Show and Tell: 2006 Bowman Chrome Jon Lester Rookie Autograph

I thought adding a little show and tell post every now and then would be fun. I will post a card that I own, write about it, and just have fun with it.

This show and tell is about my favorite card that I own. My favorite card I own is not my most expensive card. It’s not the oldest card I own. For me, my favorite card is the card that means the most to me.

When I watched Jon Lester come up from the minors and pitch, I knew that he would be something special. He had a great live fastball and a nasty change and curveball. I was mentioning him with the likes of Johan Santana and everyone laughed at me. Maybe it was part of the hometown bias since I was a Red Sox fan, but I kept watching him and rooting for him. Then came the news.

Late in 2006 Jon Lester was diagnosed with lymphoma. I was shocked and surprised. Cancer in a 22 year old? I had just turned 21 and that hit me pretty hard. I couldn’t believe this pitcher I had been following through the minors was just diagnosed with cancer. I was thankful to see it was treatable but I was still sad for him. The days and months went by as I read every last piece of news about his recovery and attempts to kill the cancer inside him. I wanted to send a get well letter but his family wished to keep it private, so I just kept up the positive thoughts.

I had only one card of his at that time. I had a 2002 Upper Deck Prospect Premiers Jon Lester card. It was his first card made and really his true rookie card. But I wanted an autograph. I scoured eBay for a week or two while building up money and finally found one in my price range. For just under $20 at the time I grabbed this card, 2006 Bowman Chrome Jon Lester Rookie Autograph Refractor:

As you can see, it sits front and center in my baseball card case of my favorite cards. It’s been front and center in my collection since the day I received it.

Needless to say, Jon Lester made a full recovery from lymphoma and no one fan was happier then me. I was so excited to see him come back and pitch again one day. I remember watching the highlights of his return on ESPN and the way the crowd stood behind him with a standing ovation. I believe I was standing too, just watching the highlight. He was back! And boy was he ever. Within a year he would throw a no-hitter and clinch Game 4 of the 2007 World Series against the Rockies. All after beating cancer. How cool is that?

Last year, I finally had the opportunity to watch him pitch in person. For my birthday, I was given tickets to a Mariners – Red Sox game up in Seattle. The one in five chance to see him pitch paid off. I made sure I had a Jon Lester jersey to wear and went to the game, had great seats too. I was able to see in person why he is one of the premier pitchers in the league as he struck out 10 and gave up 1 run. The Seattle Mariners Sasquatch sat in front of me and wasn’t happy all game. But I was.

If Jon Lester could come back from cancer to do the things he did, what could the rest of us do?

Note: This post is loosely based off an article I wrote for Sports Card Forum in July 2010.

Acetate Card of the Day: 2003-04 Upper Deck Glass Caron Butler

In honor of the Heat and the Mavericks making it to the NBA Finals as well as my Connecticut Huskies taking home the Men’s Basketball Championship earlier this year, I bring you Caron Butler.

Now I’m not a chemist, but I’m not entirely sure these are made of acetate. These may be more of a plexiglass then they are a thin acetate material. Either way, I can see through it so I don’t care.

Featured acetate (kinda) card of the day:

2003-04 Upper Deck Glass Autofocus Caron Butler

After I noticed there were autographed cards on the acetate style design, I knew I had to grab some of them for my collection. I had already had a Cam Ward so I decided to try my luck with UCONN basketball players. It was late 2006 when I had just moved into my dorm at Portland State University. I hadn’t brought many of my sports cards with me across the country and I needed something that felt a little more like home. What better then a sports card featuring a Connecticut Huskies player? I scoured eBay and found this in it’s beautiful acetate-sty goodness.

UD Glass was fun when it was out because of these autographs in the set. These are on a very thick acetate/plexiglass surface, almost as thick as some Exquisite cards. These cards will not bend in any way and make an interesting sound when they hit the table. Thought I would have liked to see the autograph more on the clear area as far as design is concerned, this card was very innovative for it’s time and it continued as a staple in the UD Glass series for years to come. Speaking of years to come, I really need to get a Brandon Roy rookie autograph from UD Glass. That would be awesome. If anyone has one let me know!

