Sunday, October 14, 2012

New Site & New Blog

I have not been posting much as I have been getting my new site ready:

Please check it out! I have begun to scan my collection and it's still a work in progress.

I also will just be posting on my blog @ the 90's collector, so make sure to follow me over at the new site!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

1997-98 Pinnacle Inside: Reflections 15 Years Later

1997-98 brings back fond memories every time I think about the product released that season. It was my last year of grade school and the last year of my child/teenage years that I collected seriously. While I always thought that I gave up collecting for the usual reason in high school: girls, reflecting on it now it had a lot to do with the direction of the hobby. 1998-99 saw many changes such as the Pinnacle/Donruss companies folding and many of the companies shifting to producing memorabilia cards, which increased the cost of the manufacturing process. Packs were no longer in the $1-$3 range, with many of the products being at $5 plus a pack.

The last really good memory I have of collecting in my child/teen years involve the Pinnacle Inside cans. For those who did not collect in the late 90's, Pinnacle produced a brand of trading cards that featured cards inside a can. While the idea itself was quite neat, the tension of holding the can in your hands on the car ride home was almost too much. The can could only be opened with a can opener.

Christmas of 1997 my family, as we always did, went to Church on Christmas Eve. My Mom had forgotten to purchase milk earlier that day and we were forced to find an open convenience store on the way home. When we finally did, the store had a small Pinnacle Inside can display at the front register. I stared at the cans in amazement, not knowing that a product in a can existed. My Mom, knowing how much I loved John Vanbiesbrouck, told me she would buy one can for me with his picture on the side.

Upon returning home, I slipped into my PJ's while my Dad threw a log on the fire and tuned into some Christmas specials. I got to open my can by the fire and still to this day my memories of that night are so vivid almost fifteen years later.

While I wish I could say I hit something big in that can, the best card in the pack was a coaches collection insert of Pat Lafontaine. I still have the card to this day.

Finding sealed cans can be pretty tough now, although every few years I manage to bump into a few at card shows. Hopefully one day I can finish the master set for this under appreciated product.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Contest Over at Punk Junk

Sal over at Puck Junk is having a great contest! The contest will focus on helping set collectors finish off sets. All of the rules are posted over on Punk Junk, however in a nut shell you post one card at a time that you need. If someone has this card they will respond and send you the card for free!

Goals and assists are awarded for helping other people out and at the end Sal will send out prize packs to the people who scored the highest!

Please check out Punk Junk for all the details.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Blaine Lacher: Not Just a Flash in the Pan

Summer is over and it's time to get back focusing on hockey! Lately I have been thinking a lot about the short and brief career of Blaine Lacher.

He burst on the scene in the lock out shortened season of 1994-95 as a relative unknown after a strong college career. In his only full season in the NHL (actually his only full pro season in any league) he posted a 19-11-2 record with 4 shutouts and a 2.41 goals against average. Lacher was never the same again after his rookie season and drifted into obscurity after retiring part way through the 1996-97 season.

His story is living proof how quickly success can come and how quickly it can go away. To many his career was a flash in the pan, however I don't view it that way. He spent four years at a great school, played in the NHL, which is what almost every hockey player dreams of and he found success, even if it was only for a short period of time.

Upon searching for Lacher's where abouts, I was mainly looking to see if he still continued to play hockey after leaving the pro ranks for good. From what I found, it seems he was active in senior men's leagues until about 2004. After that the trail went cold and it seems his competitive days in hockey were over . He would have been 34 years old when he left hockey for good.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

1997-98 Donruss Priority Box Break

I bought this box at the spring expo for $10 and was saving it for a day when I really needed a break. Work was tough this week, I broke the box Friday night. My hopes were that I would pull a stamp of approval card limited to /100 copies and an opening day issue postcard.

The box featured 15 packs, 10 large packs with a 4X6 postcard and 5 regular packs with a stamp. This was one of the coolest ideas in the late 90's and it's a shame that this set gets hardly any love at all.

