Sunday, September 27, 2015

HOCKEY POOL - Charity 50/50 Hockey Knockout Pool

UPDATE:  The pool is officially up and running.  If you'd like to join, please go to the Kyle 4or Kids blog and send me a comment with your e-mail address.  The pool begins on the first night of games so you have a little over a week to get your sheet filled out.  Thanks!

I'm going to try something new this year.  I'm going to host a hockey knockout pool with half of the proceeds going to my nephew's fundraising drive.  I was in a similar one last year and think it can be a fun way to get the hockey season going.

I will have more information in the next day or two, but if you like hockey pools (or donating to a charity), this might be a great match for you.

What I can say is that it's not a player draft or anything like that.  In fact, you don't NEED to have a huge hockey knowledge base to participate.

The more entries received, the bigger the winner's pot will be.....and the more that gets donated to the Alberta Children's Hospital.

Stay tuned.


For those of you who have checked out my blog for a while now, you might remember a fundraising quest my nephew and I took on last year.

Well....we are back for another year with loftier goals.

"Kyle 4or Kids" was a blog I created for my nephew Kyle and I to get our message across.  And what is that message?

We are raising funds for the Alberta Children's Hospital.

Ny nephew isn't doing a 5k run or a math olympics (boy...that would be fun), or baking cookies.  No, he's partaking in a huge 24 hour video game marathon on Saturday, November 7, 2015 organized by Extra Life.

Last year we came oh so close in hitting our $500 fundraising goal.  We raised $440 (and a huge THANK YOU to all who donated).  That was a big number in our eyes.  But we're going bigger this year.

$700 is the number set by my nephew.  Can we do it?  Absolutely.

So bear with me as I try and solicit some donations or even just some awareness.  I'll do my best to put on a contest or two to try and entice you as well.

Thank you for your time.

Friday, September 25, 2015

RAISE THE CUP - Eric Staal....And You're Welcome

When I started this "Raise The Cup" project a number of years ago, it was purely for fun.  Finding cards that capture that pinnacle moment in player's career.

At the time I thought there would be some odd inserts and base cards depicting players hoisting The Cup over their head, but I never would have imagined the boom in the evolution of this great concept.

After seeing Panini come out with their sets showcasing Cup winners (and using many photos showing the Cup-raising moment), I got a little excited.  After all, it clearly must have been my project that provided the inspiration.  Ha.

I've seen a good 4 or 5 different subsets or insert sets come out over the years and slowly I thought "Hey, quit cramping my style."  Ok, maybe not...but the project I started began to feel a little different when all of the sudden the market become a little more flooded with Cup-raising cards.

I think that's part of the reason why I've tended to avoid those sets.

Fast forward to this past weekend where I found a card - from a set - that might have just hit the jackpot.

2014/15 Upper Deck Premier
Signature Champions
#SC-ES Eric Staal auto  /99

What can I's a gorgeous card.

Fantastic photo, solid design, hard-signed auto, reasonable numbering.  This card has it all.  In fact, it perfectly parallels an idea I had for a custom TTM project (which I think I'm going to contemplate a little more).

A quick look at the checklist for this set shows that there's some beef to it.

A total of 24 cards, some numbered to /99, some /50, some /25 and the biggies /10.

Guys like Staal can be had for a few dollars while I'm sure the Messier (ugh) or Gretzky will command a whole lot more.

I contemplated building the set....until I looked at the checklist.  While it would be fun to chase, the fun might wain when it comes to the heavy hitters.  So I'm happy with this Staal being the representative in my binder.

And to all the companies that have used the "Raise The Cup"'re welcome.

Current Collection - 121 cards

Thursday, September 24, 2015


There are some cards that hit the market where I think "I'll be able to find this one locally."  It might take a few weeks, a card show or two, maybe a trade night - but I'll find it.

That attitude comes from the refusal to pay double, triple, or even more in shipping costs to secure a low priced Linden for my collection.  I just can't justify it.

It'll show up eventually - right?

Well, sometimes I ask myself if it will ever show up.  And I get more perplexed when I see dozens of other cards in the set....but no Linden.

