Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Do You Hear What I Hear?

Mookie is one of my all-time favorite Mets.

It's more than his stolen bases, triples, doubles, and solid outfield play. It's 1986 Game 6, it's wearing shades while batting and it's being cool.

How cool is Mookie?
His real name is William Hayward - his grandmother nicknamed him Mookie.
He was married at home plate before a minor league baseball game in Jackson, MS on June 22, 1978. How cool is it to be married on a baseball field before a minor league game!

Mookie's Mets records may slowly start falling to Jose Reyes, but Mook's energy, passion, and coolness keep him at the top.

I like Jose... but what if it was Jose Reyes that hit that ground ball to Buckner. Do you think Jose would have busted out of the box like Mookie did to try and beat him to the bag?

Monday, December 28, 2009

Pieces of Meadowlands Sans Hoffa

Steiner Sports is selling pieces of Giants Stadium.

Through their web site you can purchase seats, seat backs, pieces of the turf and concrete that encases for the former Teamsters boss. Or not.

For $500 you can get two red seats. I really don't think that's a bad price if you're a Giants or Jets fan considering the prices the Yankees, Mets, and Cowboys asked for their seat pairs.

True, Giants Stadium doesn't have the history of Yankee Stadium or maybe even Texas Stadium, but I'd say it's better than Shea. The Mets were selling their seat pairs for $869. One Shea Stadium seat back will still cost you $300.

I'm a big fan of stadium seats. I picked up a pair of Texas Stadium seats last year.

Free Lou Gehrig Patch Card for Blog Followers

Join the Sports Locker tribe and get a free 2009 Topps Lou Gehrig patch card.

To win the Gehrig patch card:
- Click the "follow" button in the top of the right column and choose your method to follow the blog postings.
- If you currently follow the Sports Locker, then you are already entered to win.
- Be on the "follow the blog" list by 12/31 at midnight.

Thanks and good luck.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Avatar Director James Cameron Curses Out Fan Asking for Autograph

Stay classy James. Stay classy.

I like how the fan gives it right back to him.

Tony Gwynn Has a Face Full of Dirt

The kids received some Topps 2009 cards and this one caught my eye.

It's a pretty good shot of Tony Gwynn sliding into home plate against the Astros. I don't see a tag by the catcher, so it looks like he's safe.

We've been a fan of the 2009 Topps set. I don't collect too many modern cards, but I liked the price and design of these cards. It made it easy for the kids to get into our team collecting.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Topps 3D Cards - The 2nd Best Augmented Reality Tool of 2009

According to the writers at Mashable, the social media guide, Topps' use of web cams was only out-done by BMW Z-4 campaign.

I blogged in March about the Topps 3D Cards. I think the technology could be cool and a great technique to teach kids about baseball (for the purposes of this example), but we're not there yet. Right now, I side on this being a gimmick.

I hope Topps continues to improve and add to this technology. As I mentioned in March, I'd like to see:
  • players playing the game?
  • get classic video and reenactments of the history of the game like Kirk Gibson in '88 and Mookie Wilson in '86.
I like reading Mashable, but I don't agree with Topps being #2 on this list.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Howard Johnson - The N.L. All-Time Switchhit HR King

At one time HoJo was the greatest single season home run hitter in National League history.

This 1987 Donruss card highlights HoJo's accomplishment on September 21, 1987. HoJo hit a two-out, 8th inning grand slam off Cubs reliever Ed Lynch. It was his 36th home run of the season.

The National League single season mark (35) was previously held by James "Rip" Collins of the St. Louis Cardinals who set the record in 1934.

Strasburg, Schmasburg . . . I keep thinking of Brien Taylor

Stephen Strasburg may sign an exclusive deal with Topps, but I keep thinking of Brien Taylor.

On the surface, it seems a bit like deja vu. A Scott Boras client demands top dollar before throwing a pitch in the majors, negotiations go long and in the end Boras gets his money.

Remember Brien Taylor? Boras was an "advisor" at the time (different rules back then) and had long contract negotiations with the Yankees before getting his price. What happened to Taylor? He tore his labrum in a bar fight while in the minors and never really recovered.

Taylor eventually (officially) retired in 2000. He now lives with his parents in the house his signing bonus paid for on a street named after him, working for his dad's brick company, and supporting his five children.

Hopefully Strasburg has better results, but please excuse my lack of enthusiasm for a pitcher who wasn't won anything yet. I've seen this script before.

Monday, December 21, 2009

It's Like Christmas in December

Thanks to everyone who left a comment to be in the 2009 TriStar Mini Obak Cards give-away.

Using, the winner is: Smirker!

I gave everyone a number, put it in and generated a number. Smirker was assigned to #9 and was selected.

Congrats to Smirker - Please send me an email with your mailing address and I'll get a bubble mailer sent out to you this week.

Thanks again to everyone and Merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Win 2009 Obak Mini National Exclusive Cards - Contest

UPDATE: Contest Closed.
I picked up these 2009 Obak Minis at the National Sports Collectors Convention in Cleveland, Ohio this summer and forgot I had them for give-away! Leave a comment a win!