The direct deposit inserts are numbered to just /3000 copies and have a silver foil background.

The postmaster generals is a twenty card goalie set limited to /1500 sets. I had previously pulled a Garth Snow back in the day when my local dollar store was selling these packs.

I did manage to pull an opening day issue limited to /1000 copies. This scan really shows me that I need to clean off my scanner.

In my first pack I hit the stamp of approval card! It may be of the slow footed Jason Allison, however I am still very happy. The cards are numbered to /100 and you aren't guaranteed one in every box.

A pretty good break for only $10!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Great Goalie Mail Day

Lately my luck has been terrible when eBay auctions, it seems the stuff I like a LOT of other people like too because everything I bid on sells for way more than it should. Luckily I managed to win some nice stuff:

First up, a nice pick up from the new Between the Pipes series. I managed to snag this one for a few bucks plus shipping.

These anniversary cards are great and I was able to land the Montoya under budget. This card is numbered to /10 copies.

These prized prospects cards from 2005-06 have some very nice patches, although they are from photo shoot jersey's and not game used. Still a great piece for under $10.

I wanted to start a small Ben Scrivens PC and I was able to pick this lot up for $20 plus shipping. I really like the crown cards from this year, reminds me of the good ol' creative days of Pacific.

This card is even more gorgeous in person and features a new favourite with an old favourite. I spent a little bit more on a single card then I would have liked, however after getting the card it was well worth it.

While I haven't been picking up cards in quantity lately, I sure have managed to to pick up quality. Hopefully some nice 90's auctions will pop up soon, maybe a nice cheap box of 1996-97 Be a Player.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Classic Games Inc. : Off the Map Without a Trace

Classic Games Inc. produced hockey cards from 1991-1996. Looking back over 15 years later, I don't recall why the company stopped producing cards. After conducting a lengthy google search, I was still left with no answers. Any trace of the company seemed to disappear when it last produced cards in 1996.

As a kid, I really liked classic cards. They included autographs in their sets and they were not as tough as a pull compared to Score and Pro Set. Classic was also the first to include serial numbered cards and provided unique inserts. Please see below:

The above two cards are gorgeous examples of what Classic produced. The Kozlov card is actually clear acetate and these were big pulls back in the day. Sadly, time has not been friendly to these cards and the acetate has yellowed over the years.

As a kid I was really big into the Daigle hype and I broke a lot of 1993-94 Classic Hockey, trying to pull his cards from packs.

Despite being the most creative card company for a good portion of it's years, the brand never really took off. Without an NHL license, Classic had to stick with minor league and junior players. During the company's final years, they tried their hand at four sport releases. It is my guess, that the four sport release sealed the companies fate.

If anyone has any information as to what happened to Classic Games Inc., please post a comment. I'd really like to know why the company stopped producing cards.

A Four Sport Autograph Card of Mike Fountain

If anyone has any information as to what happened to Classic Games Inc., please post a comment. I'd really like to know why the company stopped producing cards.

Vintage Game Review: Baseball Stars 2 NES

It's been a longtime since I've done a vintage game review and with summer coming, I should be playing a lot of vintage games on the bus rides home from work. A while back, I purchased an NES controller with USB plug for my computer, downloaded an emulator and have never looked back. While I own about 100 real NES games for the actual console, I started to notice games becoming more expensive. With trying to save money, I've gone the free route, downloading ROMS from the Internet.

Baseball Stars is an important game in the industry and it's game style led to the development of all the recent sports games. Baseball Stars 2 was one of the first games were you could take a team through a season and actually manage the team. You get paid for attendance, which is based on how well your team is doing. It's been a while since I've done a season mode, so the details are a bit foggy, however I recall it being a lot of fun.

I mainly play single games and these can be very fun. The batting is pretty simple and once you get your timing right, you can do some serious damage with the better hitters. You only need to press one button to swing, which is a whole lot easier then most games today.

Like many older games, fielding can be a tad bit challenging, as you have to follow the small shadow on the ground to track the ball. However, if you master the hitting, you won't need to be a great fielder. Players all field and throw differently based on their skill ratings.

