Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Another Caps Season Has Come and Gone...A Morning After Thought

And so we’ve come to the end of the road. Another year ending to early, another year ending in heartbreak.  The Caps were amazing this year and the resiliency last night gave us all hope of what could be.  Unfortunately we’ve all seen this movie play out repeatedly, instead of Bill Murray though, it’s Alex Ovechkin. It’s not even funny anymore, like Adam Sandler movies….just punch me in the groin and get it over with right?

The Caps deserved better than the outcome they got.  Due to the NHL shitting the bed with their playoff format the Caps, the top seed in all of hockey had to try and beat the #2 seed in the East (4th best overall) to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals….NOT the Stanley Cup Finals BUT the EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS!!!! Luckily for the NHL Tampa only had to play the 15th and then 10th best overall teams to make the ECF…because yeah that makes a whole lot of fucking sense. Then again it works out perfect for the NHL, the Caps had struggled versus the Penguins all season and now they should have it pretty going up against Tampa Bay and Sir Sidney of Dingleberryville should be able to bring in those precious ratings in Canada that the NHL lacked all post-season since NO Canadian teams qualified for the playoffs this year.

The Caps struggled against a hot team in Pittsburgh. They didn’t always play 60 minutes, which we were accustomed to, based on how much they’d fall behind early for the past 3 months. They didn’t always make the adjustments they needed to. Sure they said the right things, we need to play better, smarter, blah blah blah, we need to shoot high on the rookie goalie Murray, and then they’d come out and get penalized, try to be fancy, turn the puck over, make ill-advised passes and shoot the puck directly at Murray’s mid-section or legs…I mean I know he’s 6’ 5 but that’s not high enough fellas. A few calls or missed calls here or there that changed games, questionable suspensions by the NHL changed games, some of the most ridiculous bounces or own goals (something else Caps fans are accustomed to this time of year) that didn’t go the Caps way changed outcomes and all of a sudden they were down 3 games to 1. Fans tried to remain optimistic, these were the Comeback Caps, this was arguably the greatest team the Caps have ever put on ice. Then Game 6 happened.

Like many, I pretty much wrote the team off when they were down 3-0 knowing they were capable of coming back but fearing they were too far gone. Alzner was hurt, the team was slow and sloppy, Brooks Oprik was Brooks Orpik, and the Caps just seemed to not be showing ANY type of fight whatsoever.  Then they came alive, in large part to some mental breakdowns by the Penguins/semi-stupid rules for Delay of Game. As a Caps fan I’ll take it, we’ve been neutered over the years from the wretched DOG penalties so it was nice to have that happen in our favor for once.

So the team, down 3-0 didn’t quit, just like they hadn’t all year long. They fought back, tied the game and gave fans hope but we all knew the ending. Going into the final 5 minutes when they should have had momentum…they looked tired. The Pens controlled play, in OT they came out slow and sloppy. With every rush, every chance, every shot, I felt where this is where it ends and it didn’t…until it did.  It’s the same script, different cast and in overtime Bonino scored the game-winner, but not until after an amazing save by the stick of Jay Beagle after Holtby had lost his stick. That was it, the series was over, the all too familiar nut punch and sour stench was back as the teams lined up for handshakes. We had to go back to the reality of DC Sports teams just can’t have good things. Regular season juggernauts see the clock strike midnight in the playoffs and their chariot turns back into a pumpkin.  It’s so bad we can’t even be the bridesmaid or the girl who catches the bouquet at the wedding, no we’re the girl who gets pushed to the floor and stepped on so the stuck up bitch can be next in line.

The Caps also deserved better from its fan base. Too often we take for granted what we have, be it team success or the player(s) on the team.  We expect to be good every year, at least those who have only been fans during the Ovechkin era. The older fans know the struggle the Caps went through before Ovi got here, the late 80s and 90s teams were vastly underrated in my bias opinion, but then we had the dark years after the Caps lost the Stanley Cup Finals to the Detroit Red Wings. Those years sucked bad but you have to go through trials and tribulations before you see the light at the end. 

Now I won’t tell someone how to “be a fan” but it sickens me how many people quit on this team. I get it in the moment you’ll say things out of frustration but this team NEVER QUIT. They didn’t quit on themselves, they didn’t quit on games, they didn’t quit on YOU! Yet so many are “done with this team.” Fine! Goodbye! It hurts, it takes a few years off your life with every loss or every high pressure stressful situation, but this team was fun to watch. This team gave the fans so much to be happy for. This team didn’t let us down, the NHL did, the expectations did, but not this team. I’m rocking my Caps hat at work today, I’m proud as hell of MY TEAM. Would these “fans” have preferred they not make the playoffs? This would hurt worse had it been a sweep, had it been a blowout, had it been a Game 7 at home and to meet it would hurt worse had they not made the playoffs. So feel free to give up on this team, we’ll find newer fans who will learn to love the game.

