Thursday, July 26, 2012

2012 Donruss Elite Orson Charles Autograph Rookie Card

Reggie Kelly is a little known name in the NFL, but he solidified the Bengals TE position for many years. Kelly was a great leader, a great blocker and a great teammate. The only knock on Reggie Kelly during his time with the Bengals was that he didn't add much to the passing game.

In 2010 the Bengals looked to address this when they drafted Jermaine Gresham in the 1st round. It looks like Gresham will be a really good player for us - and he even made the Pro-Bowl in 2011. Some Bengals fans were kind of surprised when the team drafted Orson Charles in the 4th round of the 2012 NFL draft - but it may be that the Bengals were drafting the best player available at that time.

Another reason might be that the tight-end position has really become a weapon that teams use. New England, San Francisco and New Orleans TE's are some of the biggest playmakers on offense - and it's possible the Bengals want to go that route with their offense. Having 2 TE's that can catch and make plays makes it tough for opposing defenses to guard ... at least that's what I hope will happen.

Since a new football sets comes out virtually every week ++ I can't seem to win a Mohamed Sanu card on eBay for a low enough price, I might have to start dipping into Orson Charles autograph rookie cards. This card comes from the recently release 2012 Donruss Elite Football, and I kind of like the look, although the cards do look similar to the 2011 release. Maybe Panini thought they wouldn't mess with a good thing - and with a large checklist of rookies that signed for the set, I think this will be a good card to land cheap because there are so many signatures to collect.

With the NFL training camps opening this week - it's that time of year, and hopefully Orson Charles can help the Bengals win some games this year.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

2012 Score Mohamed Sanu Photo Variation RC #357

Given that I'm still trying to win my first Mohamed Sanu rookie card (despite bidding on about 15 different auctions) ... I figured I'd better add another card to my early pre-season wish list.

2012 Score Football is a really cool set because packs only cost $1 - and you can get some good cards in the packs. The parallel cards, and even autograph cards are always really collectible, because they are pretty tough to get. It's certainly nice to see that they added serial numbers to some of the parallel set - after a year off in 2011. They even have 1/1 printing plates.

Another set that looks like it's tough to find are the photo variation rookies. As of writing this, I hadn't seen Andrew Luck or Trent Richardson, and I only saw one Robert Griffin III. Luckily for me, I did catch a look at the Mohamed Sanu variation. I'm probably going to wait another week or two before I bid on these cards because I don't know how rare they are yet. That might not be a good strategy if they turn out to be extremely rare ... but I don't think they will be SSSSSP if you know what I mean.

With 2012 Donruss Elite Football coming next week, I might be able to make my move on the Prestige and Inception cards I've had my eye on for a few weeks.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

2011/12 Panini Gold Standard Ryan Anderson Superscribe Autograph #9

Growing up in the 1980's, and my parents having just relocated from Southern California ... it was only natural that a young boy became a big fan of the Los Angeles Lakers. As time has gone on ... I've seen the Lakers win so many times I can't remember how many championships and finals appearances it has been. To say I've lost interest in the team is probably a stretch, however with the advent of fantasy basketball - I've certainly been watching other NBA teams more than the Lakers recently.

One player/team I've followed the last 2 season have been the Orlando Magic. I play in a fantasy basketball league where 3-Pointers are worth essentially 5 points ... so having players that can nail one from deep is key. Orlando has many players (the last 2 seasons that have hit the 3-point shot well).

Rewind to January 2011 and I was looking for a center I could plug into my starting lineup. I didn't have many options except Ryan Anderson - who was coming off the bench at the time. He defense was suspect, but he hit 3's at a very high rate.

A few months later I win a fantasy title - and the next year I do it again with Ryan Anderson in my starting lineup almost the entire year. His breakout season in 2011-12 had me thinking he was going to be the center piece of the Orlando Magic team with/or without Dwight Howard.


Given that Ryan Anderson was recently traded to the New Orleans Hornets, this 2011/12 Gold Standard Basketball card that just dropped with him in an Orlando Magic uniform might seem kind of silly now - but the on-card autograph is pretty sweet. Plus, if you want to collect Ryan Anderson rookie cards, they have him in a New Jersey Nets uniform, so Anderson fans might be used to the jersey change.