Last weekend I finally crossed one off the list.

2014/15 Upper Deck
#GJ-TL Series I Game Jersey

Took long enough - but I finally gotcha!

I'll start by saying that this might be my favourite design when it comes to the Upper Deck flagship jersey card designs.  Full player shot, vertical aspect and a nice die-cut shape.

I've seen 4 or 5 different color swatches in the dozens and dozens of Linden cards I've passed by on ebay.  Again....not gonna pay $5 on a dollar card.  And I've considered chasing one of each color (I did that a few years back).

But after realizing it's taken nearly a year to secure this Linden, maybe I'll leave it at just that.

One and done.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

WALLET CARD - Card Show Pickup

I got excited earlier in the baseball season when I saw tweets showing the great Oscar Gamble signing his Topps Archives cards to be then inserted into the product.  A few more cards on the wantlist and the longshot chance of pack-pulling one of his signatures.  Sweet.

I bought a couple packs when the product came out (yeah....I gave myself no real shot at hitting a Gamble) and was shocked to find a gold border Harold Baines sig /50.  I stopped busting packs after that.

But I heard soon after that a local collector pulled the popular Gamble auto and I knew he sets up at the monthly card show.  Sure enough, it's the first card he mentioned when I saw him on Saturday.

He pulled the card out of one of his boxes and flung it my way.  I was very excited at the chance to land another Oscar Gamble auto locally....but was a little cautious initially.

The card was priced - and priced high.  $25.

Now I'm more than happy to pay a little bit of a premium to secure a card locally or buy off of a person whom I've done many transactions with in the past, but I'm talking a couple bucks.  This card consistently goes for $5 these days on the open market.

I let the card sit for a bit while I checked out his other offerings.  Eventually, I had to ask - "Are you firm on this price?"

To his credit, he immediately went to the trusted interwebs and checked the completed sales on ebay.  He knew quite quickly that he had overpriced his card.

He threw out a new number (which is the same number I had in mind) and the deal was done.  Easy peasy.

2015 Topps Archives
#FFA-OG Fan Favorites Autograph

Awesome card.  Super happy to add it to the growing collection.  But even happier that I was able to pick it up in person.

We chatted about that component of my Oscar Gamble pc.  I told him that Gamble had about 150 cards out there and most were simple base offerings.  If I really wanted to, I could drop $100 and snag the bulk of his cards out there.  But where's the fun in that?

Living in Canada, the card shows here are mostly hockey related, leaving in-person Gamble pickups a tough task.

So I explained that I'm going about things a little slower - and am having a real fun time doing so.  Finding cards locally is so much more fun than "click, click, click, click, click".

Now, will I be able to find the silver or gold parallel of this Topps card?  Not likely.  There will always be a place for the online shopping world in my hobby.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

VOICES OF THE GAME - Mike Lange And Company

One of the benefits of a massive loonie table at the card show is that you never know what you might find.  Case in point, I added three new cards to my 'Voices Of The Game' collection.

I work in the sports media industry and I've always enjoyed good broadcasting and good commentary.  My dream job would be to work for the NHL as an editor, building award-winning documentaries about anything and everything hockey.

So when Panini introduced the Voices Of The Game autographed cards a number of years ago, I thought they were pretty neat.  It took me a few years before I stumbled on the Dick Irvin sig that started it all, but better late than never.

Now I've seen a number of these inserts sitting on tables and posted online, but really, I'm just looking to land a card here and there when the price is stupidly low.  Just for fun.

I mentioned that loonie table right?

Well scratch my back with a hacksaw!

Mike Lange will be forever known for his "Lange-isms" as they're called on the back of this card with the all-time great "Beat him like a rented mule" leading the charge.

I've never really taken a close look at the checklists to any of these sets, but in my eyes, this Lange is one of the must-haves for any broadcasting signature product.

And at just a single (Canadian) dollar, it was yet another no-brainer.  In fact, I snagged both copies I found that day.

But that's not all.  This Randy Moller card is.....Mollery.

What can I say, I don't listen to Florida games and so I didn't even know he was a broadcaster.

