Friday, September 20, 2013

What's Inside: Topps Tier One Baseball

Ah, Topps. Collectors either love or hate them. There doesn't seem to be much in-between does there? The company with the greatest legacy in sports cards is sort of an enigma. They do many things well and some other things not so well. In a day and age where customer service should be everything, it isn't. With social media, collectors have made and broken companies. It isn't the largest portion of the hobby by any means, but it is the direct lifeline for many to reach out and get their opinion heard. I've seen careers and companies ruined by stories told on Twitter and Facebook. Faith in a company should be the #1 reason why you put your hard-earned dollars behind a purchase. Why anyone would buy something they aren't happy with is beyond me. They are the company that is supposed to be the industry leader. This year, my confidence in them has wavered. It truly bothers me. Perhaps it is just me wanting something from my childhood to live on the way I've always remembered it, or simply because I want collectors of today to get the absolute best service they deserve. Maybe, I expect them to live up to the legacy. I've had my ups and downs with some of the recent Topps releases, but I can tell you that with Tier One, it's nothing but love from me.

Tier One shoots straight. It's a box with 3 cards in it (some contain 4). On average 2 autographs and one memorabilia card. It features outstanding designs, some unique takes on past Topps releases and contains one of the best mixes of past, present and future MLB stars that you can have. There are a couple of more greats I'd like to see on the list, but this one is nothing to sneeze at. I'd also like to see them up the basic relic cards here to be a little more high-end. I'm not saying 4-color patches, but maybe save the good stuff for this product next time around. There are unreal patches included, but a basic relic is sort of mundane in a product that could make an even bolder statement with collectors. I was very happy with my box. So happy, I bought more. Have a look at what I found:

Thursday, September 19, 2013

What's Inside: 2013 Press Pass Showcase Video Box Break

Consistency means something in the world of trading cards. I don't take a lot of chances purchasing a product that I don't believe will provide me something I absolutely won't keep in my collection after opening it. I mean if I wanted that kind of gamble, I'd head to Vegas. Do you ever think about that when making a trading card purchase? You see for me, I go in with the thought of getting something I'd like to add to my collection. Many people go at it from a completely different perspective. They go in hoping to get something great to sell. If I had a dollar for every time I've heard the only good trading card is a sold trading card, I wouldn't be talking about trading cards...

There are a small handful of go to products that will deliver something worth keeping or that will deliver something of significant value to use as trade material for another collector. Two of those products are manufactured by Press Pass. They are Redline and Showcase.

As the chase for the Sprint Cup gets underway, Press Pass delivers one of the most potent racing products of the year. Showcase is loaded with some of the most diverse racing gear and plenty of outstanding autographs. Would you like to see what's inside a box? Watch this:

SIGnificant Autos - Getting Old Sucks - Dying Is Even Worse

There is no doubt that life is precious. Every minute is a blessing. I've lost loved ones and there is no greater pain. It is amazing how fast time passes. It seems like yesterday that I was sitting in the Atlantic City Convention center watching Tommy Morrison manhandle Ray Mercer until he got gassed and Mercer delivered an unforgettable beating. That Morrison came back and fought after that showed how much heart he had. That he defeated George Foreman for a heavyweight title was another example. I was a fan. You see, at that time in my life I worked at Trump Regency (formerly the Playboy Club) and Trump Plaza. I got to meet all of the boxers of that era that came through town. Tyson, Foreman, Holyfield, Ruddock, Bowe, Seldon, Stewart, Holmes, etc. With all of the fights in the city, it was also a great opportunity to meet celebrities that loved the sweet science. Ah, the good old days.

I was fortunate enough to acquire a lot of great autographs during that span, and one of my favorite was Morrison. As Tommy Gunn in Rocky V, the most maligned chapter of the Balboa saga, Morrison became a star. That recognition translated well to his actual boxing career, but many thought of him as just another great white hype. Tommy was good, and what should have been a promising career was derailed when he tested HIV positive in 1996. 10 years later, that diagnosis would be reversed and he resumed a boxing career, but it was nothing like the early years. Some of the big names Morrison beat include James Tillis, Razor Ruddock & George Foreman. When he eventually retired it was with a respectable record of 49-3-1 with 44 KOs.

Here's an 8x10 I acquired in 1991 just before the big fight with Ray Mercer. I was truly saddened by his passing as he was only 44. I am 44. That is simply way too soon to leave this amazing world. RIP Tommy.

Minutes before going on the air for the 9/19/13 episode of Cardboard Connection Radio, I was informed that another one of my favorite pugilists passed away. This time it was the legendary Ken Norton. Norton was a monster in the ring. He defeated Muhammad Ali, not many men can say that. It was quite a feat to beat Ali in his prime. His fight with Larry Holmes in '78 was one of the best heavyweight fights of all time. Norton was 42-7-1 with 33 KOs. Check out round 15 of the Holmes fight, it is a classic.

His son Ken Norton Jr. became the first player in the NFL to win 3 consecutive Super Bowls. It was clear the family had some good genes.

I had the privilege of interviewing Ken a few years ago. I am and always will be a fan. He was a very cool guy in and out of the ring. Here's a link to listen if you like...

On that day, Ken being the consummate professional signed this Everlast glove for me, free of charge. It will never leave my collection. RIP Ken.