Card Grading In It’s Current Form Is A @#!%$ Joke – Human Graders Must Go

Years and years ago I gave card grading a shot.  This took place well before Sports Card Info existed.  Because I didn’t do it very often I either went with BGS or SGC.  I had some modest success, but most of the time my cards came back 8’s or 8.5’s.  Those types of grades on the cards I was sending in actually diminished their value.  Two cards came back 9.5’s – 1991 Topps Stadium Club Brett Favre #94, and a Ryan Howard 2003 Donruss Elite Extra Edition Status Die-Cut #’ed/57.

To put it simply, card grading is a scam.  It always has been.  The first card PSA graded is the infamous Honus Wagner 1909-11 T206 which came back a NM-MT 8.  That card was altered and trimmed from day one.  PSA looked the other way because they knew the publicity they would receive.  Looking the other way for publicity and/or giving high grades based on a customer’s grading volume for more profit has been ingrained into grader’s skulls since the beginning.  Its a sickness that needs to be eradicated.

In 2019 we have seen card altering and trimming scandals exposed one after another.  Everywhere you look another one pops-up.  They’re like roaches.  Just check out some of the most recent articles from Sports Card Radio, and what the investigators on the Blowout Cards forums have dug up.  I think its safe to say that every card encapsulated in a grading holder should be questioned.  That’s if you get your cards back at all.  Wait times are atrocious, and PSA has been known to openly admit to throwing cards out.

Grading has a place in the hobby.  Just not in it’s current form.  Right now card grading is way too corruptible.  How do we eliminate this corruption?  Well, I don’t believe we can get rid of it completely.  Removing the human component would certainly help.  An A.I. and/or highly advanced computer system would most likely be the best way to go.  It would need to have a vast database filled with perfect examples of every card ever printed.  Scanning the card down to the very molecules its comprised of would result in an overall detailed grade unheard of today.  I want a grading system so unbiased/advanced when that Mickey Mantle rookie card is placed inside the machine it’ll tell you which part of the country it was pulled and what else the customer purchased that day.

But not even the most futuristic grading system will stop the skeptics.  Who’s to say the system’s designers won’t program it to be biased towards cards in their own collection?  What if someone hacks the system to improve their grades?  Nothing is full proof.  But as we sit today, the human graders need to go.  Humans are too tempted by greed.  Graders, trimmers, and cosigners are all in bed together.  The FBI is coming folks!  Until some drastic changes happen, I wouldn’t take card grading seriously.

We all had a feeling shady stuff was going on behind closed doors, but most simply looked away hoping the talking would stop.  With all of the garbage that’s been uncovered this year nobody is going to forget about it.  This topic and the players in it need to be dealt with.  More and more collectors should be on major alert.  If these graders did what they’re suppose to do, not a single altered/trimmed card should have made it passed them.  Money is more important to them than their integrity.  As long as people continue to turn a blind eye, pay top dollar for high-grade cards, this cycle will continue.  Lets break that cycle and inform as many people as possible about what’s going on.  With each scandal that breaks, more consumer confidence is lost.

With the National Sports Collectors Convention right around the corner, I’m sure companies like PSA, BGS, PWCC, Probstein123, and many more will have some explaining to do.  Some of these people shouldn’t even be allowed in the building.  Lots of great cards will be on display.  Just keep in mind that they might not have always looked so nice.  Promotional subpoenas for everyone!!!

It all started with this one.

The Shadow (1994 film) Celebrates It’s 25th Anniversary

Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?

What’s the problem?  Isn’t this movie jogging any memories?  That’s alright.  Many people have forgotten about this one.

The Shadow is a superhero created by Walter B. Gibson in 1931.  He’s actually older than both Batman and Superman.  When placed side-by-side you can clearly tell that The Shadow was used as a heavy influence on the creation of Batman.

In 1994, Universal Pictures gave The Shadow his very own feature film simply titled – The Shadow.  It starred Alec Baldwin as Lamont Cranston a.k.a The Shadow.  Other supporting characters in the film were played by John Lone, Penelope Ann Miller, Peter Boyle, Ian McKellen, Jonathan Winters, and Tim Curry.

The film follows wealthy playboy Lamont Cranston over in Tibet shortly after World War I.  He decides to stay in Tibet, change his name to Yin-Ko, and sets himself up as a drug warlord.  While running his empire, he is kidnapped by servants who work for Tulku.  Tulku knows Cranston’s true identity, and shows off his otherworldly powers.  Cranston is offered a chance to change his life and be an agent of good.  The offer is refused, and he stays under Tulku’s watch for the next seven years.  In that time, Cranston undergoes massive amounts of physical training, learns how to hypnotize others, read minds, and warp the perception of others so he cannot be seen, besides his shadow.  Once the seven years were up, Cranston moved back to New York and resumed his old life.  At night though, he fights the criminal underworld as the vigilante called The Shadow.

Every superhero needs a villain.  That’s where Shiwan Khan comes in.  He’s a former student of Tulku, and a descendant of Genghis Khan.  Of course Khan wants to fulfill the destiny of his ancestor, and dominate the world.  I won’t spoil how it ends.