Caron Butler was originally drafted by the Miami Heat out of the University of Connecticut where he starred for Jim Calhoun’s Huskies. I saw him play in person several times while he was in college as well as on TV, and I don’t think he ever fulfilled his college potential before he left early for the NBA. His first few years with the Heat and the Wizards were okay, but he has finally grown into his own the past few years with the Wizards and now the Mavericks. This season, he was playing extremely well until his unfortunate knee injury derailed him for the season. I could only hope he would return for the NBA Finals, but I don’t think that will be a possibility.

We from Husky Nation salute you Caron Butler and everyone around the world, except for Miami, hopes you can comeback and put baby Bron-Bron in his place by defeating the Heat in the Finals.

Preview: 2011 Upper Deck Legendary Cuts Baseball

Upper Deck lost it’s baseball license you say?

What would you say to an octo-cut-autograph of the 1927 Murderer’s Row Yankees squad? How about an All-Time Great Home Run quad cut of Ruth, Mays, Aaron, and Bonds?

Sound good to you? For 2011 Upper Deck Legendary Cuts baseball, those cards could be in your collection or make you some sweet cash if you want to go that route.

Legendary Cuts this year features all cut autographs from a variety of subsets.

The Legendary Cuts subset is 200 cards featuring 91 Hall of Famers numbered to 35 or below. You could pull a Ruth, Clemente, Wagner, or Jackie Robinson.

The Legendary Black Cuts is a 400 card subset that focuses on the greatest franchises of all time. 75 possible Yankees players in this subset. Although I’m not a Yankee fan, there better be a ton of Red Sox in there too if you are talking about greatest franchises.

Finally, the hardest to get subset is Legendary Exquisite Cuts which is a 100 card set featuring the hardest to get autographs numbered to 5 or less. This includes all the major hits like President’s, First Couples, and all those All-Time great cuts that you could pull.

Now I’m sure you want to know what you are getting in a box. Well, without the license you are taking a hit on what you are getting in a box. Gone are the days of multiple packs or one big pack of cards featuring a ton of players and then you get your hits. Upper Deck has taken a page out of the Leaf/Razor playbook and have made this product simple.

1 card per pack

1 pack per box

As I stated earlier, there will be one cut per box. So your card is going to be a cut autograph. I have a feeling it is either going to be one extreme or the other. It’s either going to be a great value with a ton of nice hits or it’s going to be extremely hit or miss. But at least when you open up your box you will not find any redemptions. That’s right, this product is packing out with ZERO redemptions. I guess there shouldn’t be any redemptions if the majority of the people in the product are dead, but it’s nice nonetheless. Plus they finished up production earlier then expected so this will be in stores on June 2, 2011 for between $200-$250.

For those who are into historic autographs or want to take their chances on something huge, this product will be right up your alley. If not, I would stay away because there really isn’t anything other then historic autographs and this is probably a product in which you won’t want to build the set because of the price.

Note: We at Sports Card Blog have been able to secure the 2011 Upper Deck Legendary Cuts Checklist.

Blowout Cards vs. Dave & Adam’s Card World

Recently many of you have been reading and viewing my card reviews on YouTube and on this very blog. Since I have not been in contact with the sports card companies yet as far as helping review products, I have purchased those boxes in which I have reviewed. The exception being 2010 SP Authentic football and 2010 World of Sports as I won a contest on Upper Deck’s Facebook and those were my prizes.

When I purchased the 3 recent boxes, I used two different companies online in order to kind of rate and review each company on customer service, price, and shipping methods. Basically each of those things is something important when you are purchasing your cards online. After this post, you will have the information you need to make the best decision if you are choosing between these two online dealers.

Customer Service – Edge DA Card World

DA Card World has a premier buyer program which I qualified for the last time I made a purchase from them in which they will give you even lower prices then they have on their website. Having a little reward program for being a customer who has bought from them before is definitely an incentive when choosing to buy from a store. Including these incentives is the free product they give out for purchases. Now the products they choose aren’t great and aren’t worth a lot, but it’s nice to get free things just for ordering from them. Lower prices + free stuff is always nice for being a repeat customer. Blowout has never contacted me for anything after I have bought cases of product from them in the past.