This is part of the "exclusive to the National" set - some are serial numbered 84/100. Below is a list of the 13 cards.

Contest and Rules
This is a weekend contest only! To win, just leave a comment by midnight ET on Sunday, Dec. 20th and I'll use to choose a winner.

The cards are:
N1 - Ted Williams (84/100)
N2 - Satchel Paige (84/100)
N3 - Carlos Santana (84/100)
N4 - Bo Jackson (84/100)
N5 - John Heisman (84/100)
N6 - Kurt Angle (84/100)
N7 - Angelina Love - Velvet Sky (84/100)
N8 - Barack Obama (84/100)
N11 - Jesus Montero
N14 - Buster Posey
N16 - Logan Morrison
N21 - Randal Grichuk
N24 - Barack Obama

Good luck.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Whoa! Look out HoJo!

That baseball is going knock the 'stache right off our man Howard Johnson.

This is the back of a 1993 Upper Deck card of Howard Johnson. It's one of the more interesting back of the card pictures I've seen of HoJo.

In 1992 HoJo was hit by a pitch twice, and 1993 he wasn't hit at all.

Topps Super Star Stickers

It's a Super Star and it's two stickers. Of course, to get the stickers, you have the fold the card to peel them off.

Why does it have a picture Doc Gooden on the front, and smaller stickers of a Tiger and Cardinal on the back? If you want a reason to not fold the card and take the stickers, I guess that would be it. I never really got into the dual purpose cards. Just give me a solid card, I don't need the gum or the stickers or the 3D effects. Is that asking too much to just want a solid looking card?

I think it's Tommy Herr with the Cards, but I can't make out who the Tigers' pitcher is.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

SweetSpot Baseball Cards Via Twitter

It pays to be on Twitter some times.

Rob from Voice of The Collector did a "Twitters Only" box break. After getting people to respond, Rob then asked for bids from the card sellers for the best deal. Now that's using twitter to everyone's advantage.

Blowout came back with the best price and VOTC is collecting the scans and results. As you can see from the picture, we were sooo surprised with the results!

VOTC will have a complete recap and scans.
Rob - Thanks for putting this together - good times.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Dallas Cowboys Autograph Show at CSA Shows?

A pretty strong Dallas Cowboys autograph is in the works at CSA Shows.

March 26-28, 2010 is three months away, but the show already has confirmed three former Dallas Cowboys: Roger Staubach, Tony Dorsett, and Herschel Walker.

I'm pretty much set with Roger Staubach after this summer and Tony D (when he wouldn't get off the phone to sign an autograph, but Herschel Walker is a great addition! I was a huge fan of Herschel back in the day.

Don't forget Emmitt Smith is due to get elected to the HOF this spring and CSA does an amazing job of getting the new HOF class to sign at their March shows.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Bo Jackson, Deion Sanders, and D.J. Dozier?

D.J. Dozier was supposed to be the next in line for 2-sport stardom. It didn't quite happen that way.

Dozier was a great running with Penn State - he had the winning touchdown in the Fiesta Bowl game over the heavy favorite and dressed in camouflage fatigues Miami Hurricanes. He was later drafted #14 by the Minnesota Vikings.

His baseball career was also off to a hot start. In 1990 he hit .324 in 29 games with Jackson and moved up to hit 13 home runs with the St. Lucie Mets. In 1991 he was #44 on the Baseball American All-Time Top 100 prospect list.

But it didn't work out for D.J. In his only season in professional baseball, Dozier hit .191 in 25 games with the Mets.

I was a believer - I thought he'd turn it around and would be a big success in the pros.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

HoJo was Born with a 'stache

A lot of players make their MLB debut clean cut or with stubble thin enough they could shave with a credit card. Howard Johnson was not one of those players.

I don't think I've ever seen a card of Howard Johnson without some sort of facial hair. I'm beginning to think he was born with a 'stache.

This is a 1985 Fleer card of Howard Johnson in his Detroit Tigers uniform. I can't believe I didn't have this HoJo card until a few weeks ago!

I need to do a serious inventory of these Howard Johnson cards.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Did Saved by the Bell Inspire Upper Deck?

They look pretty similar to me!

Every time I see this 1993 Upper Deck card of Howard Johnson I unfortunately think of Slater and Screech. Sad I know. . . but don't deny that you never watched it.

It's the bright colors, sharp edges, and off-center pieces.

Now if I could just find some baseball cards that remind me of Elizabeth Berkley and Tiffani Thiessen.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Paging Doc Fernando Seaver

The Sportflics TriStars cards always annoyed me. Instead of getting one good image on a card, I was stuck with three bad ones.

You always had to hold the card just right way and in the right light to see the players. It reminds me of a Jerry Seinfeld sitcom girlfriend - remember the two-faced date? Depending on the lighting, she looked great - in a different lighting... not so much.

This card has Doc Gooden, Fernando Valenzuela and Tom Seaver - if you look at it in the right light.

The 20/20 Club Was a Big Deal

Q: When did the 20/20 club stop being a big deal?

A: When you're Howard Johnson and you had a 30/30 season the year before.

