Wednesday, August 24, 2011

1937 Diamond Matchbooks #3 William "Red" Conkright

Adding assistant coaches to the checklist really expands the collecting options. Prior to adding coaches, the oldest item was from 1954. Now the oldest item is from 1937.

Today's item features William "Red" Conkright. Conkright played his college football at OU where he was team captain and was an all Big-Six lineman. He played one year of pro football for the Chicago Bears in 1937.

I'm not sure all of his coaching stops prior to coming to the University of Houston, but he was a line coach for the Coogs under head coach Harold Lahar for two seasons: 1957 and 1958. In 1957, UH went 5-4-1 and won the Missouri Valley Conference. In 1958, UH went 5-4 tying for 2nd in the conference behind conference champion North Texas.

Conferences were so crazy then. In 1957, the Coogs won the conference with a perfect 3-0 conference record. 2nd place was North Texas with a perfect 1-0 record. What? How do you only play 1 conference game? All other teams in the 5 team conference played 3 conference games except Tulsa that played 4. In 1958, at least all teams played 4 conference games.

He left UH in 1959 to take the head coaching job at SFA.

Today's collectible is not a card. It's a matchbook: 1937 Diamond Matchbooks #3 featuring Conkright. Matchbook collecting was huge in the US in the 1930s and 1940s. There is still a fairly significant group that collects these, but it is not at the level it was then.

I wonder if the decline in smoking, especially in public places, has affected this hobby. When I was a kid, every restaurant had a bowl of matches advertising the place. Now with so many restaurants being smoke free, you don't see as many matches available. When you do see them, the matchbook is fairly plain with just a logo. Compare that with matchbooks of the past where often they were quite elaborately decorated.

Today's featured matchbook has everything that was available on the cards of the time. The front of the cover has a photo of Red. The back has his bio.

What a fun and interesting collectible.

Monday, August 15, 2011

1995 Topps Finest Refractors #188 Lamar Lathon

In my last post, I talked about one of the first premium card brands I liked, Fleer Ultra. Today I'm going to talk about one of the first premium brands that I really disliked, Topps Finest.

Today's card is the 1995 Finest Refractors #188 featuring Lamar Lathon.

So what don't I like about this?
1) Most obviously, the protective cover. OK, so you have a cover that keeps these more expensive in better shape, but the cover is ugly and detracts from the card. It's like putting a plastic seat cover over a nice couch. And of course you can't remove the cover to see how nice the card really looks because you'll ruin the value of the card.

2) The design. Just compare this to the Ultra card from the last post. The photograph quality is much worse. But that's OK. The picture isn't really the focus anyway. Instead you have lightning bolts and garish colors distracting you from the picture.

3) Refractors. There's nothing inherently wrong with refractors. I prefer a quality photograph over a tricked up picture, but I can see the appeal. The biggest negative of refractors is the later use of it. Instead of having just one refractor variation, today there's a whole rainbow of refractors. On top of the base refractor, you have blue, green, red, orange, purple, white, etc. Then you add the superfractor and xfractor which blurs and distracts from the picture even more.

But that's just my opinion. Some people love them and Finest was very popular. It's just not for me.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

1993 Ultra #139 Andre Ware

I've been watching quite a bit of College Football Live with Andre Ware lately because I'm ready for the new season to start. So how about a random Ware card?

Today's card is the 1993 Ultra #139. Ultra was one of the first "high end" brands I liked. It's funny to call this high end now because a pack was $3-$5. Compare that to card prices today. But at the time, that was a big deal.

So why did I like Ultra?
1) The photography - It was comparable to Stadium Club which was the standard at the time. Plus you got more good pictures on the back
2) The design - It was just a nice looking card without too many gimmicks that were just becoming popular. Now almost every card has a gimmick. But it was just a nice photo, a nice marble graphic that looked sharp but didn't distract. A little gold foil, but nothing over the top.