Base running can be somewhat challenging if you want to tag on a fly ball with the bases loaded as all the runners automatically advance. A small trick when running to first to beat out a throw is to frantically tap "A" and seems to make your runner move quicker.

This game can be found for usually around $20 (cartridge only), although if you look hard you can find it in the $10-$15 range.

Gameplay 3/5
Fun           5/5
Total         8/10

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Kerry Wood Retires

What an arm and what promise, back in the late 90's everyone was talking about Kerry Wood and how he was a lock for the Hall of Fame.

In just his fifth career start, he struck out 20 batters, allowing only one hit in the process and walking none. Wood had many more impressive strikeout feats in his career and was one of the most dominant pitchers in the game until the arm problems started. After his 29th birthday, Wood would not start another game in the majors.

Wood re-invented himself as a relief pitcher in his early 30's and racked up 63 saves, mainly over the course of two seasons as a full time closer. Wood finishes his career with an 86-75 record with a 3.67 ERA. The most impressive stat line is his 1582 strikeouts in 1380 innings pitched, good for well over a strikeout per inning.

The 2003 one two punch of Wood and Prior is perhaps one of the greatest one two punches in a single season ever. Both pitchers combined for over 200 innings pitched each, while recording a combined 511 strikeouts.

The Cubs had a great team in 2003 and seemed destined to move on to the World Series when the famous "Steve Bartman" incident occurred.

I've followed the incident since and it deeply saddens me that the incident seems to have driven Bartman away from the game. He has been offered large amounts of money to do interviews as well as invited back to Wrigley as a VIP guest. He has turned down all of these requests.

It came as no surprise that Wood had decided to retire. He was suffering through a poor season, most likely due to arm problems again. Earlier in the week, Wood announced he would appear in one more game and then call it a career:

Wood ended his career in grand fashion: striking out his final batter, being cheered on by the crowd and having your son come out to greet you. While I thought it would have been more special for Wood to strike out his final batter on a fastball, he decided to go to a curveball instead, a smart move because the White Sox batter was most likely expecting Wood's trademark fastball.

While Kerry Wood never lived up to the enormous hype during his career, he provided fans with the some very special moments and great games. He was very entertaining to watch and while he may not make it to the Hall of Fame, I can be certain, for all of us baseball fans lucky enough to see his final moments in a Cubs uniform, it will be a moment that will not be easily forgotten.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Derek King TTM Mail Day

King's claim to fame was playing in 800+ NHL games and getting drafted in the first round of the entry draft. King had some solid seasons with the Islanders in the early to mid 90's. He hung on to pro hockey until 2004, playing minor pro for the last half decade of his career.

King is currently an assistant coach with the Toronto Marlies.

Another Topps setter down! It's taking me a long time to get anywhere with this set, although I hope to finish it one day down the road.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Craig Anderson TTM Mail Day

I always respect a goalie who battles hard and Anderson is one of those goalies. He led an Ottawa team who was predicted to not make the playoffs, into the playoffs.

Anderson is a goalie who is capable of stealing games and I thought he was amazing in limited duty with the Panthers. You could tell how bad he wanted to be a number one goalie in the NHL and he fought hard for the starters role.

Anderson is also a great signer through the mail and his response time is much faster than most current NHL players.

I sent this requested right to the Ottawa Senators.

Baseball Mail day

I don't pick up much baseball anymore, although sometimes certain cards catch my eye. I saw this Romero at a card shop and really liked the look. This card is a mini version and I really like the colorful border. The card shop had it priced for $15 and after some looking around online, I managed to get it for $3.50 including shipping.

I have always been a fan of prospects and these sweet spot autographs, so when I snagged this card for .99 cents plus $1.75 shipping, I was pretty happy. I was big on Burroughs when he was first drafted and I really thought he would be capable of hitting .300 plus in the majors with 20 home runs and 80 RBI annually.

 Burroughs power never developed and he was out of baseball for almost four years before returning last season.