In 1987 HoJo burst into the Mets starting line-up hitting 36 home runs, 99RBIs, and 32 stolen bases. The Mets just missed the playoffs thanks to crappy sinkerball from Roger McDowell to Terry Pendelton! Well, at least that's who I blame it on.

In 1988, HoJo followed his '87 season with a 20/20 campaign hitting 24 home runs, 68 RBIs, and 23 stolen bases.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Dave Kingman's Eyes Could Kill a Man

Now that's the look of a home run hitter!

This is Dave Kingman's 1984 Fleer card. It's one of my favorites of the great home run hitter.

Kingman hit 442 home runs in his career - including a 48 hr season with the Cubs in 1979. Kingman put up some great power numbers in his career, but never finished in the top 10 of the MVP voting.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Remember the Can't Miss Mets Prospect: David West

Fill in the blank: The latest Mets Prospect to become a complete bust is: _________. One of the first Mets prospect busts that I remember is David West.

David West was the can't miss prospect in the mid to late '80s for the New York Mets. He started the International League all-star game for two straight years before the Mets traded him to the Twins in 1989.

In return for David West, Rick Aguilera, Tim Drummond and Kevin Tapani, the Mets received Frank Viola. Viola was supposed to be the missing piece for the NY Mets. He had a 2 1/2 good seasons with the Mets before moving on, but couldn't bring the Mets to the playoffs.

In three full seasons with the Twins, West went 12-16 with a 5.16 ERA. He never became the ace of a staff as projected.

Ironically, West did win a World Series ring with the Twins in 1991. He was also part of the 1993 Phillies who lost to the Blue Jays. Frank Viola never made it back to the post-season after he left Minnesota

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Steiner Sports Next Step? Get an Autograph and a Conversation via Skype

I think we're getting closer to a really great autograph experience for collectors who can't make it to the in-person autograph events.

Steiner Sports recently announced their live web cam to see athletes signing jerseys and photos. This isn't a first for the hobby, but it is a step up from the Pete Rose autographcast hosted by FansEdge.

Next step? I'd like to see some skype video! It would be great to get autograph from your favorite players while having a quick video chat as they sign and personalize your item.

Howard Johnson is a 1989 Donruss Diamond King

Add another Howard Johnson card to my collection.

I picked up a 1989 Donruss Diamond King card of HoJo. I like the back of the card the best on the Diamond Kings. You don't get a fancy table of stats or odd quotes from other players... you get an old school block of text!

The back of this card starts with "Had it not been for Kevin Mitchell and Will Clark, Howard Johnson would have had an easy path to the Most Valuable Player Award." The block of text on the back of the card ends with, "A simply stellar year." Was this written by HoJo's agent?

Monday, December 7, 2009

Tired of Obama Cards? How about Robert Livingston?

Who isn't tired of Barry Obama cards? More importantly, how do I have a 2009 Topps American Heritage Robert Livingston card?

Cardboard Junkie has a nice recap on the set, but why is Robert Livingston in my collection?

I like card sets that are full of historical people, but the sets that have a card with a picture of the president holding a bat drive me nuts.

If I want a historical/political set, I'll get a pack of '09 Topps American Heritage, otherwise, keep them out of baseball card packs!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

1987 Topps - How I Miss Thee

Is it the wood paneling or the great action shots? For whatever reason, I'm huge 1987 Topps fan.

I remember having a ton of these 1987 Topps Mets cards. They were kept in great condition: stuck with a push pin on a New York Mets pennant in my bedroom. Doh!

I had a ton of them, now the ones I kept have holes in the top.

I'm thinking this 1987 Topps Mets set is going to be my next team set.

Sports Locker Blog Ready to Write Again

It's a been a few weeks and I'm sorry for not blogging much. I've had problems computer problems and work reorganizations that have taken up too much time. Thankfully, it seems to be over and I can get back to some fun sports card and memorabilia writing.

Thank you for your patience.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Autograph My Wall - Please!

I don't understand the fascination athletes are having with graffiti these days.

First Doc Gooden was signing anything he could inside the Mets new $iti Field and now Eli Manning is running crazy with a sharpie in the new Cowboys Stadium.

It cracks me up how Bradie James (my favorite player on the Cowboys) is pissed off about it. Hey Bradie - if you didn't want him writing the score, maybe you guys should have won the game!

What will the Cowboys do with the area Eli signed? I'd like to see them cut it out the block (or whatever it is on) and put it in the middle of the Cowboys locker room as a reminder to what the Giants did.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Collecting For Your Kids

I started collecting World Series Programs for my kids when they were born. Years ago, I thought it would be a good idea for them to have a World Series Program of each year they were alive. I plan on doing it until they're old enough to continue the habit or when they give me the "Dad, that old crap is boring" line.

I decided the World Series programs because I think they provide an accurate reflection on the overall baseball season and snapshot of our popular culture. Ten or fifteen years from now, they'll be able to not only get a quick glance of the season (and Phillies/Yankees), but also get a snapshot of our society during that time.

For example, I have a few old Super Bowl programs that I like to look through. Learning about the players and teams are great, but I always find the advertisements extremely interesting. The "new Zenith color TV" advertisement is one of my favorites. I also like the "yoo-hoo sports drink." I like a cold yoo-hoo as much as the next guy, but I can't imagine drinking it to quench my thirst right after a game.