Personally I hate that it happened against Pittsburgh. I hate that it happened versus Crosby. I hate that we didn’t make it out of the 2nd round. I’m glad we didn’t lose to Philadelphia in the 1st round. I hate that once again we fell short and won’t have the Stanley Cup in DC.  I hate that we’re going to hear “Trade Ovechkin” or Ovi doesn’t come to play in big moments or that Sid the Shithead is better than Ovi because he’s had more success with hit TEAM.  FACT: Alex Ovechkin showed up to play this series with his scoring and play. FACT: Sidney Crosby scored as many points in the series vs the Capitals as Ovechkin did in 3 different games vs the Pens.  But let’s not let facts get in the way of a rivalry that really doesn’t exist anymore. Both guys are great players, both future Hall of Famers but the rivalry is between the teams. Ovi has outplayed Sid just about every time and when he hasn’t Sid has matched production. One player does not a team make however. I love that we won’t have to listen to the bias announcing of NBC sports any longer against the Capitals.

The offseason will probably bring a few changes but doubtful many. MoJo is prime trade bait due to expected raise but would suck to see him go. Chimera is a leader for sure but his age will be the reason he’s not back unless it’s on the cheap. Tom Wilson will be resigned for probably two years. Mike Richards I think could be back on the veteran minimum again but he played well enough and is now past the drug charges to where he’ll have other teams willing to offer him more. Latta will probably resign also for two years. I think Oshie gets an extension, the Caps would be wise to lock him up long-term if they have cap flexibility, Galiev may get another shot next year. Orlov I could see resigning for 3 years but I could see them moving him based on some of the breakdowns he had late in the season. Weber is gone thanks God. Winnik will get his chance for a full season with the team next year, though I’d still rather have Brooksie, and outside of a splash in free agency, at some point the Caps will have to look at Madison Bowey and Riley Barber though each is probably a year or two away.  I’ll always believe that, despite his size, Chris Bourque is more than just a great AHL player and would love to see him get ice time with the Caps…he’s small but he’s pesky and does grunt work. Under no circumstances do I see reason or value in trading Ovechkin, Backstrom, Alzner, Carlson or Kuznetsov.

For now, it’s time to rest, unwind from the season and stress over the Nats.  I’ll still watch the playoffs as a fan. All but the Lightning have former Caps still on their teams (Preds – Kuzy and Riberio (bleh), Penguins – Fehr, Sharks – Ward, Stars – Eakin, Blues – Brouwer).  I’m fine with Nashville, San Jose or St. Louis hoisting this year.


Until next season (there’s an all too familiar saying)….

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2nd Annual JDC's "Best of" Sports & Non-Sports Cards I Acquired - 2014 Edition



2014 cannot come close to the additions and accomplishments that my collection saw in 2013 but that doesn't mean there weren't some spectacular additions in quality but also in quantity. Initially this was going to be a “Top 50” list but I decided to add to it since I couldn't bring myself to leave some off. I did however decide to leave this as a Sports Cards only edition rather than including items like the autographs I had Juan Dixon add to two of his game-worn jerseys, autographed Calendars from Rosie Jones, Ana Cheri and Brittney Palmer, an autograph Beckett magazine by Trish Stratus and an autographed poster from the cast of Veronica Mars (and not just because that was technically purchased in 2013). While these additions may not be the most expensive or most sought after or even the rarest, there's a reason that the item made the list be it the player, the design or how it was acquired (by price or pull). However there isn't much reason as to why one card may be seen as better than another.


Just missing the cut with Honorable Mentions
 ^ chasing for a bit
 ^ love the look of the set
 ^ Fantastic looking set
 ^ Leafs patch hurts, gold auto is nice
 ^ That inscription tho...
 ^ Love the look of the whole set, auto or not
^ Hard to get, die-cut

 ^ Love 2012 set


I'll start the list off with a card that I pulled from the only box of Museum Collection that I opened. While not the most visually appealing card it is a 1/1.

75) 2014 Topps Museum Collection Cut Autograph Ford Frick 1/1 (pulled from box)


Initially this card made the cut at #32 and I didn't know how I could rightly justify putting this next card above some of the other cards on this list. Hell it should probably have been #50 at best. The player is garbage, the patch is stellar, the product is high end maybe its just because I like the Weagle so much.


