HOF Spotlight: Ollie Matson

08.06.2012

Ollie Matson
Name: Ollie Matson
Position: Halfback
Pro Career: 1952, 1954 – 1966
Team Affiliation(s): Chicago Cardinals, Los Angeles Rams, Detroit Lions, Philadelphia Eagles
College: San Francisco
Induction Class: 1972
HOF Profile: Click Here
 
 

Brief Bio: A lone shining star in an otherwise dark abyss, Ollie Matson was often the sole bright spot for awful teams. Yet despite playing for just two teams with winning records during his brilliant 14-year career, and often being the opposing defense’s only target, Matson built an exceptional résumé. A quick-footed All-American who represented the United States in the 1952 Olympics, Matson was the number 1 draft choice of the basement dwelling Chicago Cardinals and was their supposed savior. When he was traded to Los Angeles for an unheard-of 9 players in 1959, he was once again labeled the potential deliverer for a fledging franchise. While Lady Luck was never Matson’s teammate, he competed to his fullest year in and year out and was a six-time Pro Bowl and All-NFL honoree.

Career Stats: 171 games played; 5,173 rushing yards; 40 rushing TDs; 3,285 receiving yards; 23 receiving TDs; 3,746 kickoff return yards; 6 kickoff return TDs; 119 passing yards; 595 punt return yards; 3 punt return TDs; 1 fumble recovery TD, 3 INTs

1952 Bowman #127

Featured Card: 1952 Bowman #127. Along with fellow University of San Francisco alumnus and 1972 Hall of Inductee Gino Marchetti, Ollie Matson was featured on his rookie card before ever playing a down of professional football, something not nearly as common as today. There are not a lot of copies of this card listed on eBay, but prices range from about $50 to $499. Buying vintage can certainly be a lot of fun, especially for older collectors or football history buffs. Just always be aware of what you’re buying as lots of counterfeits and reprints do exist, especially for a legendary set like the 1952 Bowmans.

NOTE: You can find all of my Hall Of Fame Spotlight Features by clicking the HOF Spotlight banner above.


Greatest Business Cards Ever?

07.31.2012

In helping to build hype for the 2012 National Sports Collectors Convention, Panini has been previewing items that will be available as part of their wrapper redemption program. Today’s sneak peek is an interesting one. Available exclusively via instant redemption cards are these “gems”:

That’s right, those are authentic Panini America emlpoyee autographed “work-worn” relic cards.

Not impressed? Well, consider these facts: 1) they are being offered as part of the wrapper redemption program exclusively at the National – they will not be inserted into packs of normal product, 2) they are free – Panini doesn’t OWE you anything for opening their product, this is just a freebie perk, so get over it, and 3) Panini itself is poking fun at the idea of having these cards produced. You can read the entire “reveal” blog post here.

At the very least, it gives collectors a chance to meet some of the top “insiders” at Panini America and serves as a conversation starter…a conversation which will no doubt lead to topics such as “What do you like about our cards?” or “How can we better serve your collecting interests?”

Most interesting, to me at least, is the video Panini posted of the making of. Obviously it focuses on these employee cards, but I assume this is pretty indicative of how all relic cards are producedand is pretty cool to watch.

Now, maybe I need to revisit my business card design…


HOF Spotlight: Gino Marchetti

07.30.2012

Gino Marchetti
Name: Gino Marchetti
Position: Defensive End
Pro Career: 1952 – 1964, 1966
Team Affiliation(s): Dallas Texans, Baltimore Colts
College: San Francisco
Induction Class: 1972
HOF Profile: Click Here
 
 

Brief Bio: If one man struck fear into the hearts of professional quarterbacks during the 1950s and early 1960s, that man would have to be Gino Marchetti. Still considered one of the greatest defensive ends of all time, Marchetti was a fierce competitor with a knack for squelching rushing plays and even greater ability to disrupt an opponent’s passing attack. Marchetti was named to a then-record 11 straight Pro Bowls, although he was forced to miss one with a broken leg, and was named to nine straight All-NFL teams. After his career ended, he still collected accolades as he was named the top defensive end of the NFL’s initial 50 seasons.

Career Stats: 161 games played; 13 fumble recoveries; 2 fumble recovery TDs; 1 receiving TD (his only professional reception); 1 safety; 1 INT

1952 Bowman #23

Featured Card: 1952 Bowman #23. Even as an unproven rookie, Gino Marchetti had the attention of the masses and was included in the now legendary 1952 Bowman set. There are surprisingly few copies listed on eBay and the average price seems to be just north of $100. For a rookie card of one of the greatest defensive ends of all time, that seems like a sweet deal to me. When looking to purchase a 1952 Bowman football card, keep in mind that there is a Large and a small set. Also, as with all vintage sets, there are lots of graded copies available along with the usually lower-priced raw cards. Decide what you like best before you start buying so you can have some focus and continuity in your collection.

NOTE: You can find all of my Hall Of Fame Spotlight Features by clicking the HOF Spotlight banner above.