I decided not to do team sets of every year for them. I want the card collecting to be something fun we can do and learn together. As they get older, they'll also develop their own product preference.

Other ideas to consider:
- Super Bowl Programs
- Team Year Books
- Card Sets

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Yes! The 1986 NY Daily News

Collecting newspapers of your team's accomplishment is a great way to capture the moment. You get the "YES!," the stories from the writers who followed them all year, and the emotion of the town.

In 1986, I was more concerned with the outfit my 7th grade teacher was wearing than collecting a NY Daily News after the Mets won the World Series - so I never thought about keeping the paper.

I finally found really nice conditioned NY Post and NY Daily News from the day after Game 7 of the 1986 World Series.

I usually see the folded, ripped, and stained versions on eBay, but a dealer at the MAB show in November had some great ones. I really only wanted the NY Daily News (I like the cover better), but he gave me a great deal if I bought both.

These go with the Dallas Morning News from the Cowboys' Super Bowl wins in the '90s, the Baltimore Sun from Cal Ripken's streak, and several Sept. 12, 2001 newspapers - including the SF Chronicle with "BASTARDS" in bold type face on the cover.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Don Zimmer - 1962 Topps Mets

He's wearing a Mets hat, but has Cincinnati Reds listed for his team. Don Zimmer was an original Met before he was an army helmet wearing Yankee coach.

This 1962 Topps card was a bit more difficult to find. I was lucky enough to stumble upon a dealer at a show with a few 1962 cards to sell. Zimmer was the first, third-baseman in NY Mets history. He hit .390 in spring training in 1962 and appeared ready to hold the hot corner at the Polo Grounds (where the Mets played prior to Shea), but he started the season with five hits in 52 ABs. The Mets quickly traded him to Cincinnati in May.

Zimmer was traded to the Dodgers (the LA version this time) in Jan. 1963 and six months later was sent to the Washington Senators where he ended his playing career two seasons later.

Zim is living baseball history. He played with Jackie Robinson in Brooklyn, made the move with the team to LA, played on Stengel's expansion team in NY, and played on a Washington Senators team managed by Gil Hodges (Zim's former teammate in Brooklyn).

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Information Golden Era of Sports Collecting

Are we in an Information Golden Era of Sports Collecting?

When I started the SportsLocker blog in November, 2007 there wasn't a lot of opinion and information on the internet. If you wanted the latest news and opinion, then you needed to subscribe to the magazines, find a good hobby shop, or hope to find one of the few blogs dedicated to the hobby. There were very few to choose from.

Fast-forward a couple of years and the landscape has really changed. Today, you can read blogs that focus on specific types, certain teams, individual players and the "stats on the back." You can read Beckett's opinion and the anti-Beckett opinion.

If you're into social networking, there are several facebook groups and fan pages run by fellow collectors. Upper Deck and Steiner Sports also do a lot of work on facebook and offer fans special access, sales, and contests.

Personally, I think Twitter made the biggest splash to the collecting world in 2009. Bloggers, corporations, and card manufacturers did more than dip their toe in the pool - they dove in to the deep end. Not only do they tweet when they have a new blog post, but they tweet when they have an opinion. Following collectors and some of the companies on twitter can bring you alerts to sales from Blowout Cards to interesting topics at the Freedom Card Board. If you didn't like the latest box break from Beckett, you can send Tracy Hackler and Chris Olds a message on twitter with your opinion (within 140 characters).

We don't have a shortage of information today. We have more opinions and places to get the latest scoop than I ever could have imaged two years ago. The landscape has changed and continues to evolve. I'm really enjoying this new world of collecting: it's more transparent, has more opinions, and is fun to be a part of.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Rich Gedman Added to My 1986 Mets Holy Grail Autograph Project

My 1986 World Series Game 6 project is my favorite piece of memorabilia. I've been getting autographs on it for a while and last weekend I added another (and maybe the last) big name to it.

Rich Gedman was the behind the plate for the Red Sox during that 1986 World Series Game 6 moment. On November 14, Gedman was signing at the MAB show where I asked him to sign his name on the photo (bottom right corner).

He laughed and took a few moments to look at the autographs on it and asked some questions on where I found Dale Ford (home plate umpire).

My 1986 World Series Game 6 project is probably complete. It's doubtful that I'll find the other two umpires in the photo. If I don't end up getting their signatures, I'm happy with the autographs I have on it from:
- Mookie Wilson
- Bill Buckner
- Bob Stanley
- Bill Robinson
- Dale Ford
- Rich Gedman

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Pete Rose and Bob Boone Autograph Story Baseball

About six years ago, I decided to start an autograph project that did more than collect signatures. I wanted it to be different. I wanted it to tell a story.

Pete Rose is one of my favorite players (add boo/hiss sounds here) and I wanted to do a project with him. "Sorry I bet on baseball" was not for me, but the idea is the same.