74) 13-14 National Treasures Gold Patch Auto /45 Cameron Schilling (ebay)



Next up I went back to the well for some of the old school inserts that growing up I couldn't afford. Precious Metal Gems are iconic inserts and while these aren't necessarily the biggest names they played for my favorites teams.

73) Precious Metal Gems: 1997 Metal Universe PMG Red Bam Morris (ebay),
1998 Metal Universe PMG Rafael Palmeiro (ebay),
1998 Metal Universe PMG Terry Allen (ebay), and
1998 Metal Universe PMG Jamie Asher (ebay)

 ^ /150
 ^/50
 ^ /50
^ /50

I won't deny that I didn't realize the next guy was a 1st Round Pick, let alone a lottery selection two years ago, though given he's on the Detroit Pistons I should have known better. While not a stellar player yet this player and card, since its a rookie card, isn't too shabby.

72) 13-14 Select Black Prizm Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (pulled from box)


After years of trying to "buy low" on the these next two "old-timers" autographs I finally snagged them for prices I found reasonable. Later in the year I added a guy that was up and coming in the current WWE program

71) WWE Heritage Godfather (CSA Show) & Doink (ebay) and 2014 WWE WrestleMania Bray Wyatt (ebay)





Over the past couple of years I've managed to accumulate quite a few Trevor Booker patch cards. While this year paled in comparison I did add a few and they were just too pretty to choose one over another as a favorite, so they're all lumped in together.


70) Trevor Booker Patches (ebay and COMC)









Next on the list is a player I was fond of back in the 90s. He was a former Oriole but I mainly remember him as a Detroit Tiger, and remember reading an article that he loved to eat Fruit Loops (that's the fat kid in me holding on to memories). I saw this card on the checklist and set out with a goal to snag it because he was in an Orioles uniform

69) 2014 Topps Archives Fan Favorites Auto Mickey Tettleton (ebay)


This next one I saw described as being one of the nicest signatures that you will ever see in an article I was reading. I can say that I totally agree with that. Its a unique looking auto from a non-sports set which saw its highlight auto be Selma Hayek, which I still need. This one was not easy to get at a price that I wanted but I ended up doing just that as I won an auction which could be described as a poor listing as very few people would see it based on the category it was placed under.


68) 1999 Skybox Wild Wild West M Emmet Walsh auto (ebay)


Next is another Non-Sports auto of someone that isn't necessarily popular but I took a liking to her back in the movie Sorority Boys and Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo. She's also the daughter of a former Washington Redskins player so of course I kept tabs on her acting career over the years. When I saw she signed for the Grimm set I knew I wanted to get an auto, only problem is there's like 5 color variations.

67) Grimm Season 1 Autograph Bree Turner


As a Nats collector I love that Triple Threads has included a bunch of Nationals in their patch products. One of which was a triple patch with three of the team's better players. Unfortunately this card isn't higher on the list because when it arrived it had cuts in it....cuts that hurt the card and my soul

66) 2014 Topps Triple Threads Triple Patch /9 Jayson Werth, Bryce Harper, Gio Gonzalez (ebay)


I didn't get to make it to Chicago for the National this year which I was content with but I did manage to bite on this prop card auto as well as another card from the 2012 National that I didn't know existed until I saw a copy this summer.

65) 2014 BenchWarmer National Prop Card Auto Crystal McCahill /3 (ebay) and
2012 BenchWarmer National Mary Land Mary Riley /5 (ebay)



A late addition to the list is a Christmas day pull. While to some this is nothing more than a wardrobe card, it sells very well on the secondary market and since I'm a fan of Stana and she doesn't have an auto in either Castle product, this is as close as I'll get in terms of a Castle item of hers (beyond the wardrobe in the Season 1 & 2 set and the auto in The Spirit).

64) Stana Katic Relic (pulled from box)


Being a fan of Happy Days and Father Dowling Mysteries, tho the final episode did air on my 9th birthday, I knew I wanted to get a Tom Bosley auto when I saw it was in an Upper Deck product a few years ago. Unfortunately the cost of them I was never willing to meet and were mostly listed as BINs while the auction format ones I always saw AFTER they'd closed. Luckily for me not only did I add one this year, I added two, with different inscriptions.

63) 09-10 UD Draft Edition Alma Mater Autograph Tom Bosley X 2 (ebay)

 ^ Inscribed Happy Days
^ Inscribed Mr. C

While I didn't know much about baseball players back in the early 90s I did study my base cards a lot growing up, its how I became a Math wiz. After the 1990 season the Orioles made a trade for Glenn Davis that sent Steve Finley, Peter Harnisch, and Curt Schilling to the Astros. I HATED that trade, I didn't know why at the time I just did. As time went on I became a fan of all three players the O's traded all the while "hating" Davis especially since he didn't last and the others played into the next decade. That said one of them did end up with an auto in an Orioles uniform and because of that, I had to have it. Lucky for me I picked one up in Chantilly this summer.