But points to me for knowing that he did play in the NHL in the 80's (Quebec I believe).  So there's that.

But that's about it.

Joe Beninati.

I might have overpaid on this one.

Three more autos for the collection and I've almost doubled the size of this project in one short, inexpensive day.

Current Collection - 7 cards

Monday, September 21, 2015

OUTSIDE THE BOX - Card Show Find Of The Year

When I go to any card show, I (obviously) am on the lookout for anything that might fit into one of my collecting projects.  Linden cards, goalie mask cards, Cup raisers, Oscar Gamble, goofy looking cards, you name it.  Sometimes I don't even know I'm looking for it until I find it.

But I also keep a keen eye on what might be the proverbial diamond in the rough.  Something that might be priced way too good to be true, or have some sentimental hook to it.

And then there's just the flat out cool.  Normally that stuff commands a pretty high price tag.  But cool can also mean "old school".

I saw a few boxes of "old school" on a seller's table at last weekend's card show and stopped everything that I was doing to investigate.

Have I got your attention?

This is a box of 1980 Topps oversize baseball.

Living in Canada, I've never seen one of these before.  I remember the OPC hockey oversized cards that came out around the same time.  I even had a set at one point (sold it.....stupid, stupid, stupid).  This is the same idea.

There were about a dozen or so of these boxes stacked with a $10 price tag attached to each one.  The boxes were not sealed so I cracked one open to take a look.

Yeah......I'm buying this.

Raise your hand if you love the "helmet over the cap" look?

What!!!????  Nobody?

Still, it's Willie Stargell.  Done.

A quick scan of the box and I discovered that it was a complete set.  I went back a few minutes later and bought a second one.  Heck, I seriously considered buying about 5 or 6 of them.  But 2 will suffice.  One for me and one for sale/trade.

I took the time to scan a few of my faves (actually, all 60 cards are hard to beat).  Here are some of the sweet selects.

I'll use the George Brett to show you the comparison in size to a regular baseball card.

Looks like the photos could've been taken on the same day.

Geroge looks like he's gnawing on the pine tar he's about to use on his bat.  What a great moment.

If Oscar Gamble is "King Of The Afro", George Foster is definitely the master of the sideburns.  Those chops are deadly.

Take a moment to look at the entire photo - on all of these shots.  There are some great signs of the time to be ingested.

Keith Hernandez - pre-Mets, pre-Seinfeld.

Great jersey.

My name is Phil.  I'm an athlete and a pro ball player.

Holy spectacular!!!

That jersey.  That cap.  That hair!!!!

Now this is a pitcher.

Shame that you can't see more of these spectacular Astros jerseys of the day.  As a Vancouver Canucks fan, I can definitely appreciate a good lookin' jersey.

note: the JR Richard later in the set gives you a good look.  Sweet!

This is the same guy that's managing the Giants?


Hey, A cleanly shaven Bruce Sutter.


Pill box!!!!!!

Kent Tekulve is rockin' the shades in what is one of the all-time great baseball looks.



I forgot that San Francisco donned these gems as well.  Spectacular.

And another great jersey.

Agenda for the day...

Get dressed
Go to the ballpark
Get photo taken
Wake up
Cancel barber appointment
Play ball

My name is Gorman.

It really doesn't get much better than this does it?

It does.

Now THAT is a batter's helmet.

It's all good in this photo.

Oh my.

I kid you breath was literally taken away when I uncovered this card.

Take a moment to look at this photo.

The youth and enthusiasm in his eyes.  The darting smile.  The perfect signature.  The clear blue sky.  The Expos colors.


A tremendous card.

Now me being a good Canadian boy, I was curious to see not just the Expos offerings, but the Blue Jays.

So who do you think got the call for this set?


How about Rick Bosetti.


Career batting average of .250 with 17 home runs and 133 RBIs.

To be fair, he did play in all 162 games in 1979 and must have made an impact with his league leading assists mark.  He did also lead the league in errors that year.