Casual fans of the NBA might not realize how good Ryan Anderson really is - but fantasy NBA players are well aware that this guy is one of the best centers to own in all of the NBA. With the lack of 'true big-men' ... outside Andrew Bynum, Howard, Roy Hibbert, Greg Monroe and a few others - Ryan Anderson's perimeter game is where the NBA game is going. Also the deal that sent Ryan Anderson to the Hornets involved a player most NBA fans haven't heard of - however the Magic risked loosing Anderson for nothing, so getting a player for him was the best they could do.

I bid on the card you see pictured here, and I'll probably be going to find a few of his original rookie autographs to bid on as well. I think this guy has a nice future in the NBA as a 14.0 - 18.0 point-per-game scorer.

Friday, July 13, 2012

2012 Topps Allen & Ginter Pablo Sandoval Base Card #38

Photo Credit : Ryan Tedards
East Coast baseball fans almost lost it last week when Pablo Sandoval overtook New York Mets third baseman David Wright in All-Star voting. While Pablo is not having a horrible season, he did miss several weeks with a broken bone in one of his hands. Not to mention he's played a few games in the minor leagues as well, which is where the photo you see here was taken.

So it was only "wright" that Pablo Sandoval became the 1st player in All-Star Game history to hit a triple with the bases loaded. Not to mention, teammate Melky Cabrera was MVP, Matt Cain started the game and Buster Posey started too. (Now you know how Pablo got in ... he piggy-backed off his teammates votes).

Only problem with living on the East Coast is you can't stay up and watch the games because they are so late. If you have a job, go to school, or have responsibilities - there's no way you can stay up and watch an entire Giants game that the opening pitch is 10:15 at night. So often East Coast fans underestimate players, fans and their ability to vote their favorite players to the All-Star game. East Coast baseball fans might not know that one of the more popular hats when you go to a Giants game is not a baseball hat at all .... it's a panda like beanie that honors Sandoval.

Don't be upset New Yorkers - you probably found this website from a search engine near where Pablo plays games, and are reading it on a device that came from California too. Just consider it our reward when we get our guys into the game.

2012 Topps Allen & Ginter Baseball just came out, and while Topps is known for being really East Coast biased - they do have some nice Giants cards sometimes. I've seen rare autographs of Sandoval, Posey and Bumgardner (and I'm sure others) this season - and I'm sure if the Giants keep winning, we might see more. This example is just a base card of Pablo, but you can see how much time they spend on these base cards - and I'm sure most Giants fans are scooping one of these up for their collection.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

2012 Topps Inception Mohamed Sanu Letter Patch Autograph

My early love for this player must be apparent by now, as this is the third article I've written on this blog about him since he was drafted. I've bid on a few of his cards already, but actually haven't won one yet. I may end up working out trades on the forums for one if I don't have any luck winning one.

Some people don't really like letter patch cards, and given how hard they must be to sign, I don't know why they don't just have the guy sign the back of the card. Not that Sanu's autograph is anything special, but we've been over that before here.

Behold a super nice "1/1" Mohamed Sanu from 2012 Topps Inception Football! I put the 1/1 in quotes because each letter is a 1/1, so if it's only for a guys last name - it's really 1/4 ...  but either way, still a nice card. I may be a buyer on one of these if they stay south of $20 - but given how fresh the product is, I don't expect to land one for that price anytime soon.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

2012 Topps Inception Mohamed Sanu Autograph RC #114

The 2012 NFL season hasn't even started yet, but we've seen a couple of different releases from Topps already to wet our appetite for the new rookies. Obviously my favorite rookie right now to collect is Mohamed Sanu - 3rd round pick of the Cincinnati Bengals ... and he's had a couple of nice cards released already.

His most recent release came out in the last day or so - that is his 2012 Topps Inception autograph RC. These cards almost look identical to the 2011 version, so Topps really didn't sway too far from tradition on these ones. Savvy Bengals fans might notice that Sanu is 'wearing' the wrong jersey number ... as the Bengals website has him suited up in #12.

I'm currently looking to collect this card - so if you have an extra one you want to sell or trade, I'll see what I can do. If not, I'll probably wait a couple of weeks and buy one right before the Pre-Season starts. Football rookies can go up in price pretty quickly (Andy Dalton) so I want to make sure I have at least a few of Sanu's cards before the season starts ... as he could be in line to get lots of playing time with coverages focusing on A.J. Green and Jermaine Gresham.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

2010 Bowman Sterling Yasmani Grandal Autograph #YG

My brother took this photo.
It was probably right around this time last year that I started to track Yasmani Grandal's career in the minor leagues. Part of it was because I purchased his 2010 Bowman Sterling autograph card during a contest I was trying to win. The goal of the contest was to sell the card within one year for a profit. I ended up making 40 or 50 cents on the re-sale ... and I was happy at the time.