62) 2004 Donruss Timelines Recollection Autograph Curt Schilling (CSA Show)

 ^ /67

This one I received as a freebie from the legendary cardhusslah. Hussy was getting rid of the “crap” he had left since he's out of the hobby and sent me a package of a lot of teams that I collect as well as some that I don't. The big, and surprising, card that came out of the group was this baddy.

61) 2011 Prestige Autograph Colin Kaepernick (gift)


Next up is my 3rd copy of this card. Normally it would have been much higher but since its a duplicate (or triplicate in this case) it doesn't rank as highly as others. This was however the cheapest I've paid for any of the 3.

60) 04-05 Upper Deck All-Star Lineup Signature Class Juan Dixon (ebay)



Next will be one of my 1/1s I pulled from ONE box of Triple Threads baseball. That's right I pulled more than one 1/1 from the product. It would be higher if he wasn't a Braves player or maybe if it were a different one. The card does have room to grow in the future though.

59) 2014 Topps Triple Threads White Whale Patch Auto 1/1 Christian Bethancourt (pulled from box)



Sometimes 1/1 cards, especially autographed ones can cost you an arm and a leg. That tends to be even truer when the cards are of a rookie and are in a high end product. While some would say I overpaid for these, this kid was a fan favorite by man in DC last year and I felt the National Treasures was the only one I'd have a shot at of any player from that product in any sport.

58) 13-14 National Treasures Black Autograph Steve Oleksy 1/1 (ebay) and 13/14 Crown Royale Purple Autograph 1/1 (ebay)





Initially these were going to be listed individually but since I was bunching together a few others I felt it only fitting to do that with these too. When Topps released their 2014 US Winter Olympic product I hadn't heard of most of the signers and honestly only had heard of a few of the Winter Olympians as it was. By the end of the Olympics I was very familiar with both of these two and while I'd have preferred Gold, much like they would, I settled for Silver.

57) 2014 US Winter Olympic Silver Medal Autographs Ashley Wagner /30 (ebay) and Hilary Knight /30 (ebay)




I felt Topps did a pretty solid job with their parallels this year with Atomic Refractor autographs being one of the lead among them (the Silver autos in Topps Chrome were great too but I don't own any). Of course with my collecting tastes there were only specific players I was looking to get and that would be these two (still need the Schoop).

56) Topps Chrome Atomic Refractor Autographs /10 - Jeff Kobernus (ebay) and Zach Walters (ebay)




The trouble with sticker autos, especially in Pop Century, is that the celebrities sign so big that their autographs run off the sticker and in turn ends up not looking full. I'm very anal when it comes to buying singles that if the autograph is on a sticker then I don't want it running off. That's one reason it took me time to purchase this next one. The fact that she added a bit of a variation compared to some of her autographs in the set made this next one worth it.

55) 2014 Pop Century Signatures Vida Guerra w/ <3 "inscription" (ebay)


One of the sets that has intrigued me over the years came from Upper Deck The Cup. The Draft Boards were a nice concept with autographs being placed right on them rather than on the card. As a Capitals fan, their players were the only ones I wanted and finally in 2014 I snagged me one.

54) 08-09 The Cup Draft Boards Karl Alzner Draft Boards (ebay)



I haven't paid much attention to the Upper Deck Goodwin products the past few years but decided to bust a box this year. When this card came out I was impressed, since I didn't know these inserts existed, but also disappointed because I didn't care for how the picture on the card looked. In the end it was a 1/1 and has grown on me over the year, just not enough to crack the "Top 50."

53) 2014 Upper Deck Goodwin Art of the Ages "Tiger In A Tropical Storm (Surprised)" 1/1 (pulled from box)




In what may be the most oddball addition and card in the collection is a mascot autograph. At first I wanted a Mr. Met or Philly Phanatic but when I saw the Orioles Bird had an autograph I went on a mission...no matter how silly or stupid some may consider them to be.

52) 2014 Topps Opening Day Mascots Autograph The Orioles Bird (ebay)


I've been trying my best to get all the David Steckel Prime cards as I can. Last year I was able to snag a full Maple Leaf, this year not as lucky but did end up adding to the collection

51) 12/13 Prime Patches David Steckel (ebay - all)







Making his second appearance on the list is Trevor Booker, this time with an autograph. Honestly I'm surprised to have this only listed at #50

50) Trevor Booker 1/1 (ebay)
 
One of my favorite golfers of all time is Payne Stewart. I'll never forget hearing the news about the plane crash that took his life. With limited autos (2) I figured the next best thing is a relic card so I picked this up at a show earlier this year.

