Friday, April 30, 2010

1992-1993 NBA Hoops Series 2

Even though the Bulls are out of it (big surprise there...), let's continue with the "Basketball Playoff Pack Purge" with some classic Hoops.

1992-93 Series 2 features rookies such as Shaquille O'Neal (aka Kazaam, aka Steel, aka Blue Chip), trades and "updates" (whatever that means). It also features a lot of dreck to pad the number of cards in the series. You'll see....

This pack front always reminded me of Tecmo NBA Basketball for NES. Either during the opening sequence or when you do something great and it gives you a cutaway animation. Or am I the only one here who played that consistently? I loved playing games of that shooting nothing but threes and winning. On to the cards.

#443 - Donald Royal - I love this picture. Instead of choosing a more graceful shot, Hoops gives us Donny Roy Roy (nobody called him that) getting whack-a-moled and in the middle of falling down hard. I don't think he's making the shot, either.

#484 - Patrick Ewing: Trivia - Here's some of the dreck filler. These are all questions about "points." There are five questions listed on the back (#16-20), and none of the answers! So, you can get an idea as to how many of these cards might be found in the set already.

#427 - Chucky Brown - How do I put this delicately? Mr. Brown's facial expression looks less than intelligent. And it makes me laugh to see him screaming "Noooooo" in slow motion on this card.

#394 - Kennard Winchester - I don't really have much to say about Kennard. A lot of you may not like the design, but I really dig the simplicity of it all. I guess maybe the only problem is that you essentially get two borders. Other than that, it's uncomplicated, clean and effective.

#358 - Tony Bennett - Next season, hoops would fall into the Gold parallel trap. This season, gold was reserved for rookies. It's a nice touch to distinguish them, especially when you get a no-name like this. And you though all he did was sing.

#374 - Kevin Brooks - I don't really know Brooks, but he looks to be a wizard on the court. Look at the way he's levitating that ball without any effort. The back says he was the #18 overall pick the year before. Ouch. Guess that didn't work out too well.

#421 - Christian Laettner - Hey! One of the top three rookies you could get in this set! Although, I dislike Laettner. I guess I always felt he didn't belong on the Dream Team (and looking back, I'd say I was right) and hated his stupid face and reaction after he hit "the shot" in college. I'm petty like that.

#385 - Jud Buechler - Baywatch: The Trading Card. If I'm not mistaken, I believe that Jud also played pro volleyball in the off-season. Maybe not pro (wikipedia isn't helping me), but something like that. He was a non-factor in the Bulls' second three titles.

#420 - Eric Murdock - So, here's the back. Again, very simple and basic. Up to this point, Hoops never had much variation in how their card backs looked. This is a little too bland for me and brings down the overall visual value of the cards significantly.

#400 - Kenny Williams - As you can tell, reserving certain numbers for the stars wasn't really something Hoops did.

#444 - Greg Grant - I forget for sure, but I think this is the first year of these new Sixers uniforms. One of the many 90s NBA jerseys that were just too busy visually. The old look was better.

#5 (of 10) - Tom Gugliotta - Magic's All-Rookie Team - Great Gug-ily Moogily, an insert! A lot of people had high hopes for this guy. I knew the center talent of the draft ended with Shaq and Alonzo. I gladly traded my Toms to suckers willing to pony up veterans. These inserts have a picture of Magic Johnson on the back and his thoughts on the player. As you can tell, the gold on these cards ain't just ink. We're talkin' foil now, boys.

Not a bad way to end the pack. I got less filler and more players. The pack doesn't list the odds for the insert, but research tells me they are 1:30 packs, so not too shabby! Say what you will, but even though the set is a little bland, it's my kind of bland. And it's a huge step up from previous years where the border took up 50% of the card.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

2010 National Chicle Cabinet Box Loader

I went to Atlanta Sports Cards on my break today specifically to get some 2010 National Chicle. I almost didn't get any because I got waylaid by a recently filled quarter box. I steeled my reserve and moved down the counter towards the packs (after picking up a handful of quarter cards) and found... no Chicle packs. Ah, but there were Chicle boxes! The shopkeep graciously packed out one of the boxes so I could grab a few and also let me buy the box loader pack as well. I'm sure there will be tons of people wanting to rip Chicle on this blog so I'll show off the box loader, because that's cooler than a boring ol' pack anyway.