When I found out he hit a bunch of HR's in his first couple of at bats ... I wish I had kept it.

Turns out it wasn't a bad sale, as the card sells for about as much now as it did last year because it's not one of his real early autographs. However, I bet his early Bowman autograph rookie (found in 2010 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects) are selling strong. I wish I had bought one back last summer when I saw him play during a minor league game. He was in the Cincinnati Reds organization, so I saw him play for the Bakersfield Blaze. Grandal has a big upper body, perfectly built for being a catcher. I'll probably pick up one of his cards after the hype of his MLB debut kind of wears off. I bet he has a really nice career if he can stay healthy.

Monday, July 9, 2012

2011 Panini Limited Andy Dalton Autograph Material RC #211 - Serial #/299

Being a Cincinnati Bengals fan for over 15 years, I've seen plenty of quarter backs come and go. I remember buying Akili Smith rookies in 1999 ... he was the only QB other than Jon Kitna that I even remember besides Boomer Esiason. I've had a Ki-Jana Carter collection, Chad Johnson and a couple of other players over the years. I couldn't really afford Carson Palmer rookies at the time, and maybe that was for the better because he got upset about something and basically forced the Bengals to trade him in 2011.

All for the better.

People who know me know that I don't watch college football ... not that I don't like it - just too many other sports to follow. So when the Bengals drafted A.J. Green and Andy Dalton in 2011 - I knew nothing about either player. When I read on the coaches were saying "Dalton was the guy we wanted" I thought they were just saying that because that is who they ended up with.

After the 1st preseason game I was a fan.

I remember seeing Andy Dalton play for the first time. It didn't go well. In fact ... the entire pre-season looked pretty bad for the Bengals, but the one thing that Andy Dalton does better than almost any QB I've seen is he gets the ball out of his hands very quickly. With a lockout shortened off-season and a rookie QB thrown into the fire of starting ... you'd expect Andy to hold onto the ball and take sacks. While, he's not perfect, I love how this guy plays.

Aside from that, I love the interviews I've seen with him on the Bengals official website + he had a recent interview on Panini's website. He revealed that a distant family member gets online and bids on his cards, which might explain why I can never get one for a 'really good price' on eBay!! I ended up picking up this card at a card show for $50 in March from the 2011 Panini Limited Football set. I actually really like these cards - the autograph is on-card and the design of the card is cool because it says Bengals.

I never started a Carson Palmer collection, but I like Andy so much, this is probably just the first of many cards I'll get from him over the years.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

2010 Topps Hertigate Johan Santana Base Card #231

Just a short time ago Johan Santana became the first New York Mets pitcher to throw no-hitter. It looks like on the back of this 2010 Topps Heritage baseball card that Santana came very close to throwing a no-hitter many times before. It says on the back of the card he allowed 2 or fewer hits in 23 starts during his career (as of 2010). So it really didn't come as much surprise to Mets fans that Santana threw a no-hitter ... they probably were just surprised it took so long. Johan has been a dominant pitcher almost since he first broke into the major leagues with the Minnesota Twins over 12 years ago.

These Topps Heritage cards are pretty neat and they show why Topps has always been one of the most popular sets to collect in any sport. The old designs are familiar with collectors young and old ... plus with new players on on them, it makes the old designs even more fresh. Santana has many baseball cards, and even has many Topps Heritage cards, but they all got some well deserved attention after his no-hitter a few weeks ago.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

2009-10 Upper Deck Immortals Alex English #254

During the 1980's most NBA fans were paying attention to the Los Angeles Lakers, the Boston Celtics, and even the Detroit Pistons - since they were the teams winning all the championships. Not to mention, it was an era where only 1 game a week would air on TV, and it wasn't even always aired live. Without the internet or modern technologies, only the most successful teams would find major TV converage in the early 1980's.

One player that was having a very consistent career all during this time was Alex English. You look at his stats on the back of this card from 2009/10 Upper Deck Basketball, it says he had eight straight seasons where English scored over 2,000 points, including one year or he averaged 29.8 points per game! One of the league's most prolific scores when he is with the Nuggets.