Released on July 1, The Shadow was planned to be a big summer blockbuster.  Unfortunately it faced tough competition among other movies like The Lion King and The Mask.  It never made it passed #2 at the box office.  It started off strongly, but quickly lost momentum.  Since it’s release on VHS and DVD, The Shadow has gained quite the cult following among fans.

Universal Pictures had plans for The Shadow to be the start of a new franchise.  Once it didn’t make enough money, that went out the window.  Despite that, merchandise for The Shadow was all over the place.  I distinctly remember owning four action figures.

Guess what else The Shadow had?  You got it.  Trading cards.  Topps created a 90-card set for this movie.  A majority of the set consists of photos from the film.  These cards have a very Stadium Club-like look to them.  Other than The Shadow logo in the corner and two green lines going across the bottom, the main focus is on the photographs.

In addition to the movie photo cards, there are (10) Shadow Legend art inserts.  (4) Topps Finest inserts are by far the most difficult cards to pull.

Not a whole lot of value can be found here.  It was mass produced, and even the “rare” cards aren’t in demand.  Alec Baldwin autographs should’ve been included.

I was eight when The Shadow came out.  At the time I wasn’t old enough to see it in the theater.  I had to wait for it on VHS.  The toys stick in my memory more than the actual movie itself.  The hype for it was unbelievable.  I think I watched it a few times, and moved on.

The Shadow drew me in because he reminded me so much of my favorite superhero Batman.  It wasn’t until years later that I discovered Batman was actually inspired by him.

Professional Football Celebrates It’s 125th Anniversary

On Sunday, professional football celebrated it’s 125th anniversary.  According to a November 12, 1892 expense accounting sheet from the Allegheny Athletic Association, a W. Heffelfinger was paid to play.  The official entry on the sheet reads “game performance bonus to W. Heffelfinger for playing (cash) $500.00”.  This is the earliest known evidence of an individual being paid to play football.  Historians consider this document to be professional football’s birth certificate.  $500.00 was a lot of money back then.  He must have been worth it, because the Allegheny Athletic Club beat the Pittsburgh Athletic Club that day 4-0.  Heffelfinger recovered a fumble to score the only touchdown.  In those days a touchdown was only worth four points.

You would think someone as historically significant as William “Pudge” Heffelfinger would have lots of cards.  That is far from the case.  I’d say his 1955 Topps All-American SP #18 is his most important card.  He also has a handful of cards in 2011 TRISTAR Obak, and a cut signature in 2014 Panini National Treasures.

Flashback Product of the Week: It’s Academic Player Erasers

Back to school time is officially here.  In all honestly it probably returned in early July according to the retailers.  We all make mistakes.  I know I’ve made at least one in my life 🙂  Why not equip yourself with a Player Eraser from the It’s Academic line of school supplies?  That’s if you can still find one.

It’s Academic has been around for over twenty years.  They make tons of stuff that can be used in a school or office environment.  Book covers, locker accessories, and scissors are just a small taste of what they make.  Over the past two decades, they’ve worked with all kinds of name brands to help sell their products.  At one time (it doesn’t look like it anymore) they had a deal with the MLBPA.  One of their products to come out of this deal was a line of Player Erasers.  These are exactly what they sound like.  Pencil erasers in the shape of your favorite baseball players.  The checklist features twenty players, which seems a lot more extensive than what you’d expect from a product such as this.

  • Sammy Sosa
  • Mark McGwire
  • Derek Jeter
  • Cal Ripken Jr.
  • Mike Piazza
  • Jeff Bagwell
  • Craig Biggio
  • Frank Thomas
  • Greg Vaughn
  • Ken Caminiti
  • Bobby Bonilla
  • Albert Belle
  • Kenny Lofton
  • Roberto Alomar
  • Jim Thome
  • Chuck Knoblauch
  • Bernie Williams
  • Paul O’Neill
  • Alex Rodriguez
  • Juan Gonzalez

Seeing that the deal was only with the MLBPA and not MLB, team names and logos had to be left off.  I see them as more of a novelty than anything.  A good conversation piece to sit on your desk.  As far as functionality, I’m not 100% sure how well they worked as an eraser.  On the back of the package, they advise you to rub the portion of the eraser you plan to use on a piece of scratch paper first in order to remove the decorative coating.  Otherwise you’ll end up with streak marks.  Given the checklist, I’d say these were released in the late 90’s.

A “Whiz Kids” Thank You

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April 9, 2013

Dear Mr. Chrisman,

It has come to my attention that “we the collective mind” at the blog: ENOUGH ALREADY seem to have won quite a few of your contests.  We are very thankful for what we have won in the past and present and it has come to be that we wanted to present to you a little “thank you” for the blog and the contests.

Being that you are a Phillies fan we found it to be only fitting that we would like to present to you an autograph of one of the infamous Philly “Whiz Kids” Andrew Seminick.  It was recently pulled from a History of Baseball Leaf Cut Signatures.  The autograph is absolutely beautiful and I hope you enjoy it!

Thanks again!

Tim Hertzog

http://annoyanceatitsfinest.blogspot.com

This afternoon I received the above letter and card as a thank you for all the contests and content I’ve been posting here on Sports Card Info over the last 5+ years.  Thank you very much!  This card will stay in my personal collection forever.