This is a very wordy wrapper. It is informative though. From this wrapper we know that these cabinets are a Hobby Exclusive! that retail purchasers are not privileged enough to buy.  We are also informed that these cards are painted cabinets. No, not those ugly green things in your grandparents' kitchen, a Cabinet card is the term for a larger sized trading card popular from the 1880s to the 1910s often distributed as a premium. The painted part means the images are painted by artists which you knew already about National Chicle if you've been paying attention at all. The card inside is of a Famous MLB Star as opposed to an Infamous MLB star like Pete Rose, Jose Canseco or Barry Bonds. There are 25 in the collection, so if you bought two cases hoping for the set you're screwed. Topps re-emphasizes the fact that this is an ALL-PAINTED *SERIES* with bold white lettering and finally helps me decide if I should call this a Box Loader, Box Topper, Chip Topper or Big Card Thingy Pack in the title of this post. This wrapper is sealed. I must rip it.

A pack like this you don't open all at once. A quick peek reveals pinstripes. Do you know who this is? Let us consult the checklist:

There are no less than six Yankees in that checklist. Make your bets, which Yank will it be?

Reggie! This would look awesome as an original sized National Chicle card. There's a little too much white yellow space there for me. Of course it would be a perfect spot for an autograph, assuming you could convince Reggie to sign the thing. The painting is great though, I wonder who dunnit?

Brian Kong! He's the dude who did the sketches in 2009 Allen & Ginter. Very nice card indeed. I'm not terribly pleased that the 'number' of the card is initials. Set collectors don't like that crap. Dig the crazy text though. It starts with Reggie's world Series exploits and ends in a self help lesson. Verdict: Me gusta.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

1998 Pinnacle Inside Baseball

Community Gum recently reported on the 1997 WNBA Pinnacle cans so I thought I'd present the second year baseball version.

The mid to late 1990's to early 2000's gave the trading card collectors a plethora of new products in many different forms. Cards in cans, cards made of wood, steel, leather, cloth and other materials.Holographs, chrome, B&W, color, clear plastic and whatever else the designers could think of that might boost sales. Some ideas caught on, some didn't.

Personally, I liked the cans. It's not something I would want every year but it was fun at the time. Our two sons were about 11 and 14 back then, and they got a kick out of them.

There were 23 different cans in the set.Why the uneven number? Who knows ! This can, Nomar Garciapara ROY, is listed as #18.

I thought the Product Facts on the side were a clever addition.

After removing the lid with one of the cut from the side, no sharp edges can openers, you find 5 cards, a trivia card and a Team Pinnacle ad.

The glossy, full bleed photos were very clear and colorful.

The backs gave you no statistics but had many lesser known and sometimes very interesting facts.

The "Stand Up Guys" inserts were unique in that two of them, put together via slots cuts in the cards, made a free standing 4-sided display piece.

As an example, these two from my Tribe collection fit together to make.....

...this !

This was the trivia card in this can.
Anyone know the answer?!

Then Team Pinnacle had to get their plugs in.
I always wanted to join the club but never did.

1995 Skybox Pocahontas

It appears that in 1995, Skybox struck a deal with several movie companies, including Disney for the Pocahontas set.  Each pack contains 8 cards, PLUS there is a special pop-out card in each pack.
The cards feature a movie scene on the front and information about the scene and/or movie on the back.
The images are actually pretty high quality and the cards are naked - that is, without borders.  I happened to pull a checklist as one of my eights cards.  Sorry, but in NO pack should a checklist count as a card.
The pop-out card comes flat and you have to assemble it yourself:
I also got a 3D Panorama Card in the pack:
It was a pain to build because the tab was too big for the slot, or the slot was too tight for the tab.  I just call like it happened folks. Where *your* mind goes is *your* issue...

2009-10 Topps Basketball

The NBA Playoffs are in full swing and after just a little over a week, it's already been extremely entertaining. There's only one series that looks like it's headed for a sweep, and there's quite a few that could swing towards 7 games at this point. Here's a retail pack of the final licensed Topps NBA set, at least for now.

319 - James Harden (Harden tore up the Pac-10 and I expected him to be good in the NBA as well. His beard certainly has come along way since his Arizona State days. It's too bad he plays for such a detestable franchise.)

34 - Luol Deng (Deng's Bulls actually managed to take a game against the Cavs.)

294 - Deron Williams (Key player for the hated Jazz, and... sigh... I guess one of the best point guards in the league. Not that I'm biased or anything...)
22 - Stephon Marbury (The Celtics are in the playoffs, but Marbury... not so much.)

78 - Jason Maxiell (Much like the baseball set, the horizontal photo cards seem to come in bunches.)

96 - Luis Scola (There should be some sort of law prohibiting the use of Luis Scola's picture on anything... ever.)

122 - Steve Novak ("Wow! I'm an NBA player!")

52 - Michael Beasley Chrome (878/999) (Chrome cards aren't easy to pull, at least from retail packs, at 1:18)

214 - Thabo Sefolosha (Solid defensive specialist for the team-thieves.)

257 - Nicolas Batum (The Blazers are ripe with young talent, and Batum is as exciting as they come.)

192 - Morris Peterson

313 - Juan Dixon (Topps really mailed it in with the back design.)