Well, there's gotta be a couple of these in every product.  Overall though this is one heck of a spectacular find.  Worth every single moment.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

MY COLLECTION - First Card Show Of The Season

I had yesterday circled on the calendar for quite some time.  After a long summer of work - and a little bit of relaxation - I was eagerly anticipating the start of the monthly card show season.

I've been going to this same card show for over 15 years...probably closer to 20.  It's not a big show in a fancy hotel conference room or huge community centre, instead it's in the main foyer of a rec centre complete with hockey rink, curling sheets and squash courts.

I've always enjoyed the vibe that this building has given me.  Maybe I'm just enjoying the longevity and familiarity of it, but I look forward to going each and every time it's scheduled....and I get bummed when I can't go because of other commitments.

It used to be every other weekend back in the day - when card collecting was in a major boom phase.  Now it's monthly.  And while I still feel that it is a popular destination for the many regulars that head out to sift through boxes of cardboard, I always get a little antsy about the support and interest these smaller local shows have.

I fear that one day these shows will be gone, and we will be left to the odd bigger show and the constant "sitting in front of the computer" to satisfy my hobby cravings.

Support your local shows.  You don't know what you've got until it's gone.

Now that the PSA is out of the way.....let's talk about the fantastic day at the show.

It was great to see some familiar faces and some new tables set up.  And while many had their familiar offerings of card laid out, I did see some diamonds in the rough.  A quick scan of the place would make it look like all things stayed the same.....but not so (Captain Canuck, I'm looking at you).

I managed to pick up a tremendous smattering of cards for numerous projects (I'll share them later this week) and a couple of fantastic finds that prove if you're willing to'll get rewarded.

I'll use this post to share a small sample of the biggest haul of the day.  We'll call this the "Buck A Card" table.

One seller consistently has numerous boxes filled to the max with anything from jersey cards to autos to rookies to inserts.  The usual offering at many shows - but not this time.

Normally there are some signs indicating how much the cards are worth. But most boxes were sans signs.  So I asked.  And I got a pretty easy response...


Uh....just these couple boxes right?

No - all of them.


Even this box?  (where I'm scoping out a number of juicy parallels)



Let the digging begin.

This Sidney Crosby black border parallel is numbered /50.  It was a no-brainer.  And neither were the other 8 black border parallels that included Mats Sundin, Dominik Hasek, Marty Brodeur and Jordan Eberle (jersey numbered to boot).


Pavel Datsyuk Ruby parallel from Black Diamond /50.  Yes please.  Goes well with the M.A. Fleury and Corey Perry from the same set.


Alex Galchenyuk red border redemption card from OPC looks good.


Cal's 'stashe is killer in this photo and accompanies a nice hard-signed auto on a card /25.  Picked up a Craig Smith /25 from the same set.


I've always loved the Social Signatures concept.  And this particular offering is the closest to perfection any of those sets achieved.  Some good hard-signed autos.  I picked up a total of 10 from the set.


Ryan Kesler retro from OPC.  Beauty.  You know where this is going - right?

Blank back.


It scan like crap but looks like gold - and it is.

This Al MacInnis ITG Draft Prospects First Round Picks card is the gold parallel - one of just 10 copies available.  I couldn't get it into the pile fast enough....and was secretly hoping for more of these.  But no luck there.

Still, for a Calgary Flames card of one of their all-time greats, limited to just 10, sitting in a dollar box....easy decision.


Maybe one of the greatest signatures in the game (no offense to the Beliveau's and Richard's or Howe's) but the consistent penmanship and strong elegance just shines on this Gilles Gilbert gem.

I grabbed both copies I could find.  Along with a few other veteran goalie signatures.


All totaled, I stacked up a pile 80 cards high.  Was not planning on that at the start of the day.  But it serves many purposes.

I made the decision to set up at the biggest card show to hit the city in a number of years next month.  It's been a good decade since I've sat on the other side of the table.

After designing the posters for the event, I was given the opportunity to secure a table at the show as payment for the work.  I hummed about it for a few weeks thinking "Do I have enough stuff?", "Do I have time to get everything ready?", "Do I want to invest the time behind the table at the show instead of enjoying the weekend as a potential buyer?"

