Preview: 2011-12 Upper Deck Parkhurst Champions Hockey

I am still in a hockey mood. The NHL Draft was last week and my two favorite teams picked up vital pieces to their organizations that they need to succeed. The Oilers picked up the number one pick Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and a solid defenseman in the first round and my Hurricanes also picked up a much needed defenseman. I’m excited for the future of both of my favorite franchises.

But this product isn’t about the rookies. It’s about what those rookies may become someday. Legends. Lemeiux, Gretzky, Orr, Howe….they were all rookies at one time but evolved into some of the greatest players to ever put their metal on ice.

2011-12 Parkhurst Champions is going to bring you the legends of the winter like no other hockey product has before. With 20 packs a box and 5 cards a pack you are going to find some great cards. One of those cards is going to be a Champs mini. I know many people in the hockey collecting community missed Champs this past year, so Upper Deck is reviving it as a subset in this product. Remember how the last Champs product you could pull fossils and other artifacts? It’s back with Parkhurst Champions.

The main selling point of this product though is the autographs. You will find 2 autographs per box, unless you pull an artifact or fossil which would then make it one autograph a box. 100% on card autographs too on these beautifully designed cards. With base parallel autographs, wire-to-wire autographs of the players in original black and white newspaper photography, Rendition autographs with an artistic style photo, and Champs mini autographs this product is going to be loaded with beautiful autographs.

You can also find those inserts in standard non-autographed versions as well and they look sharp.

An average box break will have 2 great hits with at least one being an autograph, 5 wire photo cards, 2-3 Rendition inserts, and 20 Champs mini cards. A case will have at least one of the following: fossil/artifact, a Champs red ink auto numbered to 5, Parkhurst Masterpiece sketch, Renditions autograph, or Wire Photo multi-signed card.

2011-12 Upper Deck Parkhurst Hockey looks to be one of the best collections of hockey legends I’ve seen in quite some time. Look for this product arriving sometime in the Fall of 2011.

I’m going to beg Upper Deck for a checklist as this product looks amazing. Just look at this Super Mario base parallel autograph.

Custom Card: Pocket Aces

So today I decided to have a little fun with Photoshop. I had an idea for a card for awhile now and decided to put it down in Photoshop. I don’t do these at all, so I thought it would be fun to try since I’ve seen a few other bloggers create their own custom cards. I don’t know how it would look printed up and everything, but it looks pretty cool as a concept.

2011 – Sports Card Blog – Pocket Aces – Josh Beckett/Jon Lester

I don’t have any graphics formal training. I make signatures for people on forums sometimes and did all the graphics on the blog, but I think this ended up looking really cool. No room for a signature version, sorry!

What do you think?

Site News: A Week In Review

This past week I’ve been trying to catch up with previews for all the releases in July. That meant a little more Panini previews than anything else because of their large July lineup. Most are looking pretty good however in the design and value department so I am definitely happy to see the improvements that many people have been bothered by with this year’s earlier releases. In other Panini news, I heard that they have hired a new Customer Service person to man the phones, so if you haven’t heard about your Panini redemptions, they will be easier to contact.

Speaking of redemptions, for those who didn’t know why they couldn’t get a hold of Upper Deck this past week, it is because they were moving their facilities down the street to a smaller building. They have also been shipping their redemption team and supplies out to North Carolina to expedite the process. It’s been a busy time of changes at Upper Deck and they should be settling down completely soon. Hold off on calling them about redemptions, they’ll be there.

As far as the blog goes, the top post of the week was my interview with Adam of Dave & Adam’s Card World. I learned a few things from Adam and he answers some questions from me and his consumers about issues they may have. His responses were extremely well thought out and is probably one of the best interviewees I have seen in the industry. I couldn’t have asked for a better response from him and from the community by reading the post. I thank everyone from Adam to my readers for taking their time for that post.

Finally, Sports Card Blog has put in it’s application for the Ginta-cuffs Battle of the Blogs 2011!  Open a box of 2011 Allen & Ginter baseball and you score points based on your favorite team and favorite player. Plus the Commish picks a series of other ways to get points or lose points based off the cards in the box. I am very excited for this as the winner receives a hobby box of 2011 Allen & Ginter for free provided by Topps, bragging rights, and it’s just a ton of fun to open Allen & Ginter. Someone had already chosen my favorite player, Jon Lester, so I couldn’t go with him. Instead, I am going with Adrian Gonzalez of my Boston Red Sox as he has a ton of cards in the set. It’s a good thing I couldn’t get Lester, it turns out he is a SP in the set. It will be my first year in the battle when approved, so I’m hoping I can make headlines like Bryce Harper as a rookie. If there are any bloggers out there who want to play along you can join us for a rousing game of Ginta-Cuffs. May the best blog win! Believe me, if I do win, there will be a giant spectacle and I will bribe the Commish with amazing bribes to get that win.

So that has been the week that was. Next week brings on some more interesting things. I’ll be sending off some questions to Thomas Fish of Blowout Cards as he has emailed me recently (so if you have any questions for him please send me an email or leave a comment), a couple more product previews, and I’m really hoping I can get a couple reviews in. How about some 2011 Donruss Elite football and 2010-11 Panini All-Goalies? A little birdy told me I may have a package coming with those boxes in it. Did I mention when I do reviews from Panini I will be giving out fabulous prizes? Sounds like a good week ahead for you the awesome reader and me.

Again, thanks for reading and make sure you check back soon. Maybe I’ll pull something awesome to give away.

Top 10 Shortstops Ever That Are Better Than Derek Jeter

This had to be done. On the Topps Facebook page today, the weekend question was whether Derek Jeter is the greatest shortstop of all time. A number of people said yes. Even more people say he is top 5. Well, sorry to burst your bubble guys but Derek Jeter is not even in the top 10 of greatest shortstops ever. So, here is my top 10 shortstops better than Derek Jeter with cards or memorabilia as photos to keep this on topic.

