Thursday, October 20, 2016

Family, Cards, and the Longest Punt Ever Kicked

When people ask why I collect cards, my explanation is typically that I collect cards to which I have a personal collection.  I played backyard football with Michael Cuddyer at my best friend's 10th birthday party.  My mom was Justin Upton's 2nd grade teacher.  BJ Upton was in my algebra class.  I played ping-pong with David Wright at his house in high school.  I've been friends with Scott Sizemore since pre-school.  I collect former VT Hokies because my time spent at VT, especially at football games, is something that I really cherish.  The other random cards I've collected over time have some kind of connection to me.  I didn't think I could be more connected to cards.

Now, I have cards that are family.

Steve O'neal is my first-cousin-once-removed-in-law-by-marriage...or something like that.  He's the husband of my wife's dad's cousin.  In other confusing words, my father-in-law's cousin is married to Steve O'neal. From Steve's perspective, I'm his wife's cousin's son-in-law.

I had the privilege of meeting Steve for the first time about a month ago when my wife's family had a gathering in the sticks of Virginia.  Steve and I had an excellent conversation for the better part of an hour before I had any clue he had played in the NFL.  When I asked what he did for a living, he said he was a dentist for 40 years.  I'm pretty terrified of the dentist, so I didn't really dive into that topic too much.  It wasn't until his wife mentioned his time in the NFL that his playing days came up.  My wife and father-in-law didn't even know he played in the NFL.  He told me a couple stories about his career, mentioning Coach Weeb Eubank and Joe Namath and the like.

I asked him if he had any football cards, and he said he had one with the Jets and one with the Saints.  Naturally, I bought them on eBay while still talking to him.  He told me he gets 2-3 letters in the mail each month with folks asking him to sign their cards.  He appreciates those who take the time to send nice notes and hates when he gets a card with only a cold request of "sign this card."  I made sure to tell him that folks really appreciate when people like him will take their time to sign a card and send it back.

He then told me about his two cards.  He said that when he got to the Jets, being a punter, he didn't have much say in what jersey he ended up with.  While Namath had a fresh jersey and cleats in his locker for every game, Steve had the same jersey for 4 years.  To make things worse, they issued him a size 56 jersey, when he requested a 48.  So, he was constantly pushing the sleeves up to keep them from covering his hands.  If that wasn't bad enough, he had no idea they were doing card pictures at practice one day, so he had to attempt a last-second helmet-hair fix.  As a result he said his hair was a little messed up.  Look at his 1973 Topps card. THE SLEEVES ARE ROLLED UP BECAUSE THEY'RE WAY TOO LONG AND HIS HAIR IS OUT OF PLACE. Mind blown.  As for the 1974 Topps card with the Saints, he said they never bothered to take a new picture. They just airbrushed the green out of an old Jets picture they already had.  Two cards of a guy I'm related to and a story to attach to both of them.

After our conversation, he went on a walk, and I went on a google.  I came across his wikipedia page.  Apparently he failed to mention to me that he kicked the longest punt ever. THE LONGEST PUNT EVER!  98 YARDS!  Seriously, go to the NFL Punting Records page.  You'll find this:

Here's an awesome article on it.  Here's video of the actual kick.

It's a record that may never be broken.  You can't kick a 100-yard punt because the ball can't be spotted in the end-zone before the kick, so the max possible is a 99-yard kick.  Of course, a 99-yard punt is possible, but would actually be a worse punt, since it would be a touchback.

Here's the back of the 1973 Topps:

Of course the card is going to mention the 98-yarder.  It also mentions another record.  He held the Jets record for most punts in a season with 78 in 1971.  Unfortunately, that record was broken in 1976.

The back of the 1974 Topps card also mentions the 98-yarder, because why wouldn't it?  But, there is something else on the back of the '74 card that is way way WAY WAY more awesome.

Here, let me zoom in on that upper right corner for you:

"Steve is interested in dentistry."

Shortly after this card was produced, Steve completed dental school, retired from the NFL, and started the first of his 40 years as a dentist.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Ginter Smiles

I was cleaning out the video camera card recently and came across a series of curious still frames that caught my attention.  Our video camera will occasionally take automatic still frames when it detects a smile.  As it turns out, it can also detect smiles on cards.  As I was recording my Gint-A-Cuffs videos, it took these still frames:

Hannah Storm.  I'd say that's a high-quality smile.  Great job, camera!  Andrew Miller is not impressed.

I'll assume it focused on Steve Kerr's smile. Carl Edwards, Jr and Ryan Weber need to lighten the hell up.  LeBron is king.

Mesoraco is skeptical, and Garneau can't even look.  LA Mayor Eric Garcetti is happy as a clam, though.