I decided to target the 1980 World Champion Phillies. With one out, in game 6, Frank White hit a pop-up down the first base line. Bob Boone chased after and tipped the ball just before Pete Rose could catch it from hitting the ground. Pete spiked the ball to the turf and ran back to first base.

Many credit Pete with making a great play, but Bob Boone remembers it a bit different.

While on vacation in Las Vegas a few years ago, I asked Pete Rose to autograph my 1980 World Series baseball with the inscription "I caught Boone's bobble in the 9th."

On Saturday, August 14, I asked Bob Boone to add to the story on the baseball. He read what Pete inscribed and I asked him to add something with his name. I was thinking, "Nice catch Pete" or "I should get the assist." Boone did even better.

Bob Boone added, "I'm the one that hustled on the play." Awesome.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

HGTV for Collectors

It's not Kate Plus 8 Sans John, but from the makers of yuppie house flipping shows and Trading Spaces show extras want to clean your sports collectibles mess!

The National Sports Collectors Convention announced on their web site that HGTV is looking to do a sports collectible makeover. (I pray this is the last sentence I ever write with sports and makeover in it.)

HGTV is looking for families in NY, NJ, CT, PA, MD, MA and other Northeast locations. I guess the price of gas prevents them from going outside an I-95 outer loop.

The National is asking that you email them your piles of sports crap stories and they'll pass it on the people at HGTV. Send your information to: All e-mails must be received by 12/31/09 to be eligible.

The National Sports Collectors Convention story is here.

Monday, November 16, 2009

MAB Catcher's Show - Saturday Report

I only made it to one day of MAB's catcher-themed show. I was Secaucus, NJ for part of Saturday's autograph signing.

I thought this show was much more organized than the previous one they hosted in Long Island, NY. Why? Was it a return to familiar grounds at the Crowne Plaza? Were things easier because there were not as many tables and booths? Was it less chaotic because there weren't as many people attending the show?

I think those reasons played a factor. However, MAB was much better organized from the last show I went to. They had a clear entry/exit point with a table in the front and they did a better job preparing for their big name guest (Joe Torre).

An entire section of the room became the Torre area. In the past, people waiting for the big name guests were mixed in with all the other collectors. You wouldn't think it's a big deal, but when you consider Torre easily had 300 people waiting for his signature, it made a lot of sense to reserve a bigger section of the room for them.

I'd still like to see more MAB people helping patrol the entry/exit points. I thought there were still too many people jumping in when the MAB workers weren't looking.

I'd also like to give the players more of an official announcement when they are entering the autograph area and exiting. I believe they deserve it and as fans/collectors, we'd like to give them another round of applause. Why not provide a simple, "Fans, please welcome Carlton Fisk to the autograph area." When the players leave, it would be nice to hear, "Fans please join me in thanking Carlton Fisk for his autograph time today." I'm not asking for a wave, but I think it would be a polite gesture to clap for the players as they come and go.

I didn't get too many autographs, but I'm really pleased with the two autographs I picked up on Saturday. I'll post some pictures this week on the blog.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Mr. Mint Episode II: Revenge of the Sith

You've seen the smile, the ads, and the videos of Mr. Mint (Alan Rosen) and he's back for more. This weekend Mr. Mint is back in New York after a 10 year hiatus.

According to the NY Daily News, Rose is doing the memorabilia show in Queens as revenge to a rival promoter who claims he reneged on a deal. "That's the main reason I'm doing this show, to rub a little salt," Rosen said of his feud with promoter Jim Ryan, who runs competing conventions in Nassau and Westchester counties.

MM left the NY scene because of what he perceived as "greed" in the industry. Hello Kettle?

To me, it seems a little ironic that someone promoting them selves as "Mr. Mint," while paying cash to buy collections and then flip them for a huge profit is using "greed" as an excuse to not attend a NY show.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Two Million Dollars For Old Peter King Columns

OK, so it's a little more than old Peter King columns. For $2 Million you can own the most comprehensive autograph Sports Illustrated collection that exist outside of Peter King's garage.

Scott Smith has approximately 94% of the entire magazine's history with autograph covers and he's selling all of it.

I've never been a big autograph magazine collector or even autograph photo collector. I have a few photos, but you end up struggling to find a place to display them or show them. Autograph cards are easy to store in a binder and bring them out to show people. But how do you store thousands of magazines? I guess that's a question for new owner.

And Here:

Sports Locker Recovering

The PC is getting worked on and I'm borrowing someone's rig so I can make some posts and find the outside world.

I don't know about you guys, but I could live without a TV for a long time without any issues. Taking away my PC and Internet for a few days is about to drive me insane though.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

SportsLocker on the DL

Sorry for the lack of posts last week and moving into this week.

I've had some PC problems for a few days. I'll try to get this resolved ASAP.
Note to self: Dude, don't get a dell, get a Mac!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

New York Area Shows Compete for Yankees, Mets and Collectors

Competition may be good for the collector, but it doesn't help the stress-level next weekend.

November 14-15
MAB Celebrity Services has several NY Mets and Yankees in their catcher's themed show - including Joe Torre and Yogi Berra with throw back pricing.

Steiner Sports Store in Roosevelt Field Mall has Gary Carter signing autographs on Saturday, 11/14.