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Curious Case of Jim Carey

I never thought I would see another card of Jim Carey after his fall from the NHL and the stories I've heard over the years about Carey.

Carey has been a tough signature over the years. Countless people have tried to track him down, requiring his signature for sets they are working on, without much luck. From what I heard, other collectors all seem to have said the same thing: Carey will not acknowledge that he was a former NHL goalie and that they have the wrong person.

For all of the stories I've her that claim he would not sign, I heard a story once that he was elected to the Portland Pirates Hall of Fame, was friendly during the ceremony and signed for anyone who asked, including multiples.

Recently a group of collectors tried to get him to do a paid, private through the mail signing, which he ignored.

When I saw on the ITG website that Carey was due to have a signature card in the upcoming between the pipes series, I was not sure what to think. Sure enough Dr. Price managed to pull it off and find a way for Carey to sign.

It's nice to see Jim Carey get some hobby love again. He managed to snag a Vezina Trophy away from a very dominant goalie in his prime: Dominik Hasek. While his time in the spotlight was very brief, very few goalies were hotter from 1994-1996 than Carey.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Bobby Baun TTM Mail Day

I thought this one was long gone! After being out for almost two years, this card finally returns to me signed!

A fellow collector on another forum I'm part of mentioned that he recently met Baun and told him how much people enjoy getting his signature. I'm not sure if this made him start signing again, however I have seen a lot of people getting successes back from him.

Baun is most famous for scoring a Stanley cup winning goal on a broken ankle.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Expo Pick Ups

This is my first time posting with the new blogger and I'm a bit lost. I noticed that I have over 17,000 page views which is just crazy considering I have only 19 followers. Must be a lot of 90's fans out there!

The expo was much different for me this time around. Last expo, I found some great deals and had an amazing haul. This year, I didn't manage to find many good deals and kept my spending to a minimum. What I realised about the hobby is how expensive it's getting, even with getting outdated 90's stuff. I'm pretty much onto the more rare issues and many dealers over charge. At this point, what's keeping me in the hobby is the friendships and getting to talk to fellow collectors about their collections. I was lucky enough to meet up with Michael, who is a follower of my blog. We made a small trade: thanks for the help with the pacific exhibit base and the bonus goalie cards. It's nice to talk to fellow collectors who enjoy the same things about collecting I do.

Without further ado, my pickups. First up, my nice hit from 11/12 ITG BTP:

I wanted to buy a box so bad but at $100, I couldn't justify it, even with the bonus show card. Instead, I picked up three packs for $20 and pulled this nice short print.

My second nice find was this one for $5:

I'm not really working on the set, I just thought it was a nice looking card and unique idea. This card is numbered to /99 copies.

Another $5 card, wanted this one for a while:

Now onto the 90's stuff, all for .25 cents to .50 cents a piece:

I also picked up a box of 1992 Topps baseball for $5 and a box 1997-98 Donruss Priority for $10. In all I spent:

$20 on packs
$15 on boxes
$29 on supplies
$15 on singles
$12 on admission

For a total of  $91. Not bad, I'm pretty impressed with myself. It's the least amount I've spent on a show in a long time.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Matt Capps TTM Autograph Mail Day

I sent these out a couple of years back to Spring Training while Capps was with the Pirates. It was about two years ago that I last sent off a regular batch of baseball requests. I plan on sending more out this year once I get some US stamps!

Ian Turnbull TTM Autograph

The former Leaf signed two cards for me. Turnbull holds the record for the most goals by a D-Man in an NHL game with an incredible 5!

Randy Cunneyworth TTM Autograph

The non french speaking Habs coach signed these through the Canadiens. The Topps is a much needed setter and now I am consider going after 90-01 UD as well considering I have a handful of them signed already.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Tomas Holmstrom TTM Mail Day

Holmstrom has put together a solid NHL career with the Wings playing in 1,000 plus games and netting over 500 points.

These cards have been out for a while, it was nice to get them back!