In today's time if Alex English was around playing basketball with Kobe Bryant and LeBron James, he probably would be far more popular. He's almost like Joe Johnson, Carmelo Anthony (without the multi-million dollar contracts/endorsements) or another similar player that scores quite a bit but haven't been able to break through and win in the playoffs.

Looking Forward to 2012 Score Football Cards!

Football season is great, the action on Sunday and Monday night (and often Thursday night too) is very exciting. If you play fantasy sports or bet on the games, it can add even more excitement.

In 2010 I recommended Score Football to collectors because it had a really cool mix of serial numbered parallel cards. In 2011 they pretty much took all the serial numbers away, so I didn't buy as many packs as I normally would.

Fast forward to this season and looks like in 2012 Score Football, there is some serial ## parallel cards + they have added Printing Plates of all 400 base cards. I'll certainly try a few packs because they are only usually about $1.00 each.

My favorite team (the Bengals) have 1 rookie in the 'rookie premiere' group of players that will have autographs. Mohamed Sanu should get plenty of playing time this season for us - and with all the focus on Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and other 1st round picks ... many Bengals' coaches and players have been impressed with Sanu's maturity. I think he is worth holding onto if you get his cards early in the season, as they don't sell for very much money. The Bengals don't really have any proven WR outside last years rookie A.J. Green, so holding onto your Sanu cards for now is my best advice.

Anyway, back to 2012 Score - I think this will be a solid set, and is essentially Panini's version of "Topps Series 1" for baseball. It'd actually be cool if companies released more sets in series like they do in Baseball, but for some reason football never really does that anymore. Score football could easily have an 'update' or 'traded/rookies' set like they used to have. I remember Score Select was even a cool set that was a more expensive version of Score. Either way, this is a cool set to give to young collectors because most of the base cards aren't worth too much ... but you do have a good chance at getting an insert card or parallel card that might be worth some money.

Once this set comes out and I open some packs, I'll posts some of the cards in the "Card of the Day" segment. Good luck if you open any of this, and if you get any of the Bengals RC's and want to trade - let me know in the comments!

Friday, July 6, 2012

2010 Bowman Platinum Gerrit Cole USA Card #PP32

When you get these team USA cards in packs these days, you almost never know who the players are or if they'll ever pan out to be major league players. In fact, when I picked up this card out of the stack that I had laying around, I really wasn't too familiar with Gerrit Cole. Turns out ...  he was the #1 pick in all of major league baseball in 2011 by the Pittsburgh Pirates ... and I kind of felt like I had been living under a rock! On the back of this card it says Cole was a former Yankees first-round pick and pitched very well during the College World Series & during his team USA performance.

Apparently things haven't been going as well lately for Cole, as he was hit in the face by a line drive while he was pitching in the minors about 2 weeks ago. It looks like everything should be okay for him but sometimes those kind of things can haunt a picture for longer than a few games. He's having a pretty good season statistically this year and he's even been promoted once in the minors. While I'm sure some of the USA cards from the 2010 Bowman Platinum Baseball haven't panned out very well, I have high hopes for this Gerrit Cole USA card.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

2011 Panini Gridiron Gear Marvin Austin RC Card #235

The New York Giants won the Super Bowl in 2011 in large part because of the play of QB Eli Manning and their defense. One of the guys that they drafted that season in round #2 was Marvin Austin from North Carolina. He's a 6 foot 3" - 310 pound defensive tackle, that ended up tearing his pectoral muscle early in the preseason. He ended up missing the entire 2011 season for the Giants, so you can expect he will be a nice added addition to a team that's already coming off a Super Bowl win.

Last year's Gridiron Gear football is a set I actually didn't really like that much. I thought the rookie Gridiron Gems Rookie cards looked almost like insert cards, and not like a true rookie would. This Marvin Austin card has ROOKIE displayed right across the top and it's exactly what I would expect over the card to look like. I think they could have done this set design for all the top rookies, and just had sticker autographs on these, and it would've been nicer than the cards that are found in the set. Although boxes and cards sell for quite a bit of money because the rookie class was so good last season so it almost doesn't matter what the cards look like. One thing is for sure, if Marvin Austin can stay healthy in 2012 and make an impact on the NY Giants - collectors will be going back to this set to hunt down his rookies they overlooked last season.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

2012 Topps Series 1 Justin Morneau Base Card #230

Justin Morneau's career seemed like it was on the fast track to the baseball Hall of Fame. For several seasons he hit 20+ homeruns and had over 100 RBIs while batting in the .300s. He also seem to stay relatively healthy often plane over 140 games during that stretch. However injuries and other problems have led Morneau's career to fall off the last few years. It seems like his power numbers have gone down, he isn't hitting for average, and he's striking out quite a bit.