Alex Rodriguez has a rare public signing event at Last Licks on 11/14 at the Green Tree Club in the NY area.

The New York State National has Joe Klecko, Mark Gastineau and other New York Mets signing autographs on 11/14.

There's no lack of options on where to spend your New York themed collection dollar next weekend. I plan on going to the MAB show for a couple of projects I'm working on.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Meeting Real Heroes - Members of Easy Company

Every now and then I need a reminder of who are heroes in this world and who are guys that play a game.

On Saturday, 10/31, I met eight members of Easy Company. A Barnes & Noble store not too far from where I live hosted a Marcus Brotherton book event. Brotherton recently came out with "We Who Are Alive And Remain: Untold Stories From the Band of Brothers." His book provides more background and stories on some of the Easy Company members who may not have been portrayed in the HBO Special: Band of Brothers.

The event started to thunderous applause - well, as much as possible in a book store. As members of Easy Company entered the store and into the event area everyone around them stood up, stopped what they were doing, and began to clap. Some even started to cry.

Marcus Brotherton spoke first by thanking everyone and read a small, chilling section from his book. He spoke about a hero who overcame injury, adversity, and 18 months of therapy from his battlefield wounds. He then introduced the person he was speaking about and handed the microphone to Veteran Herb Suerth Jr. who proceeded to introduce the other seven members with a great story about each one.

A quick Q&A session followed the introductions and then everyone in attendance signed the book.

I though the line to get my book signed would move slow because it may take the veterans a little longer with the pen. I couldn't have been more wrong. The line went slow because each one of them wanted to talk, thank you for coming out, and genuinely wanted to get to know you. It was the highlight of my Halloween and easily the best autograph I have ever received.

I brought my two boys with me so they could see who real heroes are. You can see the top of their heads in the picture. They didn't get a chance to meet my Grandfather - a proud WWII veteran. This event is probably the closest they will ever have.

Autograph Show Top 10 List

CSA Shows held their final event of 2009 last weekend. CSA Shows does a great job doing four events a year in Chantilly, VA.

The biggest change I noticed about this show was their use of twitter. CSA began sending autograph guest updates throughout the weekend via twitter. You can subscribe to their updates at

I couldn't’t make it to this show. I was busy helping Obi Wan Kanobi and Clone Trooper Commander Cody collect candy door-to-door on Saturday. I’ve been critical of their all-Steelers all the time approach to previous shows, but this one was much more diverse and their top 10 ticket sellers had a bit of everything: baseball, football, and hockey!

Here are the Top 10 Pre-sale autograph ticket purchases:
1. Ryan Zimmerman
2. Deacon Jones
3. Frank Howard
4. Bert Jones
5. Carlton Fisk
6. Ozzie Newson
7. Fergie Jenkins
8. Sonny Jurgensen
9. Lee Roy Selmon
10. Alexander Ovechkin

CSA Show dates for 2010 (so far) are:
- March 26, 27, 28
- July 9, 10, 11

Friday, October 30, 2009

Twitter #FollowFriday Sports - 10/30

My sports information, card and memorabilia #FollowFriday edition:
#FollowFriday Sports Info, Cards & Memorabilia: @FCBsportscards, @CSASHOWS; @SteinerSports; @VOTC; @TracyHackler, @ACPressSusan_L;

If you are new to Twitter or the #FollowFriday idea, here's a recap.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Reggie Jackson is a New Currency

The dollar is dead and the Redge is the new standard.

Reggie Jackson is a little busy these days with the NY Yankees in the World Series. He's so busy, that he needed to cancel a scheduled appearance at the CSA Show on October 31. CSA could have just offered refunds, but instead, they offered the Redge.

If you pre-ordered your autograph ticket for Reggie Jackson, you can get a full-refund or participate in the Redge exchange rate for other autograph tickets.

Here is the current market value of the Redge:
1 Reggie small flat/baseball or oversize flat/equipment Ticket = 10 Redges
1 Reggie premium Ticket = 20 Redges

Redges may be redeemed according to the following menu:

1 Redge @: Carlton Fisk Inscription, Jean Fugett, Frank Howard, Charley Taylor, Chris Warren.

2 Redges @: Fergie Jenkins, Jim Kaat, Charles Mann, Gaylord Perry.

5 Redges: Carlton Fisk small flat/baseball Ticket.

7 Redges: Carlton Fisk oversize flat Ticket.

9 Redges: Carlton Fisk premium Ticket, any Game Model Bat (still in stock: Carlton Fisk, Frank Howard, Fergie Jenkins, Jim Kaat, Gaylord Perry, Ozzie Smith).

10 Redges: John Riggins small flat Ticket.

13 Redges: John Riggins mini helmet/football Ticket.

15 Redges: John Riggins premium (jersey/full size helmet/Super Bowl poster) Ticket.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

How Did I Miss Darth Maul?

I had a "Doh!" moment this week.

Ray Park, the actor who played Darth Maul in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace was in town three weeks ago. I missed the chance to get his autograph.
Park was at the 2009 Mid-Ohio-Con event. Park is a martial arts expert and has done other work, but I'm a confessed Star Wars guy and missing him at this event is frustrating. I heard about the Comic-Con in NY and CA, but I didn't know there was one in my backyard. Argh.

