base cards go we've got the upcoming WWE Championship match at the Extreme Rules Pay-per-View. Orton won't be able to use the RKO move and Rollins won't be able to get any help from The Authority as it will be a steel cage match. It should be an intriguing 20 minutes.

#70 Seth Rollins
#59 Randy Orton

Then the pack gave me possibly the most interesting female wrestler the WWE has had in quite a while..especially since A.J. Lee has retired.

#56 Paige

I also pulled a couple of Ric Flair inserts and a Santino Marella base card...nice but not exactly what the heck was I talking about with this "perfect" stuff?

 #68 Santino Marella
Crowd Chants "Woooooo" #8

Crowd Chants "Woooooo" #4

But now let's get to what really made this pack amazing. A 1:187 packs pull of a George "The Animal" Steele autograph! I've been looking for an Animal autograph for a long time as he was one of my favorite wrestlers as a kid but he was also a part of one of my favorite movies Ed Wood.

George played B-movie star Tor Johnson who was a leading actor in Ed Wood's Plan 9 From Outer Space. Tor, like George, was a professional wrestler before taking his turn in such classics as Bride of the Monster, The Unearthly, and The Beast of Yucca Flats.