R.I.P. Frank Robinson – I Got Yelled At For Taking His Picture

Frank Robinson was one hell of a baseball player and manager.  He is the first player in history to be named MVP in both leagues, and the first African American manager in Major League Baseball.  For those looking for his rookie card, it can be found in the 1957 Topps set card #35.

For years Frank Robinson was on the autograph circuit.  He was a regular signer at the National Sports Collectors Convention, and various other shows throughout the country.  While I never got his autograph, I did run in to him during the March 2009 Philly Show and 2016 National in Atlantic City.

In March of 2009, the Philly Show recently moved from Reading to Valley Forge.  In my opinion, that wasn’t a great move.  I attended the show a few more times after that, but then decided to stop going.  I just didn’t enjoy the setup, and it became more focused on the autograph guests.  Lots of my favorite dealers began dropping out.  The attendance wasn’t there, and the price for booth space kept rising.  I’m not too sure what the state of the show is right now.  It still goes on in Valley Forge, but I haven’t been there since 2011.

Lets go back to that March 2009 show.  Former Phillies pitcher Marty Bystrom was one of the autograph guests.  He loved interacting with fans, and not once did he talk on his phone while signing autographs.  Yeah right!

Shortly before lunchtime, I remember buying a box and taking it over to the food court to open.  I think it was a box of 2009 Upper Deck Ultimate Collection Football.  While sitting at the table, I saw Frank Robinson walk in.

As soon as Frank Robinson walked in, I quickly snapped a picture from across the room.  I then continued going through my box.  The next thing I know he’s sitting at the table with me eating a muffin.  It was just us at the table, and nobody else around.  He made it well known to me that he didn’t like that his picture was taken without asking permission.  No “Hi.  Nice to meet you.”, he went right to the fact that I took his picture.  He acted like I shoved the camera in his face.  I was way on the other side of the room.  My thinking is this, in a world where everyone has a camera in their pocket and you walk into a show to sign autographs, people are going to take pictures whether you want them to or not.

Perhaps he woke up on the wrong side of the bed that morning.  I don’t know.  Once I was finished opening my box, I left.  While waiting to enter the National in Atlantic City, he walked by.  The second he was gone, other people in line began exchanging similar stories.  It made me chuckle to know I wasn’t alone.

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Flashback Product of the Week: 2003 Topps Kanebo Series I & II

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Update

Series II does have parallels – Copper and Silver.

Kanebo sounds like the name of a character you would see on a Mortal Kombat player selection screen.  “Kanebo Wins!”, “Flawless Victory Kanebo!”, “Kanebo Finish Him!”.  In reality, its the name of a Japanese gum manufacturer.

Topps and Kanebo Foods came together in 2003 to bring collectors this crazy set.  Its official title is 2003 Topps Kanebo, and was split-up between two different series.  Series I contains (55) cards.  The overall design is identical to that of the regular 2002 Topps Baseball flagship set.  On the back is the main difference where everything is written in Japanese.  Randomly inserted were silver and black parallels.

Don’t let the design fool you.  They look like something from 2002, but all of the cards from Series I have 2003 copyright dates.  This can be extremely confusing when it comes to rookie cards.  Luckily, Topps and Kanebo only used two players in their Series I set that actually had real rookies in 2002 – So Taguchi and Kaz Ishii.  Neither of these players have much demand today, so their rookie cards from 2002 don’t hold much value.  But its still nice to know the difference between a 2002 and 2003 card.

Series II that was issued a little later on is a bit easier to follow.  Not only was it issued in 2003, but it also utilizes the 2003 Topps Baseball design.  Its double in size compared to Series I, and comes in at (110) cards.  You’ll find Series II cards more difficult to find, and I don’t believe it had any parallels.

Hideki Matsui has very few Topps rookie cards from 2003.  Most of them come from Upper Deck, Fleer, and Donruss.  His ’03 eTopps card is the main Topps card you see from that year.  Matsui didn’t have a rookie card in the 2003 Topps flagship brand, but he did get one in the Series II Kanebo set.  I’ve never seen one, but it should be #110.

Prices for these cards can be all over the place.  It all depends on the player.  A base card of Derek Jeter from Series I recently sold for $10.

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“Pin-Up” of the Week: Bud Bowl I

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Anyone remember the Bud Bowl?  This was a marketing campaign put on by Anheuser-Busch advertising it’s family of Budweiser beers.  The commercials featured Budweiser bottles playing against Bud Light bottles.  Bud Bowl I took place during Super Bowl XXIII in 1989.  This was an annual event to watch for up until 1997.  They skipped the normal Bud Bowl game in 1996, and only held a contest.  Game pieces with plays on them were probably distributed to fans in cases of beer.  The people with the winning play on their piece won.  By 1998, the Bud Bowl was removed from T.V.  The name was mainly used for in-store displays.  Today you don’t see it at all.

Bud Bowls were filmed using 3D computer graphics and stop-motion animation.  In some cases, it could take many hours to produce a few seconds of footage.  Throughout the years the Bud Bowl had a slew of famous announcers including Terry Bradshaw, Chris Berman, Marv Albert, Howie Long, and Ronnie Lott.  Bud Bowl I ended with Budweiser winning 27-24.  Budweiser won six of the eight Bud Bowls.

Anheuser-Busch slapped the Bud Bowl name on practically everything.  They made a few different pin sets.  These sets were mass produced and easy to find.