It wasn't until I talked to a co-worker who thought I was crazy not to take advantage of the situation.  And now knowing I'll have a little help in tending the table.....I'm taking the leap.

These new additions to the trade box will help go a long ways in making my table a little more respectable.  And no - I'm not looking to get top dollar and maximize my profit.  Heck, if I can double my money I'll be thrilled.

What these cards will also do is give my monthly trade night trader box a much needed overhaul.  It's pretty boring seeing the same stuff each time out.  And yes....I am very aware of that.

So...a terrific start to the card show season.  And I've got much more to share over the next little while.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

1 vs. 100 - We Have One Final Trade

I mentioned that I was doing my best to clean up the card bomb that went off in my office.  It was a slow exploding bomb - months to fully detonate actually, but the effects are slowly starting to fade away.

One of the cards I had set aside came from a package with some Oscar Gamble items and a couple nice gifts.

I recently completed my '1 vs. 100' project and obtaining that last card was in quick order after getting the wantlist down to just a single item.  In fact, I might have picked up the card a little too quickly for some.

This Tomas Hertl /98 just couldn't get into my hands fast enough before I grabbed the Craig Smith to finish off the project.

But that doesn't mean it's not very much appreciated - and a part of the set.

I'm jumping one final hurdle in order to include the Hertl.  (oh, see what I did there)

Thanks Kevin for the memorable final card in my project.  But if you think I'm going to re-do my master 100-card mosaic.....forget it.  Ha.

TO THE BIKE SPOKES!!! - Greg Maddux

It's been a long time since I've shared a lovely card moments before putting them in the bike spokes.  Not that there's been nothing out there to share (ITG Used and their Esposito episode...I'm looking at you and your friends), but I just haven't taken the time to scan anything up.

But when I participated in some pack ripping at the monthly trade night, I found a gem that not only needed to be in the spotlight, it reminded me of one of the all-time great crappy cards in my collection.

Years ago, I shared a gem of a card from a terribly ugly set concept - Be A Player Signature Series Golf.  This Paul Kariya offering might go down as one of the worst hockey cards ever.

What I found even funnier is that not too long ago I decided to part with it. Seems someone is legitimately doing the set. each their own.

But now I can say that I have replaced it with something equally as offensive.  Yes, it's baseball....but it's still golf.

2015 Topps Stadium Club
Greg Maddux #259

Holy crap, I don't know what's worse...the fact that this guy is one of the all-time greatest pitchers in Major League history, or that Topps decided to use THIS photo in their product release.

There are a ton of great photos used in this set.  Paul Molitor, George Brett (fave pic) and Derek Jeter are perfect examples of what a card photo should be.  Greg chipping from the bunker is not.

Maybe I'm a little more sensitive because it's Maddux - my all-time favorite pitcher.  He was dominant as a Cub and I hated to love him as a Brave, but the numbers don't lie.

And it's a shame he wasn't the first player to ever be inducted to the Hall Of Fame unanimously (some people and their silly shenanigans...sheesh).

But to honor his accomplishments with a golf pic straight out of the 90's does him no justice.....and makes the decision easy.

For the disservice in honoring one of the greatest pitchers - ever......



Friday, September 18, 2015

HHOF AUTOS - Mike Gartner

It was a day off for me from work and I did nothing but look at the explosion of cards on my desk.  You'd think I would have made some progress....but no.  OK, maybe a little.  I just got caught up in looking at some cards I had forgotten about and even did some scanning.

That's progress right??

One card that I'm happy to show off came from a trade night earlier in the month.  I knew I'd be able to pick up a hard-signed Mike Gartner card for my Hall Of Fame project fairly easily, so I was picky on the type of signature I'd chase.

Mike Gartner
(Inducted in 2001)

Needless to say, I'm pretty happy with this one.

Now, the scan makes it look like there's some gum stain type of stuff, but no - that's just the card design.  It looks really solid in person.  Thick card stock, silver foil (again, doesn't scan well), great photo from an era that reeks of Caps Gartner and a silver signature to finish it off.

The moment I saw this card pulled from the pack - and the resulting unimpressed look at what many would say is not an enticing hit - I knew I'd be walking out with it.