49) 2012 SP Authentic Gold Limited Swatch /100 (CSA Show)


By no means am I a fan of Michael Eisner but I am a fan of what Topps did in Allen & Ginter with his ties and of many things Disney, especially Goofy, so I picked up this card of his.

48) 2014 Topps Allen & Ginter Relic Michael Eisner (ebay)


One of the most memorable players for the Caps in the mid-90s came at the perfect time for a gimmick promotion of a specific player. The Mask, starring Jim Carrey, was in theaters and The Mask, starring Jim Carey, was in goal for Washington. While he ended up being a flash in the pan he's a part of my youth's history and I liked the look of this stick from ITG.

47) 13/14 ITG Stickwork Game Used Paddle Silver Version Jim Carey (ebay)



Another really nice set that Topps did in 2014 was the Topps Trajectory Jumbo Relic cards. Some of the patches in the set are insane. Only problem is that the cards are /99 and some are patch, some are jersey and some are bat. By not keeping it fluid across the set it will lead to an increasing likelihood of fakes in the set. That said, after missing out on a few “Curly W's” and other nice patches I did secure this.

46) 2014 Topps Trajectory Jumbo Relic Jayson Werth (ebay)




I didn't even know this card existed until this year. This was only available via redemption and is hand numbered to 100. While Steckel isn't a big name, its a nice addition to the PC.

45) 2001 ITG Draft Redemption David Steckel /100 (ebay)



By far one of my favorite designs ever. 2014 Topps Tribute cards feature the player who autographed the card in color with a black and white picture of a legendary player in the background. Additionally the autograph is on-card which really adds to the appeal of the set.

44) 2014 Topps Tribute Traditions Zimmerman (ebay)


Pulled from my 2012-13 Contenders case this ended up the second best card I pulled from the case. While a sticker auto, the signature is full.

43) 12-13 Contenders Substantial Signatures Julius Erving Auto /25 (pulled from case)


On-card auto of “The Eyebrow” from Court Kings. Impressionist Ink was another set that I thought Panini got right and showed growth in leaving an area for the players to sign in that wasn't a dark background.

42) 13/14 Court Kings Impressionist Ink Anthony Davis Auto /49 (pulled from box)
 

Still waiting for this card to arrive, I was glad that I snagged it. Muresan 1/1s are limited as it is so this was a nice boost for the Muresan collection.
41) 14/15 Prizm Black Prizm Pulsar Gheorghe Muresan 1/1 (ebay...scan also from ebay)


While I would have thought a Brooks Laich Prime Patch would have ended up on this list, the fact is I've only secured one because the rest have sold for higher than I was willing to go. I did add another Capitals player however with a really nasty patch.
 40) 13-14 Prime Colors Logo Tom Wilson /25 (ebay)


“The Goal” as its become to be known occurred against the Phoenix Coyotes and only added to the young and growing legend of Alex Ovechkin. I still remember watching it live and it is by far one of the greatest plays I've ever seen in any sport. Seeing that Panini put it on a card, I knew I had to have a copy, even if I did overpay.

39) 13/14 Dominion Frozen Moments Booklet Auto Alex Ovechkin/99 (ebay)


While ITG products aren't licensed by the NHL they do put out some very solid products. After months of offers, BIN lowering and other back and forth I finally secured this nice patch auto. The patch appears to be from the shoulder patch and be part of the hockey stick handle

38) 13/14 ITG Decades Patch Auto Peter Bondra /2 (ebay)

BenchWarmer decided to combine two of my favorite things in one product, women and hockey! Add in inscriptions and you have me sold. One of them I purchased for the model, one I purchased for the inscription and one I pulled from a box.

37) 2014 BenchWarmer Hockey Inscriptions: Angel Boris "My Kid Cross Checked Your Honor Student" /5 (ebay),
Raquel Pomplun "Actions Speak Louder Than Coaches" /20 (ebay), and
Jessica Hall "Got Stick"/1 (pulled from box)



While not on par with the Halle Berry auto from last year's additions, and unfortunately not Halle Berry from this year's release, there was another Bond girl I was fond of whose autograph I felt needed to be in my collection. From The New Adventures of Lois & Clark, to Bond, to Desperate Housewives, Teri Hatcher has been a favorite of mine for over 20 years.

36) 2013 James Bond Autograph Teri Hatcher (ebay)


Two autographs I've been meaning to pick up for quite some time come from the original Scooby Doo set. Early in the year I was able to snag a comedy legend who I've looked up to since birth, Tim Conway, and then around the time of his passing I added Casey Kasum.