HOF Spotlight: Lamar Hunt

07.23.2012

Lamar Hunt
Name: Lamar Hunt
Position: League Founder, Owner
Pro Career: 1959 – 2006
Team Affiliation(s): Dallas Texans/Kansas City Chiefs
College: Southern Methodist
Induction Class: 1972
HOF Profile: Click Here
 
 

Brief Bio: What do you do when you’re a 26-year-old who is frustrated in trying to obtain an NFL franchise? Establish a new rival league. That’s just what Lamar Hunt did in 1959 when he helped create the American Football League to challenge the NFL’s stronghold on professional football. A year later, he established the Dallas Texans franchise, which was eventually moved to Kansas City and changed its nickname to the Chiefs. Hunt fought vehemently for the AFL’s survival and spearheaded a total equality merger with the NFL in 1966. His tireless efforts with the new league and the successful franchise he operated as a solid backbone of that league helped forever change the landscape of professional football and formed the NFL as we know and love it today.

1990 Swell Greats #40

Featured Card: 1990 Swell Greats #40. While visionary founders and owners like Lamar Hunt have perhaps the greatest impact on the sport, they are often overlooked in the popular esteem. As such, Hunt does not have an official rookie card, but has been honored in many HOF-focused card sets, such as this junk wax era gem. Current eBay prices are obviously very low for this type of card and would make for an economical addition to any HOF collection.

 
 

NOTE: You can find all of my Hall Of Fame Spotlight Features by clicking the HOF Spotlight banner above.


Topps Ups the Ante

07.18.2012

Since the advent of the “relic” card, manufacturers have been trying to find new things to cut up and stuff between two pieces of card stock. It started with basic squares of plain jersey, ramped up to multi-color swatches, and evolved into letter and logo patches of massive size. Companies have also gotten creative with the source of those relics by cutting up practice jerseys, game-used jerseys, “player worn” jerseys, pants (although it never stated what PART of the pants), and even laundry tags, which many collectors quipped were pulled right off of freshly worn jock straps.

But it didn’t stop with things worn by players. Several companies have bought and cut up anything and everything from old military photos, cancelled checks, and even other cards to stuff into cut auto cards, although obviously the emphasis is more on the signature than the fact that “this is a check personally used by Joe DiMaggio to pay his electric bill and is guaranteed to be authentic.” Topps added real hairs into their Allen & Ginter DNA relics, again leading to rather comical assumptions by collectors. Upper Deck started slabbing real bugs in their Goodwin Champions Entomology sets.

And then today, Topps showed us this photo:

Yes. You are seeing that correctly. An authentic fight-used mouth piece. In a card.

Part of me thinks this is a very cool and ingenuitive. There is no mystery surrounding the relic and its source. The teeth imprints take that away. But another part of me thinks is a tad…well…gross. Yes, collectors have joked about the jock strap tags and the pubic DNA, but there’s just no getting around a mouth piece. At least there isn’t a lost tooth lodged in it.

To see more photos of these “Grill Gear” cards, you can view the gallery on Topps’ Facebook page here.
Topps UFC goes live today.

What do you guys think? Is this totally awesome and a great idea, or did Topps go a bit too far in bringing us as close as possible to our favorite athletes?


OMGzzz!!!1!!

07.17.2012

Here at First and Goal, we have very important and pressing announcement to make:

OMGzzzz!!!!11!!!1

I IS HAZ GINTER!!!1!


OMG!!! Allen & Ginter!

That is all. You may now return to your previously scheduled activities.

For those of you who are curious, yes, this bad boy is ready and raring to go for the annual Gint-a-Cuffs competition. Last year, I had to do a faux Gint-a-Cuffs entry because I had missed the entry deadline (my inability to make quick decisions led me to buying a box about a month or two later than everyone else). But this year, I’m in. In fact, the box is all ripped and mostly written up, I just need to scan everything and wait for the official scoring rules.

You can check in on all of the Gint-a-Cuffs IV action here.


Bravo, Panini

07.13.2012

Yes, it’s been a while. I know. Busy, busy.

Work.
Baby.
House.

Plus, the business side of 1&G has been doing great recently. That’s good, but it also means a lot more time and effort. Time and effort I used to spend on the blog side. I have been meaning to post for a while and have had several topics come and go without any writing. So instead of waiting for that magical moment when the stars align and I suddenly have tons of time and material, I’m going to try to ease back into this as time allows.

One of my thoughts on cards over the past several months has been the surprising improvement of Panini. After buying Donruss/Playoff, LP to enter the sports card market, Panini seemed to just pump out set after set of crap. Lots of uber-neutral and ho-hum designs. Nearly all sticker autos. Obvious backwards design flaws. One of the leading examples of these trends was always Prestige, the very early football release.

Let’s do a quick recap:

In 2010, Prestige featured all grey base cards, super close up photos of rookies with no uniform colors or logos showing (due to the set’s early release and Panini’s inability to show NCAA branding), and an overal blah feel to the product.

In 2011, Prestige added a bit of color to the card fronts and tried to make team logos more prevalent, but the rookie photos were still awful and despite the improved effort, the cards still felt very neutral and not particularly appealing.

Now, take a look at this:

Wow. What is this? Bold team colors. Prominent logos. Fantastic photo. Clean design. Instead of just taking a tired and old design and slightly tweaking it, Panini essentially threw away the Prestige of yesterday and completely redesigned the set. I’m not doing a full product review (and sadly, 1&G reviews may be dead for the time being), but I will point out that inserts were also pretty attractive and even…gasp…featured on-card autographs! Not every autograph, but some is better than none.

Is this a perfect card? No. Is it the end-all, be-all for early set releases? No. Would I be happy if every Prestige set in the future looks like this? Obviously not.

But it’s progress.

And that is very refreshing…


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