10. Joe Cronin

11 seasons batting over .300 and he left his playing days early to become a manager at 34 years old. He was one of the first power hitters at the shortstop position and was known more for his bat then his .951 fielding percentage. A number of players could go here instead of Jeter, but I chose Cronin because of my Red Sox bias. I could of also put Appling, Vizquel, Larkin, or I could of snuck in Nomar Garciaparra to make a bunch of people angry. Nomar was much better than Jeter in their primes, sorry, it had to be said. But I chose Cronin.

9. Lou Boudreau

Boudreau’s plaque says it all why he’s better than Jeter.

8. Luis Aparicio

The speedy Aparicio didn’t hit the 3000 hits mark but his 500 stolen bases surely made up for that. Add in his 9 Gold Gloves and 10 All Star game selections, Aparicio was better all around then Derek Jeter.

7. Ernie Banks

Mr. Cub was one of the greatest power hitting shortstops that probably has ever lived. He hit over 500 bombs for the losers, I mean Cubs. An 11 time All-Star and 2 MVPs also make him the greatest Cub ever.

6. Robin Yount

Fear the ‘stache. Over 3100 hits and 2 MVP awards while playing 20 seasons for the Milwaukee Brewers makes him part of this top 10 list of shortstops better than Derek Jeter. He had accumulated more hits then anyone else in the 1980s. If he played for the Yankees I’m sure he’d be the greatest that ever lived.

5. Arky Vaughan

I think his plaque says it all.

4. Ozzie Smith

The Wizard of Oz. Possibly the greatest defensive shortstops to ever play the game. Better yet, THE greatest defensive shortstop to ever play the game. Athletic, smart, and slick, I think the 13 Gold Gloves should speak for themselves.

3. Cal Ripken Jr.

The Iron Man. 2632 straight games at a grueling position and over 3100 hits in his career make him a top 3 shortstop easily. Ripken won 2 MVP awards and had 19 straight All Star appearances. Also a slick fielder with 2 Gold Gloves and a career .977 fielding percentage, Ripken was one of the first power hitting shortstops of the late 1900s before A-Rod, Nomar, Tejada, etc.

2. Alex Rodriguez

Despite Alex Rodriguez moving to third base and the constant suspicion and use of steroids in his career, Alex Rodriguez ranks number 2 on this list. His power, speed, and arm put him in a class of his own. 3 MVPs, 3 Gold Gloves and countless Silver Slugger awards makes him an easy pick at number 2. We all know his other amazing numbers with his average and home runs. No need to put those numbers down, inflated by performance enhancing drugs or not.

1. Honus Wagner

The great Honus Wagner. The man with the most expensive baseball card in history is the greatest shortstop to ever grace a Major League baseball field. Honus played in 21 seasons and had 17 straight seasons batting over .300 in the dead ball era. He won 8 NL batting titles while playing for the Pittsburgh Pirates and was one of the greatest hitters of his time. He was also considered one of the best fielders as well, even though his percentage is not close to the highest on this list.

So there you have it. May the comments start rolling in. I’m expecting a bunch of them to say “hater” but that’s okay. I need to take these Jeter fanatics down a notch. If it wasn’t for him playing for the Yankees, he would be a Barry Larkin equivalent. Sorry Derek.

Preview: 2011 Bowman Platinum Baseball

…and the Bryce Harper chase continues. Harpermania continues with the release of 2011 Bowman Platinum baseball on July 27th, 2011. Bowman Platinum is personally my favorite of all the Bowman brands Topps puts out each year, even more than Bowman Chrome. Why you ask? Autographed relics and the insertion of some veteran autographs. See, I’m not a huge rookie collector or rookie person so I like products with some chances for veteran autographs as well and Bowman Platinum provides this for me and collectors like me.

With on card autographs and use of the Chrome technology, this makes 2011 Bowman Platinum one of the best looking sets of the baseball season. You will find 2 Chrome technology autographs per box in the regular and all of the different refractor versions that you can pull. Green, blue, gold, red, and super refractors can be found as well as printing plates. There is a checklist of 41 minor league stars to fill these autographs out, including the Messiah himself, Bryce Harper. These cards look sharp with chrome technology and on card autographs.

At one per pack you will also find refractor prospect cards with a nice 100 card checklist. Don’t worry, I will have a link to the checklist at the end of the article. Speaking of refractors, you can also find two regular refractors per box in all the colors I mentioned above plus the X-Fractor. Plus you will have your base parallels found at about 7 per box.

My favorite addition in Bowman Platinum the past couple years is the autographed relic. This autographed relic contains either regular jersey cards or prime patch cards. The patch autographs are numbered 25 or less in their refractor versions. The other refractors numbered higher are just the regular jersey cards. These don’t appear to be on card autographs though, but would definitely look better being on card.

Case hits in this product are multiple autographed cards. Dual autographed relics, dual autographs, triple autographs, and hexagraph autographed book cards with either a manufactured patch or just 6 six autographs. Finally, the 60th Anniversary autographs will be randomly found in this product as well continuing on previous Topps releases in celebration of their 60th anniversary.

In all you will find 24 packs in a box with 5 cards per pack for a little over $100. The design of this product is very solid although it looks kind of similar to last year with very small differences in the base design. Still, it’s Harpermania and these will be snatched up quick to try and pull a Harper autograph. I hope the delay in this product will bring a Harper autographed relic, kind of like Strasburg last year.

But enough about Harper. He’s an image from my favorite National League team, the Atlanta Braves.

I promised a 2011 Bowman Platinum checklist too, didn’t I?