35) Scooby Mysteries & Monsters Autos Tim Conway, Casey Kasum



Topps always brings their “A” game with the non-sport autographs in Allen & Ginter. This year was no exception and when I saw this signer in the set I knew “fo shizzle” that I needed to pick up the auto.

34) 2014 Topps Allen & Ginter Autograph Snoop Lion (ebay)


Another card acquired after the subject's death. Jonathan Winters was another great comedy master and his autograph comes from a Twilight Zone set that has many great celebrities who made guest appearances during the original run.

33) Twilight Zone Autograph Jonathan Winters (ebay)



A card that I had to purchase twice this year because the first one never arrived. This was the only card I wished to have from the Stark Trek set.

32) Star Trek Into Darkness Alice Eve (ebay)


Another card I didn't have to pay for. This was donated to my Cooley collection by a generous member on Hobby Kings. At first I didn't pick up on the numbering of it because there was another card behind it...sneaky little bastard.
31) 2011 Certified Black Autograph Chris Cooley 1/1 (gift)


I'm not much for graded cards but I needed a Bryce Harper autograph in a Nationals uniform. It just so happens I also needed an Anthony Rendon autograph. Getting both on the same card would be a nice plus and because it wasn't an autograph of Harper alone I got it for a price less than what Harper alone would have cost.

30) 2012 Bowman Platinum Triple Autograph Bryce Harper, Anthony Rendon, Matt Purke /10 BGS 9 (ebay)


I really only collect Michael Morse cards if he's in a Nationals uniform and rarely collect Panini baseball since its unlicensed. I chose to make an exception for this card especially since I was able to purchase it for less than $20.

29) 2014 Panini America's Pastimes Silhouette Patch Morse 1/1 (ebay)


Two of the greatest pitchers to ever don an Orioles uniform, from a high end product, and on-card signatures. You really can't go wrong.

28) 2014 Topps Five Star Booklet Auto Mike Mussina/Jim Palmer /10 (ebay)


Another late addition to the list. I picked this up the day after Christmas. Elizabeth Banks autos rarely pop up and its her only certified autograph.

27) Spiderman 2 Autograph Elizabeth Banks (ebay)


Ten of the top prospects in baseball on one card? Yes its a little crowded, yes they're all on stickers, but it is numbered to 25 and has 3 Nationals prospects on it. The seller attempted to sell this many times but the reserve wasn't met. Once he took the reserve off it ended up in my collection.

26) 2012 Bowman Platinum Arizona Fall League Stars Auto Anthony Rendon, Matt Skole, Brian Goodwin, George Springer, Nick Castellanos, Mike Zunino, Rymer Liriano, Chris Owings, Jake Marisnick, Kevin Pillar/25 (ebay)


Some players spend a season or two with a team and end up with quite a few cards and autographs in that uniform. “Mr October” spent one season in Baltimore and in turn has only a number of autographs depicting him in an Orioles uniform. This year I finally added one to my collection

25) 2001 Upper Deck Legends Signed Legendary Game Uniforms Reggie Jackson


It's shame that Jordan Zimmerman didn't get to play in the 2013 MLB All-Star Game but it is nice that he at least went to the festivities and wore his warm-ups. That allowed Topps to create the following card that I picked up for under $100 weeks before he tossed his no-hitter.

24) 2014 Topps Triple Threads All-Star Triple Patch Jordan Zimmermann 1/1 (ebay)


While I'd have preferred the 2012 Quotable, since Beckett showcased a preview of what exactly you could get, I figured a gamble on a Harper from 2013 wouldn't be a bad thing. Now I'm just waiting for Topps to send my card back.

23) 2013 Topps Five Star Quotable Autograph Bryce Harper Redemption /10 (ebay)


What does a $105 rookie logoman auto look like? Exactly like #22 on the list

22) 09-10 Absolute Memorabilia Rookie Premiere Materials Logoman Auto DaJuan Summers /1 (ebay)

I don't know why I like these so much I just do. They actually look better scanned than they do in person and the back of the card is a bit more impressive than the front. Yet I continue trying to pick up as many Orioles and Nationals as I can...go figure

21) 2014 Topps Clear Series 1, 2 and Update /10
Andy Dirks (pulled from box)
Bryce Harper (ebay)
Nelson Cruz (ebay)
Wilson Ramos (ebay)
Ross Detwiler (ebay)
Taylor Jordan (ebay)
Adam Jones (ebay)
Gio Gonzalez (ebay)
Ubaldo Jimenez (ebay)
Kevin Fransden (ebay)
Asdrubal Cabrera (ebay)













Arguably the best player on the Redskins roster, Ryan Kerrigan is a poor man's JJ Watt. Well this poor man got his Nike Swoosh from National Treasures.

