Friday, December 21, 2007

2007 Topps TX Exclusive Silver Vincent Marshall 152

The 2007 Texas Bowl featuring UH vs TCU is coming up December 28th, 7 PM at Reliant Stadium. Click here to buy your tickets. If you can't make it to the game, watch it on the NFL Network or channel 27 in the DFW area.

Speaking of UH bowls, let's look back on one of the best plays in recent bowl history. Who can forget the end of regulation time in the 2003 Hawaii Bowl when Vincent Marshall took an 81 yard pass from Kevin Kolb to tie the game up in the final minute?

Unfortunately Houston lost the game in overtime, but Marshall would go on to become UH's all-time career leader in receptions and receiving yards.

Since you're a UH collector, you need to have a football card for UH's all-time receiver, so let's look at the 2007 Topps TX Exclusive set card #152. There are 4 variations of this card: Base, Bronze, Silver, and Gold. Pictured below is the Silver variation.

As far as I know, this is the only Vincent Marshall card on the market, but hopefully he'll have more in the future.

Vincent Marshall

Monday, December 10, 2007

Baseball Card Checklist

Finally an addition to the UH collectibles checklist. Previously I did a checklist for basketball (which I'm sure needs updating by now). This time, I have a list of UH baseball collectibles. The list is available both in Excel & pdf formats. If you know of any missing players or collectibles, please let me know.

Baseball Checklist Highlights:
  • There are 3313 collectibles for 38 ex-UH players
  • The player with the most cards is Ryan Wagner with 602. That does include all card variations.
  • The oldest card listed is from 1954 for Bill Henry on a Red Sox Team Issue card. 1955 Bowman card of Bill Henry was released the next year.
  • Plenty of minor league cards are included on the list
Click here for the pdf version (178 kb)
Click here for the Excel version (730 kb)

The checklist will also remain available in the navigation on the left for your future reference.

Next checklist... football

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Carlton Hanta 1960 Doyusha 4 in 1

Not all UH baseball players play in the US. For example, Carlton Hanta played in the Japanese league. He played for the Nankai Hawks and Chunichi Dragons.

This card is from the 1960 Doyusha 4 in 1 set. Also featured on this card is Japanese Base Hall of Famers Motoshi Fujita, Osamu Mihara, and the legendary Sadaharu Oh.

Hanta is at the top left.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Chandi Jones and Sancho Lyttle

It's easy to focus on collectibles of the male athletes, but let's look at the ladies today. We have two of the best ladies basketball players in UH history: Chandi Jones and Sancho Lyttle.

Chandi Jones was Conference USA Freshman of the Year in 2001 and was Conference USA Player of the year in 2002, 2003, & 2004. She was 2nd team All American in 2004 and is the all time UH scoring leader.

Sancho Lyttle was an All-Conference USA first teamer in 2005 and was an All American Honorable mention.

Both players were selected in the first round of the WNBA draft.

Today's cards are the 2004 WNBA Fleer Ultra #98 for Chandi Jones and 2006 WNBA 10th Anniversary #34 for Sancho Lyttle.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

1957 UH vs USM Football Program

Think that the University of Houston didn't play Southern Miss prior to Conference USA? Think again. UH played USM once before on November 9th, 1957.

Southern Miss (or Mississippi Southern as they were known then) came into the game with a perfect 7-0 record including 6 shutouts and only 6 points in the 7th game. UH came in at 2-4-1.

But UH was not to be denied this day. After it was over, UH won 27-12. The Coogs were led by Claude King who scored twice and average 12 yards per carry. The Coogs would end the season by winning their next 2 games to end with a 5-4-1 record and their second consecutive Missouri Valley Conference championship. USM would lose 2 of their next 3 including the Tangerine Bowl and have a final record of 8-3.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

UH USB Flash Drive

This is just too cool. I love flash drives. This one has very little memory, but it has the Cougar logo. Save all of your UH pics on this or download the basketball checklist to share with other Cougar alums.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

2005 Donruss Classic Stanford Routt #169

Let's get some pictures of cards going to get us ready for football season, even if I don't do a full write up. Here's Stanford Routt's 2005 Donruss Classic #169.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

1992 Motion Sports Football

Enough baseball... football season is about to begin. So let's look at a set dedicated solely to UH football, the 1992 Motion Sports Football set. This set features the players from the 1992 Cougar team as well as cards dedicated to UH history. Enjoy!