Flashback Product of the Week: 2007 TK Legacy Penn State Premiere Edition I

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Card companies rise and fall.  Some stick around, while others are here one day and gone the next.  Its been this way since the hobby began.  When you think of the major card manufacturers, companies like Topps, Upper Deck, Donruss, Playoff, Panini, and Leaf come to mind first.  There are a lot of smaller manufacturers that may not be around anymore, but still have quite the following.  One of those companies is TK Legacy.

For a large chunk of the 2000’s, TK Legacy released a handful of sets.  Most of these products were centered around specific college teams such as Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, and Penn State.  They also made some bowling boxes too.

Before TK Legacy shut its doors, they issued a full product surrounding Penn State football.  Unlike other schools, this was the only Penn State product they made.  The Premiere Edition was the only edition.  Some schools had four or five products made.  Boxes contain eight packs each housing an autograph or sketch card.  Key autographs to look for include John Cappelletti, Lydell Mitchell, Lenny Moore, Shane Conlan, DJ Dozier, Curt Warner, Blair Thomas, Todd Blackledge, Chris Bahr, and Matt Bahr.  For a lot of these guys this is the only product they ever had cards in.  I’m sorry to say that Joe Paterno isn’t in here at all.  For a guy who barely has any cards, this would have been the perfect product for him.

The cards are fairly basic looking.  No fancy graphics or foil.  In my opinion, TK Legacy had some of the best football sketch cards the hobby has ever seen.  A few Ohio State sketches of Troy Smith and their mascot Brutus recently sold for $100.00 to $200.00 each.  Sealed boxes of their Penn State product sell for $140.00.  Some of TK Legacy’s boxes have been known to sell for up to $300.00.  I think the reason why TK Legacy cards are still so popular is because they included players that don’t have a lot of cards.  Die-hard fans of those schools want them.

5 Cards I Would Like To See In 2011 Allen & Ginter

The Cardboard Connection is having a contest where you can win 1 free hobby box of 2010 Topps Allen & Ginter.  All you have to do is e-mail them a list of five cards you would like to see in 2011 Allen & Ginter.  Click here for all the contest details.

There are a ton of people I would like to see in Allen & Ginter.  I found it difficult to narrow it down to just five, but here is my list:

  • Jefferson Burdick – author of The American Card Catalog.

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  • Steve Jobs Auto – Co-Founder of Apple.

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  • Harry Kalas Cut Signature & Tie Relic – Phillies Hall of Fame broadcaster.

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  • Bob Uecker Auto – “Mr. Baseball” and 2003 Ford C. Frick Award winner.

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  • Ball Park Franks – Hygrade Food Products won a competition in 1959 to be the exclusive supplier of hot dogs to the Detroit Tiger’s stadium. Hygrade Food Products launched a contest to its employees in order to come up with the best brand name for their Detroit Tigers stadium hot dogs.  Mary Ann Kurk, one of Hygrade Food Products sales people at the time, won the contest with the name “Ball Park Franks”.

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In addition to this list, I would also like to see a card of Carl Stotz, who founded Little League Baseball.  So who or what would be on your list?

Why I Like BuyBacks

Between this year and last year, I have paid a lot more attention to Topps Heritage.  Maybe because I like the old school look or perhaps its the Phillies cards commemorating their World Series accomplishments.

One thing I like the most are the buyback cards that come as box toppers inside each box.  I’ve always liked the idea of pulling original vintage cards from new products.  Most of the time collectors will pull commons that aren’t worth too much even though they are from an old set, but sometimes you can get lucky and pull a Hall of Famer.  If your really lucky you might even get a rookie card of a Hall of Famer.  Vintage cards of great players are good targets for counterfeiters and usually force collectors to purchase the card they want after it has been graded.  Sure it ads some authenticity to the card, but it can also increase the amount you have to spend and not all collectors have room to store those bulky holders.  With the buyback cards, Topps simply places their foil logo on the card and thats that.  I think its a great alternative for those collectors looking to purchase a raw vintage card of a popular player.  I’d like to see Topps do this more with other products.

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Why Do I Blog?

I never thought I would be operating a blog.  It just wasn’t something that I thought would be entertaining to do.  The first time I wrote anything about sports cards would have to be when eBay started allowing users to write their own guides on certain subjects they knew a lot about.  The first one I wrote was titled How To Spot Fake Sports Cards That Are Up For Sale.  Within the first day it had received 21 helpfulness votes and gained much popularity.  You probably have seen a link to it on the left sidebar while browsing the sports card category.  After my success with the first guide I went on to write more and more about cards.  In late 2007 I decided to start my own blog, only posting a few times a week about counterfeit cards and scams.  I found myself wanting to blog more than just the few times and week, and thats how Sports Card Info came to be where it is today.  I enjoy writing about the hobby and interacting with other collectors.  A lot of collectors see other blogs as competition, but thats not what I think at all.  Its great if your the first blog to break the news on a hot story, but we all know that can’t happen all the time especially when your in college and not at the computer a lot.  The blogosphere would be very boring if every blog reported on the same subject.  Blogging helps you learn more and share information about the sports card industry.  Thats why I do it.

Probably my favorite posts are the ones when I catch a scammer, discover a fake card, or figure out a new way that people could potentially scam other collectors.  My best catch was when I caught a seller trying to sell a Yogi Berra 1952 Bowman graded a PSA Mint 9 with a starting price of $10,000.00.  The picture they provided cut off the grade and PSA serial number.  When asking for the number, they kept giving me fake ones that didn’t match-up.  I was able to get the auction kicked-off eBay.  Another favorite thing I like to post about would be pictures from shows, autograph signings, and sporting events.

I would like to turn this whole blogging thing into a career somehow, but I’m not too sure how thats going to play out yet.  Thanks for reading!