20) 2013 National Treasures Colossal Nike Logo Ryan Kerrigan /2


If someone asked me to name 5 MMA/UFC fighters, I'd probably have struggled to name 5 prior to busting any of the products. The only one I cared about though is Ronda Rousey and there were only 2 or 3 cards that I wanted to get of hers. While I still haven't managed to get the one inscribed with her Twitter handle I did pull two of the three that I got this year.

19) 2013 Topps UFC Knockout Auto Ronda Rousey /99 (pulled from box)
2013 Topps UFC Knockout Full-Contact Auto Ronda Rousey/75 (CSA Show)
2014 UFC Champion Relic Auto Ronda Rousey (pulled from box)




Another late addition to the list, I bought this the same day I bought the Elizabeth Banks. I've been trying to pick up this particular card for years but always wanted to get it with a bold autograph, but knew that would be hard since most have a bit of fading and the better ones seem to graded. Not this one and I landed it for less than $150.

18) 2007 Stellar Sports Illustrated Autograph Brooklyn Decker (ebay)


The best card I pulled Christmas day. Shame it was one off the jersey number but the first time I pulled a Ripken auto. Growing up I looked up to him, as did just about every kid that was an Orioles fan.

17) 2014 Stadium Club Gold Auto Cal Ripken Jr. /25 (pulled from box)


After securing the Bundy Inception Silver Signings last year I wanted to move on to getting a Manny Machado which I knew wouldn't be cheap nor easy. Injuries however helped the final cost while fulfilled redemptions made the cards a bit more plentiful. However that wasn't the only Machado added from Inception.

16) Manny Machado Bowman Inceptions (ebay)
2013 Bowman Inception Silver Signings /25
2013 Bowman Inception Dual Rise Autographs with Dylan Bundy /25



When the Thor set was released I paid it very little mind. In fact it wasn't until months later, like 5, that I found out that one of my favorite actors was in the set. While I was busy searching for Kat Dennings' cards I should have been looking for Zachary Levi (“Secretary” on Less Than Perfect and Chuck on...well Chuck”.

15) 2014 Upper Deck Thor The Dark World Zachary Levi Auto (ebay)


I went through a phase this season of snagging Nationals cards that normally I wouldn't give a second thought to. I don't know if its because I lost out on the Morse Bat Plate in 2013 (because he was in a Mariners uniform) of because Paypal Credit allowed me to have up to 6 months to pay, interest free (yeah I think we all know the answer). One of the cards I decided to snag (more to come) was a bat knob of a Nats player that was going through a power surge at the time.

14) 2014 Topps Tier One Ian Desmond Bat Knob /1


Pulling the Glassnow in 2013 started a trend for me. Buy any Nationals and Orioles player in the set, I also added Hunter Renfore because he played locally for the Bethesda Big Train...lucky for me I purchased them while he was struggling early in the season, not after he got hot and tore up the minors and Arizona Fall League. Many may be unfamiliar with Bowman Black Collection because its numbered to 25 but the set is very appealing. Black background, silver ink. Last year they added another dimension with Victory which has 10 copies and is a gold background with blue or black ink.

13) 2012/2013/2014 Bowman Black Collection/25 and 2013 Bowman Victory/10 (all ebay)

 ^ Nick Delmonico
 ^ Hunter Renfroe
 ^ Josh Hart
 ^ Hunter Harvey
 ^ Erick Fedde
 ^ Hunter Harvey
 ^ Hunter Renfroe
 ^ Matt Purke
^ Robbie Ray
2014 may go down as the year of comedy for my cards. When I saw Dick Van Dyke had autographs in Pop Century I had a goal to buy one and I did. It wasn't necessarily the one I wanted but it make a nice stop gap until I get one I do want more.

12) 2014 Pop Century Perfectly Cast Autograph Dick Van Dyke (ebay)

A card that originally held a “Top 5” spot was pulled from a box of Topps Heritage. I specifically bought the product to try and pull a variation, which I really hadn't been too lucky with in any of Topps' other products. In consecutive packs I hit Mike Trout cards, one different from the other. Having read up on the variations the night before I knew one was a variation I just didn't know which one exactly. So I quickly checked online via my phone and...well needless to say I was thrilled.

11) 2014 Topps Heritage Throwback Uniform Variation SSP Mike Trout (pulled from box)

I mentioned that I had pulled a better card out of my case of Contenders, well here it is. I've busted many a “Kobe” pack from Panini and NEVER hit anything, though maybe a jersey card once but no parallels and no autos. Well my luck was changed with this case...