What didn't I like? Ultra was one of the earliest brands to emphasize pictures over stats and info. You can one year and career totals on this card which is probably sufficient, but historically cards had a player's history.

Ultra's look stands the test of time and looks better than almost everything on the market today. It doesn't have an autograph or jersey piece. It's not serial numbered. So it would never be popular if it came out today. But I think it's a nice looking card.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

2011 Sweet Spot Rookie Signatures and Rookie Signatures Variations #RSJC

James Cleveland played wide receiver at the University of Houston from 2009 to 2010. In 2009, he had a monster year. He led the team in receptions (104), receiving yards (1214), and touchdowns (14). He was 8th in the nation in receiving yards per game and 3rd in receptions per game. He was the 4th leading scorer among wide receivers.

That great year earned him several honors such as CUSA Newcomer of the Year, 1st team All CUSA, Phil Steele All-American 3rd team, and All American Honorable Mention for SI and Football News.

Unfortunately his senior season wasn't as productive dropping off to 57 receptions for 800 yards. But he had a solid receiving career for the Coogs.

Today's cards are 2011 Sweet Spot Rookie Signatures #RSJC and 2011 Sweet Spot Rookie Signatures Variations #RSJC. The production on these were limited to 599 and 299.

I find these cards fascinating. The little plastic fake helmet thing is a funny gimmick. What interests me most is these helmets look nothing like the UH helmet. The color is not even right. Most of the cards in this series for other schools look very similar to the real thing. The UH helmet and some others don't.

I'm a UH traditionalist so I like the old skinny logo UH. But if we're going to deviate from what I consider the real UH helmet color and logo, it's interesting to really go out there and see some far out there variations. A white helmet instead of red? The wet cat instead of interlocking UH? Sacrilege.

Sweet Spot Rookie Signatures

Sweet Spot Rookie Signatures Variations

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Checklist Update

Yes! We have a checklist update. Please see the links on the left under Cougar Collectible Checklists.

It's been over a year and there are tons of updates. On top of adding new cards and new players, I've added assistant coaches plus UH alum Tom Landry.

It has been a year so what has been added?

  • 9 former players

  • 1 former basketball coach

  • 20 assistant football coaches

  • 1845 cards

As usual, cards that have been added are highlighted on the card list. Players/coaches that have been added are highlighted in blue and players/coaches that have new cards are highlighted in orange/yellow (depending on your version of Excel) on the player list.

One other change, I am using a different file host. Previously I was using fileden which allowed direct linking with their free account. Unfortunately I was unable to upload some of my files this time AND I have security concerns since McAfee blocks the site due to exploits. So now I am using PutLocker. I don't appear to have the security concerns now and I was able to upload my files, but direct linking isn't allowed. Hopefully you'll be patient and go through the 10 second pause and 2 additional clicks. If this file host gives you trouble, please leave a comment for me.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Press Pass SE Game Day Gear Jerseys #KK - Kevin Kolb

Kevin Kolb has been traded to the Arizona Cardinals.

Congratulations! Let's hope Kevin takes advantage of this opportunity. It would be so great to see him succeed. I'd love for him to have success personally, but as a UH alum, I love see Coogs succeed at the highest levels. I'd especially like to see a UH quarterback break through.

On a personal note: as a lifelong Dallas Cowboys fan, it really hurt me to cheer for him as an Eagle. For most of my life, the Cardinals were in the Cowboys division, but they were never hated rivals like the Redskins or Eagles. BTW: I still have trouble with Arizona Cardinals. It should be St. Louis (not the Rams) although some older fans might still think Chicago.

It will be great to seek him back in red and white. In honor of that, here are some cards featuring Kolb in his Houston red and white. These cards are 2007 Press Pass SE Game Day Gear Jersey cards #KK. There are five variations: Silver, Gold, Holofoil, Holofoil Platinum, and Autographed (not pictured).

For my Coogfan buddies, don't you love the blue uniform trim on the Holofoil cards? ;-)




Holofoil Platinum