Next year's Mid-Ohio-Con is Nov. 6&7 and yes, it's already on my calendar.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Beckett Magazine Cheer! Review Results

The announcement of Beckett Media's newest magazine, Cheer!, created some strong reactions from readers of the blog post.

Tracy Hacker from Beckett Media responded to the reaction and offered everyone a free copy of the magazine. The following people accepted the free magazine: Rob at VOTC, CMW, Laloosh, Brian at Play at the Plate, and Daniel.

My role was to receive the magazines from Tracy, distribute them to who wanted them, and I decided to provide small survey.

So far I have received responses from 4 of the 5 people. Here are the questions in the survey and the results in their entirety:
After you receive the magazine and review it, answer the following questions using a 1-5 scale where:
1 = Strongly Disagree,
2 = Slightly Disagree,
3 = Neither Agree nor Disagree,
4 = Slightly Agree
5 = Strongly Agree

Survey Questions:
1. The articles were well written.
2. The photographs/images were well done.
3. You would like to see more cheer leading collectible information in the next issue.
4. You would buy the next issue.
5. Give me your take - additional comments.

Brian at Play at the Plate:
Q1. 3 Neither Agree nor Disagree
Q2. 4 Slightly Agree
Q3. 3 Neither Agree nor Disagree
Q4. 1 Strongly Disagree
Average score: 2.75

Q5. - The Pompoms and Circumstance article effectively covered the history of cheerleading, but the two interviews were just "so-so."
- The magazine was color throughout which was good. The magazine says it is a "photographic tribute to football's sideline sweethearts" and it is just that. It isn't really about collectibles.
- The magazine makes it fairly clear there isn't much collectible in this area.
- I don't have any interest in buying this product.

Rob at VOTC:
Q1. 4 Slightly Agree
Q2. 2 Slightly Disagree
Q3. 3 Neither Agree nor Disagree
Q4. 1 Strongly Disagree
Average Score: 2.5

Q5. The quality of writing by Beckett columnists is always, engaging and informative. However, to position this venture as anything but a "Chic Mag" for collectors is a serious stretch, and quite honestly an insult to my intelligence.

In addition, the photography was mediocre at best, most all of it was API footage and not near the quality of say Sports Illustrated's, week-by-week cheerleader galleries. (Oh. by the way, they are free.)

To make a claim that there is a collectibles market for NFL cheerleaders, at all is a stretch. This was clearly evidenced by the team by team coverage, where every noted "collectible" were autographed photos and/or calendars.. These are commodities not collectibles. The only way an autographed photo of an NFL cheerleader is going to become collectible is if one of the following happens:
1) The cheerleader goes into a career in politics and becomes successful.
2) The cheerleader becomes a movie, music, or TV star.
3) The cheerleader later does a photoshoot for Playboy then, maybe, that autograph photo becomes collectible.

The only meaningful collectibles from this genre I can see would be very limited and regional in scope and that would be original full squad signed photos or posters of the original Dallas Cowboys, as well as there uniform.

Would I spend $7.00 on this magazine of my own money? No chance in hell - that's 2 packs of cards.

Q1. 2 Slightly Disagree: First reactions was - "There were articles?" Any middle schooler could write those articles.
Q2. 4 Slightly Agree: Nothing wrong with photography.
Q3. 1 Strongly Disagree: Not enough people collect this stuff and they are most likely perverts.
Q4. 1 Strongly Disagree: Rather give my $7 away to charity.
Average Score: 2.0

Q5 Does anyone really collect cheerleading collectibles? It was done to make a quick buck from perverts who get get their free porn off the internet. Nuff said.

EDIT 10/29:
Q1. 4 Slightly Agree
Q2. 5 Strongly Agree
Q3. 4 Slightly Agree
Q4. 2 Slightly Disagree
Average Score: 3.75

Q5 The articles are fine and the photography is excellent. I’m just not sure about the concept and who Beckett is targeting as an audience here. I don’t think this magazine would fare well with the serious sports collector or the 30+ crowd. Not sure it fits with the younger crowd either. Maybe the teenage market would purchase this type of thing but that seriously limits the audience. I honestly feel that this would be something men would pick up in the store, look through the photos for a minute or two, and put it back on the shelf.

I'll post the other two responses once I receive them. I sent an email to CMW and Daniel last night.

Tracy - Thank you for the free magazines to distribute. Please let me know if you'd like me to add your comments to the article or you can post your reply in the comments section.

Monday, October 26, 2009

A New Approach to Sports Cards Magazines

The answer I can't stand hearing at work or anywhere is "because we've always done it that way." Doing it that way yesterday may have worked yesterday, but that doesn't mean it can work that way now.

Today sports cards magazines follow a similar style that was used years ago. Sure their layout has improved and the software to create the magazines is better, but the formula is the same: 1) Feature story on collectible; 2) new product reviews/news; 3) pictures from real people opening packs; 4) Price guides - the biggest section. Throw in a few ads and some hot lists at the beginning and you have the basic formula for a sports card magazine.