10) 12/13 Panini Kobe Bryant Jersey Auto /24 (pulled from case)


Growing up a Bullets/Wizards fan was not easy. Seeing talent under perform, seeing young talent traded for washed up veterans, and seeing teams decimated by injuries always made for a tough year. Then the Bullets made the playoffs...Muresan, Howard and of course Chris Webber, possibly the best passing big man of the 90s. Webber has had a following in the hobby for years that has kept his card prices up and in demand, so much so that I don't have nearly the amount or type of cards of his that I want. However when Panini put him on the checklist for Flawless, in a variety of different uniforms that he played in, I knew that there was one card I must have...his BULLETS one! This looks much better than the Webber/Kittles from Stadium Club in the 90s.

9) 13/14 Flawless Transitions Chris Webber Auto /10 (ebay)

Another player I was late to the game on was Lorenzo Alexander. I loved Alexander in DC and hated seeing him go to Arizona. Well when National Treasures came out I somehow overlooked that he had cards in the product...I mean who'd have thought a guy that's mainly known for his Special Teams tackling and being a backup on Redskins Defense would make such a high end product? Once I came across one I wanted more and more and more and well...

8)  2013 National Treasures Lorenzo Alexanders (ebay and COMC)


 
 

While I'd have liked the gold version I settled for the silver /10. Mike Mussina was my favorite Oriole growing up. Once he left them for the Yankees his cards were plentiful in Yankees garb from new products but not so much Orioles. These cards in Museum Collection look spectacular and luckily I was able to get a copy that had been redeemed rather than buying a redemption and having to wait.

7) 2014 Topps Museum Collection Silver Framed Auto Mike Mussina /10 (ebay)

What's a Top 10 list featuring players from DC area teams, notably the Capitals, without Alex Ovechkin? Upper Deck did well with their SP Game Used Supreme Skates set, if only because of this card

6) 13/14 SPGU Supreme Skates Alex Ovechkin /12 (ebay)


Now that is a card that's hard to top but 5 more overshadow it. At #5 is an old school autograph. On card, atomic refractor, and very limited. I'll let the picture do the talking because words don't do it justice

5) 98/99 Bowman's Best Atomic Refractor Auto Peter Bondra (ebay)


At #4 is the other 1/1 that I eluded to from Topps Triple Threads. This card was an INSANE pull, one that many people have offered to take off my hands as the Royals made their run to the World Series. I however am too foolish to move it. While I'd rather have an Orioles or Nationals player I won't complain.

4) 2014 Topps Triple Threads All-Star Game Logo Patch Greg Holland /1 (pulled from box)


Its only fitting that #3 is a trifecta. Around the time I purchased the Bat Knob that was shown earlier I also grabbed these three laundry tags. Unfortunately I missed out on Ryan Zimmerman, Strasburg and Harper I will be keeping my eyes open. The only downside to these is that while they're 1/1, some have 2 copies.

3) 2014 Topps Museum Collection Laundry Tag Gio Gonzalez /1 (ebay)
2014 Topps Museum Collection Laundry Tag Ian Desmond /1 (ebay)
2014 Topps Museum Collection Laundry Tag Jordan Zimmermann /1(ebay)





This card ended up being #1 until I thought more about it. By far the highest value card in my collection, but as I said to begin its not necessarily about value. Pulling a redemption from Allen & Ginter sucked, pulling the Home Run King (screw you Bonds) made it easier, reading the words RED INK and knowing that meant it would be numbered to 10 well that was just awesome.

2) 2013 Topps Allen & Ginter Framed Mini Auto Red Ink Parallel Hank Aaron /10 (pulled from box)





We started at the bottom now we're here....the #1 prize of 2014

And what could possibly be better than a Hank Aaron Red auto /10? Well for me its only one thing. There are cards in the Beckett database of Juan Dixon that have NEVER appeared in my 10 years of searching. Some, Stadium Club Lone Star Signatures, I believe don't exist while others, Three-Point Shots, I believe haven't been pulled. Then there's cards like this one. I had always wondered if the 02-03 Topps Photo Shoot autographs ever had Juan Dixon. I knew he wasn't on the checklist but it was something that ran through my head as a card that never was. Then one day out of the blue I receive a message from leximo on Hobby Kings. He says he has something for me that he knew I wouldn't have in my collection. I had no idea what he was referring to but he wanted to send it my way for free. The day the package arrived I was in awe, nearly in tears as what to my eyes should appear but an uncut sheet from Topps' 02-03 Rookie Photo Shoot of Juan Dixon. While only a few of the sheet are pictured here there are around 14-18 on the whole sheet.

1) 02/03 Topps Photo Shoot Juan Dixon Uncut Sheet (gift)