Chris Simon TTM Mail Day

Simon had all the potential in the world to be a top power forward in the league and could never put it together, although he did enjoy a few good NHL seasons. He most recently played in the KHL and could be done after a poor season.

I did enjoy his style of play and he was a force for the Capitals in the late 90's.

Ryan Miller TTM Mail Day

Alright, I'm back after an almost two month break from the hobby for personal reasons! I have some catching up to do with autographs I got in the mail.

I'm not the worlds biggest Miller fan, however I needed the Parkhurst as a setter. Too bad he signed the plastic on the card and not the card itself. He sent along two other cards, which does not ease the pain of coming so close to getting a setter signed!

My major beef with Miller is that he talks like a big boy for a guy who has never won any major championship before. You can run your mouth all you want and be outspoken once you have a Stanley Cup Ring, an Olympic Gold Medal, even a World Championship!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

1995-96 Topps Series 2 Box Break!

Last week my girlfriend went to an antique market, while there she asked me if I wanted anything and I asked her to keep an eye opened for sealed boxes. I figured the usual garbage would be there if anything, so I was surprised when I got a text saying "92-93 score $32 and 95-96 Topps $15". I had to do a double take. I did indeed confirm it was the right box by asking my girlfriend in a way she would understand: "is there a guy in a New York Rangers jersey on the box with a silly looking helmet?". She confirmed with a "yes" I instantly called her and asked her to buy it for me. I figured it was series one so I mentioned to her that the series two boxes are much tougher to find, she replied" it is series two".  She bought the box for me and I decided to put it in my sealed wax box collection.

This past weekend we went back to the antique market, this time together. I picked up another box, to open this time and did very well.

These are the odds for inserts on the back of the packs:

Profiles 1:24
Young Stars 1:48
Mystery Finest 1:72
Finest Refractor 1:432
Home Grown 1:36
Power Booster 1:72
OPC Parallel 1:1

I was in tough to pull many inserts from the box, given that the box has only 36 packs of 5 cards each. I was really happy that each pack yielded a OPC parallel. These are tough to find and because this box is the Canadian retail version, they yield one OPC per pack.

This is the first card I pulled in my first pack. Great for me as I don't have this Soderstrom card already and secondly, it's an awesome looking card.

Now on to the hits!

I did really well! The box yielded two Home Grown Dougie's, back to back pack hits. I pulled a Marquee Men Gretzky 1:72 packs and not to mention the best hit out of the power boosters. I hit some nice OPC parallels including an Alfie Rookie and the above Chris Chelios.

The Sakic profiles and Gretzky Marquee Men are doubles and are for trade.

My master set of the 95-96 Topps series is looking a lot better now. I will post a want list from the set very shortly. The antique market has two more boxes, so I may find a way to get back there.

Friday, February 24, 2012

90's Inserts and Parallel Lot Pick Up Part #4

I'm trying to get myself caught up with all my mail. I recieved another lot yesterday, so I am hoping  to get this first lot posted so I can show off the next lot.

This is another large chunk of the lot. I still have some more cards to go. I really like the Leaf Press Proofs of Thibault and Tabaracci. These cards can be a challenge to find for a fair price. The skybox deflectors are doubles, so they are available for trade.

I don't have much ambition to go after all the crazy parallels Pacific put out, but I have no issue picking up as many as I can for cheap and see what happens!

This lot is mainly goalies, the Redden card is one of the very skater cards in the lot.

Matt Capps TTM Mail Day

It's not very often I get a baseball success. This one was sent out maybe two years ago and I have no idea where it got sent to.

I'm happy to see these back as I'm casually working on the heritage set. I hope to send out more baseball TTM's this season.

Troy Gamble TTM Mail Day

An AMAZING TTM success. Gamble has been tough to track down. I have wanted to get his 'graph since I started TTM collecting about eight years ago.

Sadly,I have heard through the Internet community that Gamble's son was killed in Afghanistan. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family if this is true.

Gamble retired in the mid 90's after finishing his career with the Houston Aero's. He is still living in Houston today.