Friday, August 3, 2007

Brad Lincoln 2006 TriStar Prospect Plus Game Used Jersey #P-BL

Let's continue looking at UH baseball players. With the season that my hometown Rangers and the Astros are having, looking at former Cougars is the only way to make it through the rest of the baseball season. Luckily football is coming up soon.

One of the most dominant seasons by any player in a UH uniform was turned in by Brad Lincoln in 2006. Lincoln was an All-American who won several player of the year awards by leading the nation in several categories including wins, ERA, strikeouts, shutouts, and more. He became the first UH player selected in the top 10 picks of the amateur draft when he was selected #4 by Pittsburgh.

I prefer basketball and football over baseball both as sports and for collecting, but there is one thing that baseball has over the other two sports... minor leagues. What other sport has team names like the Hickory Crawdads.

Brad Lincoln Card Front

Brad Lincoln Card Back

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

1975 Topps Tom Paciorek #523

Who is the greatest baseball player from the University of Houston? There are several players to consider, and Tom Paciorek would have to be included in the discussion. Tom was a two time All-American at the University of Houston leading the Cougars to the College World Series in 1967. He was drafted in the 5th round of the MLB draft.

In addition to playing baseball at UH, Paciorek also played football. He is tied for 8th in career interceptions at UH. In 1965, he led the team in punt returns. In 1966, he tied for team lead in interceptions. He was selected in the 9th round of the NFL draft.

In 1978, he was elected to the UH Hall of Honor.

Paciorek played 18 seasons in the Major Leagues with a career batting average of .282. He was named an All-Star in 1981. In 1992, he was inducted into the National Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame. I know that sounds a little goofy, but there are some big names there.

For today's collectible, let's look at the 1975 Topps card #523. The '60s had truly classic cards. The '80s and '90s started the high tech cards. The '70s... you get the interesting color combinations associated with that decade. In this case, the top half of the card is bordered in yellow while the bottom half is bordered in green. Nice...

Why do I like this card? While many cards list where the player went to school, this card states that he also played football for UH and helped the team to defeat the Michigan State team in 1967.

1975 Topps Tom Paciorek Front1975 Topps Tom Paciorek Back

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Leaf Studio Doug Drabek

Doug Drabek played baseball at the University of Houston from 1981 to 1983 and was drafted in the 11th round of the draft. He made his Major League debut in 1986 and ended his career in 1998. In 1990 Drabek won the Cy Young and came in eighth in MVP voting. In 1992 he came in fifth in Cy Young voting and in 1994 he came in fourth while making his only All Star appearance.

Today's collectible is from the Leaf Studio line of cards. Leaf Studio debuted in 1991. The idea was to incorporate studio photography instead of action or candid shots at the field. The 1991 version featured black and white photographs with a maroon/purple border. I love the front of these cards. The backs... well, not so much. Black and white backs with very basic information and responses to cheesy questions.

I guess the all black and white wasn't a hit because the 1992 version included a black and white action photo in the background with a color studio portrait in the foreground, all surrounded by a gold border. The backs included similar basic information and answers as the 1991 set, but it has a much nicer layout especially with the gold border.
Doug Drabek 1991 Leaf Studio frontDoug Drabek 1991 Leaf Studio back
Doug Drabek 1992 Leaf Studio frontDoug Drabek 1992 Leaf Studio back

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Basketball Checklist

Olajuwon CardHerrera CardDrexler Card

I've been doing very poorly on keeping up with my blogging, but it's time to get back into it. Thanks to all of you that have been checking back. I'm going to get back into the habit of posting a couple times a week.

The good news... I have completed a fairly comprehensive list of basketball cards with UH players and coaches. It includes 3,646 collectibles, and it will be useful for collector's all of levels.

For the beginning collector, you can see what players are available. From the big names like Drexler, Hayes, and Olajuwon to Cougars that never made it to the pros like Rafael Carrasco and Tyrone Evans.

For the serious collector, see all the variations including very rare inserts. You can also use this as a checklist or wish list.

I have included links to both pdf and Excel versions of the list. If you have any questions, comments, or additions, please let me know.

Excel version 552K

pdf version 141K

My goal is to have a comprehensive list of all UH athletes. Now that basketball is done, I have baseball, football, golf, and Olympic sports to go. My dream is to create software for the UH collector. Completing these lists is the first step.

Hayes CardOutlaw CardJones Card

Saturday, June 30, 2007

1992 Classic World Class Athletes - Carl Lewis

Today I'm going to focus on the greatest athlete to come out of the University of Houston. That's quite a bold, definitive statement. I wouldn't say that about the best basketball player to come out of UH or the best football player. But I can be confident about this statement because I'm talking about what many consider the greatest athlete in history. Of course I'm talking about Carl Lewis.

Most people are aware of his Olympic history: 10 Olympic medals including 9 gold. Some people are aware of his World Championship history: 10 medals including 8 gold. But let's look at his time at the University of Houston.

Carl selected the University of Houston over Tennessee. As a freshman in 1980, he won the Southwest Conference indoor long jump as well as the NCAA indoor and outdoor long jump competitions. He qualified for the Olympics (although the USA did not compete due to the boycott) and was ranked number 5 in the world.

In 1981, he won the NCAA indoor and outdoor long jump championships as well as the NCAA 100 meters. Being rated number one in the world in the long jump and 100 meters on top of being the NCAA champion, he had nothing left to prove in college and decided not to pursue his final two years of eligibility. He also won the Sullivan Award as the USA Amateur Athlete of the Year.

Today's cards are from the 1992 Classic World Class Athletes set. This set featured 60 cards if athletes from a variety of sports. The set primarily focused on Olympic athletes, but it also featured NBA players, tennis players, football players, and boxers. The set also features another UH track great, Leroy Burrell.

Carl Lewis is featured on card #1 in the set as well as card #58. He was also featured on a promo card.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Dave Campbell's Texas Football

Dave Campbell's Texas Football is considered by many to be the bible of Texas football. It covers the pros, college teams, plus high school teams. It was started in 1960.

The cover of the magazine focused primarily on Southwest Conference and later the Big XII. Occasionally high school players are on the cover.

The University of Houston has graced the cover five times. Twice UH was the primary focus. In 1976, Coach Bill Yeoman was featured. In 1991, it was David Klingler. Twice UH shared the focus. In 1989, Coach Jack Pardee shared the cover with Forrest Gregg. In 2004, Kevin Kolb shared the cover with players from Texas Tech, North Texas, and TCU. Once, UH was featured in the secondary picture. In 1997, Coach Kim Helton was the smaller picture with the primary focus on UT running backs.

It's odd the focus on UH coaches. We've had incredible players like Robert Newhouse, Lombardi Winner Wilson Whitley, and Heisman Winner Andre Ware, but only David Klingler has been a solo cover boy.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Autograph Cards - 1999 Upper Deck Retro Inkredible Antowain Smith #AS and 2006-07 Press Pass Legends Alumni Association Autographs Drexler Hayes 3

The other insert card type that I enjoy is the autograph card. Collecting autographs is a way to feel closer to the athlete because you know he personally had contact with the signed piece.

For a personal collection, the best way to get an autograph is in person. The autograph is a physical reminder of your interaction with the athlete. When you look at the autograph, you can reminisce about the excitement of the moment. If your collection is more than for personal enjoyment, even if you document your interaction with a photograph, the authenticity of the autograph can come into question. Also it can be very difficult to obtain an autograph in person. Some athletes may not come to your town, may no longer travel, may not sign autographs are card shows, or may just not make many public appearances.

Another way to collect autographs is through dealers and online auctions. Unfortunately there are frequently fake autographs on the market and authenticity verification can be virtually impossible.

An insert card is an excellent way to collect the autograph of your favorite player. While you don't have the personal interaction with the the athlete, you do know that there was contact with the card. You also have some confidence that the autograph is authentic due to the reputaion of the card company.

The first autograph card below is the 1999 Upper Deck Retro Inkredible Antowain Smith #AS. This is one of the first autographed Cougar cards I ever bought.

The second card is the 2006-07 Press Pass Legends Alumni Association Autographs Drexler Hayes #3. What a great card to represent the fine history and tradition of UH basketball. Clyde Drexler and Elvin Hayes autographs on the same card with the fat UH logo on the card. I'd prefer the skinny UH logo since that's still my favorite. Also that was the logo when both players were at UH. But you won't hear me complain too much with such an exquisite card.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Jersey Cards - 2001 Pacific Invincible Kimble Anders and 2005 Ultimate Collection Jersey Hakeem Olajuwon

I'm going to start this post with a small rant while reviewing some of the history of trading cards. In the distant past, there was generally only one company producing one set of cards per year. It was much easier to collect entire sets, but I'm not going to say that things were better.

In the early '80s, competition began. There were several companies releasing sets. The quality of the cards improved. The player selection improved because no company wanted to lose business because they didn't have your favorite player in their set. This is a stark contrast with the past where you may not be able to get cards for all the starters on your team. You could only get the superstars. Also they didn't want to miss that star that didn't come from the early first round of the draft. There are even sets of possible draft picks where you can pick up cards of your favorite player leaving school in their college uniform. So things were good.

Then came the emergence of the insert card and the parallel set. Early insert cards were limited in number and reserved for things like All-Stars and lottery picks. Then came the parallel card where every card in the set had a variant. There are refractors, black cards, silver, gold, and platinum variants, Tiffany cards, Members Only, First Day Issues, and more. Soon there were so many variants that it become impossible to collect all the cards available. It even became impossible in many cases to collect all of the cards of your favorite player. Did you know that lists 1775 collectibles for Hakeem Olajuwon? Even if you had near unlimited financial resources, some of the variants are so rare that finding one for sale is nearly impossible.
Each company also began to release multiple products. Collectibility of each of these products ran from easily available and sometimes unwanted to very rare and desired. Prices of the cards reflected that range from very cheap to prohibitively expensive. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but the glut of products and cards on the market creates challenges for the collector.

All of this has left the standard issue card practically worthless and not "collectible." Thank goodness I do not collect for profit so the only time I concern myself with value is when I'm buying something. I don't want to overpay when I can get a collectible for less money. But I find it sad that opening packs of cards has almost become a thing of the past. I used to buy pack after pack trying to collect a set. Now I'm guessing most people who buy packs are basically gambling that they find a rare and expensive insert or variant. I only buy cards for players from the University of Houston.

Now that my rant is over, in the next couple of posts I'm going to cover insert card concepts that I actually like. The first insert card type that I really like is the jersey card. These cards feature a small piece of a game worn jersey incorporated into the design of the card. While you're looking at the card, you can imagine Hakeem wearing the jersey while swatting a shot into the third row. Imagine Drexler wearing the jersey on a slam dunk. Imagine Kimble wearing the jersey as he catches a touchdown pass. Imagine Woody wearing the jersey at the All-Star game.

Sure you may prefer a full game worn jersey. But if you can even find a legitimate jersey, it would be very expensive to obtain. Then add the expense of framing the jersey for display. It's out of the financial reach of many collectors. Jersey cards provide the same fantasy as the full jersey at a fraction of the price. Plus you have the backing of the trading card company that the jersey is legitimate and not a fake.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

1989 Houstonian

Let's move on to the next collectible that is created by the university, the yearbook. The University of Houston's yearbook is called The Houstonian. In general, I prefer sports collectibles, but yearbooks are a favorite of mine. You can check the sports teams, the fashions, the important campus happenings, and the biggest stories of the year. It's even better when the yearbook is from your time in school because you can see your friends.

This post is about the 1989 Houstonian. The football team went 9-3 including a 66-15 destruction of UT. The basketball team went a disappointing 17-14. The volleyball team was led by the greatness of Junior Julie Gates who was named to the first team All-Southwest Conference. The baseball team was led by Fred Hinojosa. Also on the team was Scott Sheldon, the future Texas Ranger who became the 3rd player in major league history to play every position in one game. The track team was led by current UH track coach, Olympic gold medalist, and twice holder of the 100 meter record.

Front Cover

Back Cover

Photo includes Andre Ware, Fred Hinojosa, Richard Hollis, Leroy Burrell, and others

Scott Sheldon


Bleacher Creatures

The controversial pimp & whore party. Who's the goofball in the shredded Def Leppard shirt, the spandex pants, and the dog chain? ;-) Did anyone else have a great time in college?