Price – Edge Blowout Cards

Blowout Cards name exemplifies the types of prices they sell their products for. Blowout prices. I would guesstimate that 85% of their products are the lowest prices on the internet, or anywhere for that matter. Every product I purchased in total was cheaper on Blowout then anywhere else online. Not only did they beat DA Card World in price, they beat all the competitors in price. If you include the free stuff I received from DA Card World, you could buy that amount at Blowout Cards and still save money. That’s how low Blowout Cards prices are. Plus, the box I pre-ordered from Blowout Cards didn’t even have a price on DA Card World. Obviously I’m going to choose the store that has an item up for sale and the price.

Shipping – Edge Blowout Cards

Both companies provide free shipping for orders over $150 which is great. There is nothing I like better then free shipping. But free shipping often is the slowest shipping available. Blowout Cards leaves this open for their choice of shipping at the cheapest rate. Here is the skinny on my shipping experience:

Ordered on Monday.¬† I ordered 2 boxes from Blowout and 1 box from DA Card World. But this is the most important part, one of the boxes I ordered from Blowout Cards was a pre-order on an item that didn’t come out until Wednesday. DA Card World shipped that Monday. Blowout Cards shipped the Wednesday the product came out.

First package arrived on Friday. Which one do you think it was? Definitely not what I expected. Blowout Cards’ package actually arrived in 2 days via USPS. I had to wait a full week for the DA Card World package to arrive via UPS. Both companies shipped from the east coast to the west coast. I was very impressed by the speed and choice of shipping by Blowout Cards in this transaction.

Overall – Edge Blowout Cards

Overall with these transactions I would go with Blowout Cards. The fast shipping and lower prices are definitely the more important things then customer service. The only thing that makes me sad is that DA Card World is an authorized Upper Deck dealer and Blowout Cards isn’t. I don’t know why Upper Deck ruled them out, but I’m sure it had something to do with politicking and all that mumbo jumbo. I will continue to use both companies as I see fit. If you can find a lower price on DA Card World, by all means, go for it. They are still a great company and their services are top notch. I will still use both companies as I see fit per transaction. But this time around Blowout Cards took the cake, and that cake is not a lie.

You can go to their respective sites by these links. Blowout Cards & DA Card World

Preview: 2011-12 Upper Deck Artifacts Hockey

Upper Deck Artifacts hockey is the first hockey product of the new season. Featuring all your stars of the previous seasons and some of your newest rookies, Artifacts is what hockey collectors get excited for, it means hockey season is right around the corner.

This year’s rookie that everyone will want to get their hands on is Cody Hodgson of the Vancouver Canucks. Upper Deck has that covered in 2011-12 Artifacts. A box of Artifacts this time around will contain at least 3 multi-swatch memorabilia cards. At least one of them will be a dual/triple player card. One of the new memorabilia cards in Artifacts this year is a fight strap card containing the fight strap of a player’s jersey. Also, finally, making it into products more often is pieces of a game used stick. It seems that stick cards have only been reserved for the higher end of all brands but it’s nice to see them a little more often. Returning is the great patches from last year, so don’t forget about those.

The box will also contain 2 rookie cards and 1 rookie redemption. Yes, you hear the word redemption and you think of terrible things. But with the NHL rules on rookie cards, they must step foot on the ice, it gives the company a chance to get more rookies out with their initial product. Again, it might take awhile, but the rookies will be made and they will show up in your mailbox.

Finally, as far as hits go, there will be one autographed card inserted in a box. This year though, they have added some autographed memorabilia hits to the foray so it adds a little bit of value to the possible hits.

The base set will be 100 cards and you will find one base parallel numbered to 100 per box. There will also be two Legends or Stars insert sets included as well.

At 4 cards per pack and 10 packs per box it will take a few boxes to complete a set.

I have to say that the design hasn’t changed much from the past couple of years so if you’re looking for something different then it’s not going to come. The Auto-facts design for autographed cards look a little sharper this year, so I’m impressed with that. But one thing I would like to see is to incorporate some of the designs from UD Ice into this product. A lot of their Artifacts designs have some sort of wintery feel to them and I think the acetate designs from Ice would make a great insert or memorabilia set inside Artifacts. Just an idea.

This product is set to release in September and although I don’t have a price for it, I can expect it to be about the same price as last year, around $80 to $90.