Does this still reflect today's collector? Do the majority of collectors rush to eBay to grab what's on the hot list?

When I look around the intranet I find more blogs about specific teams like the Chicago White Sox and the Florida Marlins and about specific players like Andre Dawson and Adrian Peterson than I do about the prices for new products.

I'd like to see the magazines list some popular player card lists and team check lists. Albert Pujols and ARod are two of the most popular players, would more collectors like to see a list of their cards (and others) instead of a price guide for a random card set? Would this be more valuable than seeing which prospect is higher on the hot list?

How about some team check lists? It could start with this year's World Series teams? A check list of the NY Yankees or Philadelphia Phillies cards for popular sets would be great to see if you're a Yankees or Phillies phan.

Some issues could add historical info like a list of all the Mickey Mantle cards old and new or a team list of the 1929 World Series teams.

This isn't a slam against the magazines, but an idea to discuss. Is the format of your product reflecting the habits of your buyer?

EDIT: A year or so ago, Beckett Baseball had an article "Dozen Roses" (or something similar) that highlighted Pete Rose's top baseball cards. I thought that was awesome and exactly what I was looking for as a collector.

1952 Bowman Small - James Phelan

My 1952 Bowman Small Texans team set is almost complete. I recently picked up Coach James Phelan's card.

Phelan's Texans won only one game in that 1952 season. They beat George Halas' Bears in a game at the Akron Rubber Bowl on Thanksgiving. Halas may have been guilty of a little overconfidence. He started the game with his 2nd string offense and defense. Meanwhile, Phelan started whomever he could keep in uniform.

I met Art Donovan a couple of years ago. Donovan talked about the game and how Coach Phelan made the Texans go in the stands to thank the 3,000 or so people for coming to the game.

Phelan's biggest compliment may have come from Knute Rockne. He described Phelan as "the smartest quarterback I ever coached. James Phelan was the captain of the 1917 Fighting Irish.

The last (I believe) 1952 Bowman Small Texan I need is #144, Jim Lansford.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The New FTC Guidelines Affect Sports Cards Blogs

The new endorsement guidelines presented by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) take effect on December 1, 2009. The guidelines are not new laws, but they help explain how bloggers can avoid being investigated by the FTC for deceptive advertising.

After reviewing the guidelines and reading some other sites, I think the biggest effect to these guidelines will be the free box breaks. This will mostly impact the free boxes that card bloggers receive from manufacturers to review their product. I'm not an attorney and I only picked out the ones I think could be issues with card bloggers. If you're concerned, speak to someone who's a compliance expert.

Personally, I'm against free boxes from the card companies. I've talked about this on the Wax Heaven and Beckett blogs and via twitter with Mario and Chris Olds. However, if you're going to do it, here are some keys to keep you out of FTC trouble.

Area #1 - Testimonial Results
The FTC guides say that testimonials that discuss specific results should provide the typical results a customer could expect. Some kind of "odds of getting a XXX in a box are 1 and XXX. While this mostly targets "adds," could an "add" be a free product sent to a blogger for review and to show on the blog? The box of cards has value, so I think it could fit in this category. So when bloggers pull the 1/1 and other rare relics, they need to disclose that it isn't typical and what the odds are of it happening to someone who buys the product off the shelf. Be clear and obvious on your results and and what customers can expect. Don't mess with "the man."

Area #2 - Disclosures
You need to disclose anything that may affect your credibility of endorsing a product. Meaning, if you take payment from a card manufacturer and you review one of their products, then you need to disclose this relationship. This may even affect online forum posts. If someone pays you for ad space, and you promote their product on another forum without disclosing your relationship, this can cause you problems with the FTC. How do you disclose this? Check with an attorney, but I think a link to a section where you disclose your paid advertisers might suffice as long as you link to that in any box break video or review.

Area #3 - Blogger Endorsement
According to the FTC guidelines, if you take payment to write about a product, then that's considered an "endorsement." Small, free items like a box of cards could be considered an endorsement according to the rules. The guidelines don't mention how much value is considered an endorsement. Is a box of cards that cost $100 considered part of this? Does the box have to cost $500 or more? I don't know. If you went out to a local card shop, bought of box cards and reviewed it, that would be considered an "unsolicited review." I don't think you'd have to disclose anything.

The guidelines also discuss coupons for free products. If a company sends you a coupon for a free product, any review of that product would not be considered an endorsement. That's assuming the coupon is also available to people who do not have blogs to check out new products. Hmm.... that sounds like the voucher system I've been talking about all the time.

To be safe, I would recommend saying, "I received this box free from XYZ Company, they also pay for advertising on this blog, and here's what I think of their latest product." I would say it at the beginning and end of any video or blog box break. You should also clearly list the odds of pulling relics, 1/1s, etc. for the box of cards you opening.

Again, I'm not a lawyer or work in compliance. I don't believe getting a free box of cards to review is in the best interest of the consumer. If you do, please keep these areas in mind so you avoid FTC issues after Dec. 1, 2009.

Here are some helpful links about the new guides. I also referred to a Marketing Sherpa article as some source information.
FTC: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising