Saturday, May 31, 2008

19933-94 Ultra Famous Nicknames #12 Hakeem Olajuwon

University of Houston basketball players historically have had some great nicknames. One of the most famous nicknames not just at UH, but in all of basketball is Hakeem "The Dream" Olajuwon.

In Ultra's 1993-94 set, they did an insert set dedicated to player nicknames so of course Hakeem had to be included.

The front of the card has a stylized background including images of a basketball floor and net and what looks like broken glass. Could this possibly be a broken backboard? This isn't an over the top background like too many cards as it doesn't detract from the image of Olajuwon shooting what appears to be a soft fade away.

What I really love is the back of this card. Another nice image of Hakeem, although he looks a little bored, with a basketball ball floor background covering about half the card. But that's not why I like the back. The text on the back starts out: "Hakeem Olajuwon earned his nickname as "The Dream" while at Houston. The University of Houston that is." It then proceeds to list several of his individual accomplishments as a Coog including being named the Southwest Conference player of the decade in the 1980s.

Monday, May 26, 2008

2008 Playoff Prestige Draft Pick Rights #107 Anthony Alridge

Anthony Alridge cards are now available. Playoff Prestige includes several variants including 10th Anniversary, Rookie, and Draft Picks Light Blue & Draft Picks Rights (pictured below). There are also Extra Points versions that come in Base, Black, Gold, Green, Purple, and Red. These vary by color and the number of each card produced.

Other Cougars in this set include Donnie Avery and Kevin Kolb.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

1996 Upper Deck USA SP Career Statistics #S6 Hakeem Olajuwon

USA! USA! USA! We all know that Hakeem Olajuwon comes from Nigeria. In fact, in 1979, he played for the Nigerian junior national team in the All-African Games.

In 1993, Hakeem became a United States citizen. Generally that would make him eligible to play for the USA national team, but because he had played for the Nigerian team, there was a question of whether that would disqualify him. Fortunately it was decided that since he was under the age of 18 when he played for Nigeria, he could play for Team USA. Olajuwon played in the 1996 Olympics where the team went undefeated.

Today's card is the 1996 Upper Deck USA SP Career Statistics #S6. This is a die cut card with a metallic finish on the front. Hakeem appears to be throwing up a weak hook shot in front of an American flag. The back features another posed photograph with full career statistics.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

1960 Fleer #18 Hogan Wharton

Hogan Wharton was an early football great at the University of Houston. Playing tackle, he was a two time Missouri Valley Conference first teamer (1957 & 1958) and an AP All-American Honorable Mention (1958). He was one of three captains for the 1958 team.

He was selected by the San Francisco 49ers in the 1958 draft along with 3 other Cougars. Of course the draft had many more rounds back then. Wharton was chosen in the 11th round. Other Cougars in the draft were Don Caraway (4th round), Don McDonald (29th), and John Peters (30th). He played for the Houston Oilers from 1960 to 1963.

Today's card is the 1960 Fleer #18. This is Wharton's only card from a major manufacturer. You can probably tell from previous posts that I love these vintage cards even though they look very unsophisticated by today's standards. This card has a typical fake action pose. And just look at that face. Classic expression. The back has no statistics, not surprising for a Tackle. Instead there is a brief history of Wharton's career.

Surprisingly there are three Cougars in the 1960 Fleer set. Also in the set are Don Flynn (#32) and Curley Johnson (#123).

Saturday, May 10, 2008

2002-03 Topps # 174 Hakeem Olajuwon

This week's Hakeem Olajuwon card is Topps 2002-2003 #174.

There is one thing I really hate about this card, the uniform Hakeem is wearing. Hakeem should not wear any uniform that is not Houston (either UH or Rockets). OK there are a couple of exceptions, All-Star and Team USA. Seeing Hakeem in the Toronto Raptors uniform is just painful to see.

But other than the uniform, I LOVE this card. Why? There's no autograph or relic. No serial number. No 1 of 1. No special effects. It's Beckett value maxes out at $0.50. But to me, this is what a base card should look like and if there were inexpensive, sharp looking base sets like this without a million gimmicks, set collecting would become more popular again.

First let's start with the picture. Good, but not great picture. It could have been cropped a little closer, but it's solid. Also featured on the front are the team and player name in silver foil, the team logo, and a nice blue border. That's a very sharp layout.

The back is really where this card stands out. Information and more information. There's basic life information like height, weight, date of birth, draft position, and most importantly college. Then there are career statistics, 18 years worth. All of the major categories are here. On top of that, another nice photo in the corner.

I hope you enjoy this card (except for the Raptor uniform). When I started this blog, I wanted to feature nice looking cards featuring University of Houston athletes, regardless of value. There are great cards in every price range so every UH fan can enjoy collecting their Coogs. Eat 'em up!

Friday, May 9, 2008

1971-72 Topps #142 Elvin Hayes

Generally League Leader and All-Star cards aren't high on many collector's list. They just aren't considered as appealing or valuable as a player's regular issue card. To me, an exception is the League Leader cards of the early 1970s. There is just so much star power on these cards that make them hard to pass up.

Today's card is the 1971 Topps #142 Rebounds Leaders card. Look at the stars here. First you have Wilt Chamberlain looking very intimidating. Sorry Mike, but to me he's the all-time greatest basketball player. In the 1961-62 season he averaged 50.4 points per game and 25.7 rebounds per game including a game where he scored 100 points. WOW! He had 55 rebounds in one game. Too selfish? He once led the league in assists. Not the league leading center, but the league leader. On this card he's the league leading rebounder by a fairly hefty margin with 1493 rebounds vs 1362 for 2nd place.

Also on the card is Lew Alcindor aka Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. That's just the player with the most points in NBA history.

Finally, and most important to us Cougar fans, we have Elvin Hayes. Top 50 player in NBA history and possibly the greatest Cougar cager of all time. Coming in second in rebounding in 1970-71 as a member of the San Diego (not Houston) Rockets.

Now that we've looked at the players, let's look at the card itself. While it may look cheesy by today's card standards, I love the look. First we've got the brightly colored background '70s style with the Cougar red. The picture of Wilt is great. He looks unhappy and like a man you don't want to mess with his head popping out of the frame trying to contain him. Kareem also looks good with the frame not being able to control his afro. Unfortunately the Elvin Hayes picture is the worst of the bunch. While the other two players have portraits, Hayes' picture looks like a cropped staged action shot.

As for the back... well, it has a lot of information. Nothing exciting here like most vintage cards. You do get a listing of the top 10 rebounders of 1970-1971. That actually served a purpose in those days. You couldn't just go look up the leaders for a season on the internet. It also helped kids learn who the star players were. I prefer statistics on the back of the card to some of the crazy graphics on the backs of some of today's cards.

Beckett currently lists this card as valued from $6 to $15. Recent eBay auctions range from $4.58 to $9.12 plus a couple of dollars for shipping. What a great value for that many stars on one card especially for a card that's 35 years old.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

2005 SP Game Used Authentic Fabrics Quad Patches #GDOO Hakeem Olajuwon

We've previously discussed game worn jersey cards on this blog, but there is a a subset of jersey cards, the patch card. Patch cards contain parts of a patch sewn onto the jersey. Patches could include things like team logo, number, player name, league logo, or something like that. Patches are generally considered preferable to jerseys because they provide a more visually interesting card due to the variety of colors on a patch versus the single color of a jersey.

This week's Olajuwon card is an amazing patch card. It's the 2005 SP Game Used Authentic Fabrics Quad Patches #GDOO. Not only does it contain a patch from Hakeem Olajuwon's uniform, it also has patches from Tim Duncan, Shaquille O'Neal, and Kevin Garnett. That is uniforms from a player in the Hall of Fame, 2 more obvious first ballot HOFers, and one possible HOFer all in one card. That is amazing.

Good luck finding one of these to add to your collection, but I hope you enjoy seeing it.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

1994 Stadium Club #28 Anthony Young

Collectors often want different things in a trading card. Some want autographs or game used memorabilia. Some want inserts and rare numbered cards. Some like refractors. And some like old vintage cards.

There are also some who just want a nice card with great photography and no gimmicks. To some, that means Stadium Club cards. Ryan at Trader Cracks, wrote a great blog article on bringing back Stadium Club and emphasizing photography for cards again. He's even started a write in campaign. So please visit his site if you agree with him.

Bring Back Stadium Club

I don't really have a passion for Stadium Club, but I do agree with his call for better photography and less gimmicks on cards. So to support his cause, today's card is Anthony Young's 1994 Stadium Club #28. The photography is beautiful with a full card, no border look. The Stadium Club logo is prominent without being overpowering. The only problem is the graphic around the name. That's just horrid, but not enough to distract from the rest of the card. Overall, a great looking card.