 It just goes to show you how careful you have to be about when you buy a player over the course of his career. You could've bought Justin Morneau's cards between 2005 and 2009 and you would've paid quite a bit of money for them. His fans that might have waited or even sold during that period of time are now able to buy cards much cheaper, including the card pictured here #230 from 2012 Topps series 1 baseball. Minnesota Twins fans are probably doubting Morneau will ever get back to his All-Star/MVP caliber of play, and many collectors are probably feeling the same way.
He is 31 years old, which means time is not on his side, but if he can stay healthy ... he might be able to put together a decent season. Young collectors might not remember that Morneau was one of the hottest cards in the hobby for a few seasons - which is why it's good they put a guys full stats on the back of some baseball cards these days.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

2012 Panini Prestige Mohamed Sanu Autograph RC #273

This Card Is Serial #/499
The Bengals have quite a history of quality WR's despite not always having great teams or QB's. Carl Pickens, Darnay Scott, Chad Johnson, T.J. Houshmanzadeh, and recently drafted A.J. Green have all played at an elite level for the Bengals. So despite being a 3rd round draft pick, Mohamed Sanu is on my radar here before the season begins.

First of all, the Bengals don't really have any experienced players at WR ... and in fact A.J. Green is probably the groups leader in only his second season. That means that if Sanu can stay healthy ... he should see some playing time this season. Also, Andy Dalton is more than a capable QB - so I fully expect Sanu to get some opportunities if he can get open.

Moving on to his most recent card from the 2012 Panini Prestige Football set. It looks like he has several autograph cards from the set - but the one pictured here is his 'true' rookie signature. What I noticed is that his signature is actually really bad/lazy - and that sometimes leads to people selling off your cards. With that in mind, I might be a buyer at these low prices - considering he hasn't even played yet. Plus collectors are paying more attention to the top picks, getting a couple Sanu autographs early on in the season might be worth it. If he puts up numbers early on, and the Bengals can pick up where they left off last season ... his prices should climb off the low levels they are at currently. We'll see - but it's actually nice being able to afford Bengals RC's this season, as Andy Dalton & A.J. Green cards are pretty expensive! :)

Monday, July 2, 2012

2011 Topps Platinum Vernon Davis Base Card #147

I remember when Vernon Davis was a rookie, it was the same year I opened a card store and his RC cards were always popular with collectors. I remember having one of his Exquisite rookies, but sold that along with all the other cards I've had of his over the years.

I do pickup packs and usually blaster boxes at retail places throughout the year of interesting products or things on sale. I'm sure that's how I came across this 2011 Topps Platinum base card of Vernon Davis. Like wine, Davis' game has gotten better as he has been in the league. Having Alex Smith play better and the addition of head coach Jim Harbaugh all seems to have helped Vernon Davis play even better.

This card is really nice, and the parallel cards that this set has are always interesting to track down. Topps should have cards with real platinum in them like Panini has real gold cards ... but I guess platinum is really expensive. Each card has that refractor like sheen to it, and just by touching this card a bit I see my fingerprints on the front ... so you'll want to be careful handling cards from this set.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

2011 Playoff Absolute Retail Matthew Stafford Base Card #36

Matthew Stafford is a great example of a guy that you have to wait on to really see what you have as an NFL team or as a collector. Being the #1 overall pick will always lead to his cards being collected during his first few seasons, but after that you need to start producing (ie: JaMarcus Russell).

Stafford had some injury problems, and he was often getting sacked - but still showed why the Lions drafted him number one. During the 2011 season, it all seemed to come together for Stafford and the Lions - especially his connection with WR Calvin Johnson.

The card shown here is a retail version of his Absolute Memorabilia from 2011. You can tell the difference between the retail & the hobby versions is that the hobby versions have a 'refractor' like sheen over the front  - and the retail versions appear to be much cheaper stock & don't have the shine the hobby cards do. I got this pack at a 99-Cent store, and didn't get much, but I have gotten a serial numbered rookie in the past.