Hakuna Machado!  Odorizzi has worries.

I have to say, I'm pretty damn impressed with the smile-detection technology.  Jill Martin is a great selection (Google Image Search and you're welcome)  Bonus points for Joe Morgan photobomb.

Not sure whether Rendon or Raiola triggered the camera, but I can guarantee it wasn't Kepler.

If you film it, he will smile.  And it has a picture of a video camera on it.  It's handycamception!

Yes, Kevin Pillar, I'm aware that was a stupid joke.  Either the camera thought Dwier Brown's smile was doubly good, or it was just trolling me.

Mr. Sklar (Yes I said "Mr." because I'm not sure whether that is Chico or Harpo) is kinda smiling.  Gio is definitely smiling.  As for Kilroy Bench, we may never know.

These card pictures were just a small portion of the pictures that were in the smile folder.  The vast majority were pictures of my daughter smiling, which means it was the cutest damn folder of pictures ever.  Seriously, is there anything better than stumbling upon a folder full of smiles?

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Gint-A-Cuffs VIII: Packs 21-24

Pack 21:
26 John Lackey
150 Eric Hosmer
99 Luis Severino (-1 Yankee)
11 Howie Kendrick
178 David Robertson Mini Black Border (+3 Black Border)
112 Kris Bryant
45 Laurence Leavy
335 Shawn Tolleson

Pack Total: 2
GAC Total: 96.8

Pack 22:
10 Jason Sklar
204 Drew Storen
139 Gio Gonzalez (+1 Nationals)
BL-7 Johnny Bench  Baseball Legends (+2 Insert)
100 Rob Refsnyder Mini (-1 Yankee)
82 Gerardo Parra
NG-27 Jon Lester  Numbers Game (+2 Insert)

Pack Total: 4
GAC Total: 100.8

Pack 23:
185 J.D. Martinez
249 Paul McBeth
84 Robinson Cano
222 Nomar Mazara
59 Billy Hamilton Mini A&G Back (+2 A&G Back)
157 Gerrit Cole
236 Brad Boxberger
327 Raul Mondesi

Pack Total: 2
GAC Total: 102.8

Pack 24:
4 Justin Verlander
30 Curtis Granderson
3 Joey Gallo
NW-20 Harbor of Rio de Janeiro Natural Wonders (+2 Insert)
46 Ben Revere Mini (+1 Nationals)
85 Prince Fielder
220 Matt Duffy
NG-70 Willie McCovey  Numbers Game (+2 Insert)

Pack Total: 5
GAC Total: 107.8


Whelp, that'll be good enough for middle of the pack it appears.  It seems like my GAC box is usually one of the worst boxes from the case.  May have to find a new helper to pick the box next time.

Good luck everyone!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Gint-A-Cuffs VIII: Packs 17-20

Pack 17:
284 Orlando Cepeda
134 Henry Owens
132 Leigh Steinberg
174 Frankie Montas
277 Manny Machado Mini
300 Trea Turner (+1 National)
159 Brett Gardner (-1 Yankee)
344 Ryan Zimmerman (+1 National)

Pack Total: 1
GAC Total: 77.8

Pack 18:
218 Masahiro Tanaka (-1 Yankee)
19 Rollie Fingers
86 Adam Jones
BL-10 Hank Aaron  Baseball Legends (+2 Insert)
144 Matt Holliday Mini
28 Elvis Andrus
184 Mookie Betts
NG-77 Robinson Cano  Numbers Game (+2 Insert)

Pack Total: 3
GAC Total: 80.8

Pack 19:
141 Colin Rea
69 Roberto Alomar
245 Dwier Brown
77 Kevin Pillar
NW-1 Grand Canyon Natural Wonders (+2 Insert)
FF-5 African Lion Ferocious Felines (+2 Mini Insert)
202 Missy Franklin
341 Richie Shaffer

Pack Total: 4
GAC Total: 84.8

Pack 20:
52 Adam Eaton
194 Mike Trout
135 Luis Gonzalez
322 Ryan LaMarre Mini SP (+3 SP Mini)
FSRB-HR Hanley Ramirez Full-Size Relic (+5 Full-Size Relic)
75 Mike Moustakas
NG-37 Matt Harvey  Numbers Game (+2 Insert)

Pack Total: 10
GAC Total: 94.8

That big pack at the end helped quite a bit.  My pace increased to 112.4, but with all 3 hits found, I'm not sure I have a shot.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Gint-A-Cuffs VIII: Packs 13-16

Pack 13:
262 Giancarlo Stanton
37 Dawn Spacecraft
39 Paul Goldschmidt
260 Anthony Rizzo (+2 FP List)
241 Orlando Jones Mini
175 Jonathan Schoop
104 Byron Buxton
349 Travis d'Arnaud

