Monday, September 30, 2019

Brothers and Cardboard

This past weekend one of my younger brothers. Chase, drove up from the SC coast and crashed with me and my family. We don't get to see much of each other, however it's alway good to spend sometime together. My older brother, Toby, invited him up to the Charlotte, NC region where Toby and I live to attend an event we were setting up at in Monroe, NC.

A few years ago my brother got in with a group from Union County (NC) Public Library as they hosted their first ever kids friendly "comic convention" called Super-Con. Two years ago they moved the event from the actual library to an odd, but super nice location in the NC Agricultural Center. While my involvement last year was really helping out my older brother at his table where he peddled various items, I decided to request my own table.

Toby and had been talking it up for quite a while when we'd get to see Chase at Myrtle Beach when we'd gather at our mom's house. I really didn't think Chase would be interested in the event as he doesn't read or collect comics, but he called me one day last week asking if he could crash on my couch if he decided to come. Of course I told him to come on...then my wife proceeded to make me clean the house in anticipation of his arrival.

Chase is a several years younger than me, however there was a time we both we set up at card shows. We would set up and sell our duplicates and inserts we pulled in order to have a little more spending money to buy more cards with. This was in the early to mid-90's. Neither one of us ever had anything really good to sell, but I do remember him pulling a Jose Cruz RC from Upper Deck SPx. At the time he was a hot prospect and several collectors were chasing his cards.

All weekend Chase and I's conversations would always seem to come back to either baseball cards or wrestling. I knew Chase watched people break current boxes of trading cards on YouTube and I knew that he really didn't have the desire to jump back into the hobby. However on our way home from the event he told me he still had all of his cards from his childhood stored away at his dad's house in FL. One set he said he would love to finish was the 1996 Donruss Preferred set. I remember him buying that giant metal tin hobby "box" and working the set, but that was ages ago. I figured he let them all go like so many people do when they fall away from the hobby.

Upon learning of this info, I told him about the Trading Card Database website that I had recently started using. I encouraged him to set up an account and once he retrieved his cards to load up his profile with cards he could trade and enter his want list for the 1996 Preferred set. I really enjoyed the hobby talk as I rarely have people locally to talk with about this sort of thing.

Later Saturday evening my whole family sat down for family movie night and Chase joined in. My two young daughters also really enjoyed having their uncle around. Before we got started with the movie I handed him two sealed packs of 1991 Fleer Ultra baseball. He told me those were the first packs he had ripped in 15+ years. Wow. I can't even imagine going that long with crackin' some wax!

Sunday we all went to church, grabbed a bite to eat afterwards and then headed home to watch the Carolina Panthers/Houston Texans football game. Before you knew it the game was over and he had to hit the road. I don't know if he'll ever read this blog post, but I had a great time re-connecting of sorts over the weekend. I know he's my brother and all, but we really didn't grow up together so we've never had the strongest of relationships. However thanks to baseball cards, we had memories to share and a common interest to talk about all weekend. This was easily one of the better weekends I've had in quite some time.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Box Break: 1991 Fleer Football

About a month ago I followed up on a Facebook Marketplace ad I saw for several different boxes of junk wax for sale. It took a few weeks for the seller and I to get our schedules on the same page, but when I finally met the guy to purchase a few boxes of baseball cards I wanted, he brought more than he originally had advertised in his Facebook post. Two boxes that I bought were 1991 and 1992 Fleer football. I only grabbed them because they were dirt, dirt cheap and I thought it would be fun opening. I really didn't pay much attention to the NFL until 1995 when my home town of Charlotte, NC was awarded the Carolina Panthers and they began their inaugural season. After a quick Twitter pole to decide which box I'd open first, I tackled the 1991 box two weeks ago in partial celebration of the 2019 NFL season that was kicking off. I was really excited about busting this old wax until I got a few packs in. Ugh. This was not pretty. So much not pretty that I almost abandoned this post all together. I imagine if you've ever opened up any of this product then you may know what I'm talking about. 

I had no intention of trying to build this set as I just don't have that much interest in pre-1995 football releases...that and I'm more of a baseball guy anyhow. However I was looking forward to pulling a few cards of retired players such as Reggie White and of course the Provision insert cards. Just looking at the Dan Marino that was prominently featured on the top of the box got me all excited. When I opened my first pack...well... wasn't a Marino Provision, but instead his base card. I can forgive the ugly design. In fact the ugly design with the gradient green background is part of this sets overall charm...but look how horrible off centered the card is. A first I though it was just a bad cut card. Afterall, this was the early 90's and I've seen a lot of miscut / horribly cut trading cards from this era. I just chalked it up to a bad pack. Nothing more, nothing less. Next pack.

Sigh. More of the same. Seriously Fleer? Was my luck that bad that I'd get two packs back to back that were cut this badly? Surely not. Let's move on to pack 3.

Boom! My first Provisions card...but crap, it's off centered too. Not as bad as the base cards, but still a bummer. Sweet looking card though. My only real experience with Howie Long is in the Fox NFL pre-game show. I never saw him play, but of course I know of the reputation that proceeds him on the field.

While the next few packs didn't yield anything exciting, a few packs in and I landed this Joe Montana All-Pro. Again, off centered. Like the Howie Long Provision, it wasn't as bad as the base card.

This Troy Aikman was bad...and I don't mean bad in a good way! This is down right pathetic Fleer. Seriously? Is every card, pack, box this bad? If so, why would they release them? After a handful of packs into the box I just all desire to continue opening packs. The thought of opening 36 packs of this product was torture. It didn't help that while I was opening these packs my Carolina Panthers were struggling against the Los Angeles Rams too. Alas, I continued to make my way through the box.

What's so special about Dolphins' kicker, Reggie Roby. Well nothing, unless your name is Jon and you run the blog A Penny Sleeve for your Thoughts. I remember Jon mentioning in a semi-recent post of his little player collection of Roby so I made sure to snap a pic of this card to see if he needed it...which he did. Well at least some good came out of this box.

The next Provisions card was of Mike Singletary. Great player (or so I hear), but horrible coach. Still off centered, but still a nice looking card. Perhaps I'm starting to feel a little bit better about this box...

Wait a minute. When did Deadpool play football?!

I do remember watching Randall Cunningham play a few games towards the end of his career. In fact early in Cam Newton's career Randall's name was brought up a few times in Carolina. I didn't care for this Provision card as much as the other two previously pulled.

Bo knows horribly miscut cards. Like most of the inserts, the horizontal centering isn't that bad, but the vertical centering is off again. Still kind of fun pulling a Bo Jackson card.

The last card of note pulled from the box was another All-Pro insert, this time of the Redskins' Cornerback, Darrell Green. Before the Carolinas were awarded the Panthers, a lot of people in the area were fans of the Redskins...including my late father. I'm sure I watched a few games with my dad, but because I didn't know much about the game of football I don't recall much about Darrell.

Overall opening this box was more of a chore than it was fun. This was the second box I opened from the big lot of boxes I bought and while I don't regret buying it, I'm left with a lot of cards that I have zero desire to keep. I've already added all of the inserts to my Trading Card Database trade lists, but I don't think I'll bother listing all of the common base. I may go back and list some of the bigger names just to see if anyone is interested. I'm walking away with a few cards for various collections of my own as well as now know to steer clear of 1991 Fleer football moving forward. I've still yet to open the 1992 Fleer football box and I just pray that I have a better experience with that box than I did with this one.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Sunday Verse

Psalm 46:10

New International Version

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”