An easy trade (as always) with the card shop and this newest addition was mine.

This Gartner has made me take a look at my other cards in the project.  It's one thing to acquire a card - any card - for my set, but to get one that has the aesthetics, photo and solid signature that really appeals to that's something.

There are a couple cards that I'd be happy to upgrade down the road (and have even done so in the past).  This is turning out to be a much more fluid project as a result.  Good stuff.

My goal of 100 hard-signed Hall Of Fame autograph cards is coming along nicely.  Slow, but nice.  I'm looking to up the pursuit this season and hopefully knock at least another 20 off the list before the playoffs hit.

Current Collection - 65 HOF Autos

Thursday, September 17, 2015

LINDEN CARD(s) OF THE WEEK - Warm Fuzzy Thank Yous

It was the busiest stretch of work all year, but last week also brought with it one of the most significant and historic events to ever grace the facility I work at.  It was a thrill to not just witness it.....but to realize just how rare and special the moment was as it was happening.  It was pretty cool.

And now, it feels like we've shifted into fifth and are settling in the for the final push.  In the meantime, hockey season will hit full swing - and I can't wait.

I managed to hit up the local trade night tonight and walked away with a few great gifts.  It was exciting to say the least.  The generosity in others never goes unappreciated - and I never take those gestures for granted.

And to add to the great night....I got home to an awaiting bubble mailer that I was not expecting.  Inside was card and a letter.

The card speaks for itself.  A beautiful high grade Linden rc.  I have a PSA 10 OPC and Topps sitting in my collection and am always on the lookout for a pristine Beckett 10 (which I don't even know if one exists).  A 9.5 has been on the radar for years....but I just never pulled the trigger on one.

Recently I saw a copy show up on one of the hobby boards and I inquired about it.  I don't know if his response (which was a little on the odd side) was to smokescreen me into being patient while he shipped it off....but needless to say I was stunned to see it in my mailbox - just because.

I mentioned a letter was in the package too.  It really made my day for the sender to share a bit of his story regarding the card.  I also really appreciated the kind words towards me and also towards others who have been equally selfless in the past.

So a hearty THANK YOU to you Matt for the great gift.  It will sit proudly in my collection and have a fitting story to anyone who looks at it.

It was this Linden that really kicked off the night.  A pack-pulled beauty from the most recent OPC offering.  Four packs....and this found its way into one of them.

I must say, I got a little excited when I saw the black border....and even more thrilled when I saw the name "Linden".  But I must have had a silly strawberry ice cream grin on my face when it was simply slid my way.

Another hearty THANK YOU to Captain Canuck for the great card - and for opening up some OPC tonight.  Good stuff.

The base even found its way home with me too.  It might just be a worthless base card to some, but to me it is more.

THANK YOU Rob for the gesture.  Always a pleasure.

Uh......what's up with this?

Yes, it too was gifted to me tonight.  And massive bonus points to anyone who can name both players without checking.

I'm going to go with Derek King and Reed Larson.

So what makes this item so special to me?  Why did someone keep it aside in their trade box with me in mind?

Well, it's the flip side of the card.  Yes, this is the "sticker-back" card from the 1989/90 sticker set.  I had the books back in the early-to-mid 80's and loved buying packs, sticking in the stickers and trading with friends - hoping to fill the book before the end of the season.

This flipside Linden though is a little bonus fun.  You could stick the stickers and still have a card.  Genius.

And look at that jersey.  Love the shoulder "V" flares which also show up on the pants (those would be a cool game used pair to own).

While I already have this card in my collection, I will be swapping it out with this new copy - and have yet another great story to tell.

One more THANK YOU to "The Baron" for thinking of me.  I really enjoy this card.

Thank you to everyone who has been selfless or generous or helpful to me, my collection or to anyone out else out there.  While this can seem like a cutthroat hobby at times (and geared towards those with deep pockets), there are many instances where a simple act can flip things around completely.


NOTE:  I just checked.  I was 0 for 2 on my guesses.  Anyone that gets them without cheating will be on another level....they are tough.