Pack Total: 2
GAC Total: 62.8

Pack 14:
292 Marcell Ozuna
172 Joe Morgan
248 Jill Martin
NW-10 Marble Caves Natural Wonders (+2 Insert)
288 Lance McCullers
42 Cuban Embassy
178 David Robertson
NG-84 Joey Votto  Numbers Game (+2 Insert, +2 FP List)

Pack Total: 6
GAC Total: 68.8

Pack 15:
152 Gary Sanchez (-1 Yankee)
20 Michael Pineda (-1 Yankee)
291 Kevin Kiermaier
54 Jose Abreu
SS-9 Motorcycle Subways and Streetcars (+2 Mini Insert)
183 Andrew McCutchen
211 Albert Pujols
309 Yasmany Tomas

Pack Total: 0
GAC Total: 68.8

Pack 16:
266 Anthony Rendon (+1 Nationals)
240 Robert Raiola
24 Max Kepler
BL-14 Larry Doby  Baseball Legends (+2 Insert)
346 Pablo Sandoval Mini SP (+3 SP Mini)
219 Delino DeShields
123 Alex Cobb
NG-47 Kris Bryant  Numbers Game (+2 Insert)

Pack Total: 8
GAC Total: 76.8

Well these packs were certainly up and down.  With just a third of the packs to go, I'm on pace for a 111.8.  At the time of writing this post, the leader in the clubhouse is at 114.  Need something big...

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Gint-A-Cuffs VIII: Packs 9-12

Pack 9:
246 Mike Francesa
173 Billy Burns
161 Vinny G
192 Dennis Eckersley
BL-17 Honus Wagner  Baseball Legends (+2 Insert)
281 Jose Bautista
303 Wei-Yin Chen
305 Tyler Duffey Mini Black Border SP (+7 Black Border SP)

Pack Total: 9
GAC Total: 48.8

Pack 10:
56 Carlos Correa
255 Nomar Garciaparra
239 Brandon Moss
48 J.T. Realmuto Mini
FSRA-CSA Carlos Santana Full-Size Relic (+5 Full-Size Relic)
229 Mitch Moreland
NG-22 Giancarlo Stanton  Numbers Game (+2 Insert)

Pack Total: 7
GAC Total: 55.8

Pack 11:
96 Jason Kipnis
179 Jen Welter
294 Carlos Rodon
102 Aaron Nola
151 David Ortiz Mini
51 A.J. Ramos
170 Max Scherzer (+1 Nationals)
311 Welington Castillo

Pack Total: 1
GAC Total: 56.8

Pack 12:
43 Jake Odorizzi
277 Manny Machado
9 Tom Glavine
264 Xander Bogaerts
USM-13 Tom Tait  US Mayors (+2 Mini Insert)
33 Ender Inciarte
14 Kendrys Morales
NG-17 Yasiel Puig  Numbers Game (+2 Insert)

Pack Total: 4
GAC Total: 60.8

My second hit and a rare mini have helped my pace, but I still have a long way to go.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Gint-A-Cuffs VIII: Packs 5-8

Pack 5:
189 Buster Posey
12 Trevor Story
133 Joc Pederson
259 Jose Peraza
71 Matt Reynolds Mini
164 Steven Souza Jr.
91 Nick Hundley
NG-49 Babe Ruth Numbers Game (+2 Insert, -1 Yankee)

Pack Total: 1
GAC Total: 26.8

Pack 6:
60 Devin Mesoraco
224 Gary Carter
265 Felix Hernandez
BL-2 Carl Yastrzemski  Baseball Legends (+2 Insert)
USM-29 Eric Garcetti  US Mayors (+2 Mini Insert)
79 Dustin Garneau
38 David Peralta
NG-80 Greg Maddux  Numbers Game (+2 Insert)

Pack Total: 6
GAC Total: 32.8

Pack 7:
282 Stephen Strasburg (+1 Nationals)
188 Edgar Martinez
78 Jose Berrios
105 Alex Dickerson
LP-3 Baron Philip Noel-Baker Laureates of Peace (+2 Mini Insert)
22 Francisco Rodriguez
5 Kyle Waldrop
350 Steve Carlton

Pack Total: 3
GAC Total: 35.8

Pack 8:
108 Justin Turner
285 Josh Donaldson
16 Trayce Thompson
NW-8 Aurora Borealis Natural Wonders (+2 Insert)
11 Howie Kendrick Mini
198 Ari Shaffir
117 Robin Yount
NG-36 Steve Carlton  Numbers Game (+2 Insert)

Pack Total: 4
GAC Total: 39.8

My pace has cooled a little bit.  I'm on track for a 105.8.  Gonna need more than that to win.