The Beckett Blog

***NOW CLOSED*** FREE STUFF FRIDAY (7-16) Contest No. 6 — A Ryan Grant 2010 Donruss Elite Prime Targets game-used patch card (only 50 exist) by Chris Olds

We’re back with another Free Stuff Friday — our weekly ritual where we try and get some cool stuff into the hands of our readers just for answering some simple card-related trivia.

How can you win? Follow the directions below and answer the questions below in a comment right here …  it’s that simple.

Tips: Don’t try stuffing the comments box — it’s one try per person per contest and we’ll check IP addresses — and make sure to include your name and email address so you can be contacted if you win.

Get the question(s) after the jump …

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Absolutely Favre by ejahnke

Check this little gem out Jets fans…the first Jets Favre cards are coming soon!

Look for these in 2008 Absolute Memorabilia to be out early September–thanks to the Donruss guys for passing that over.  They actually halted production of 2008 Absolute Memorabilia to get this card into the retail boxes to be sold at places like Target and Wal-Mart.

The hobby boxes will not have this version of Favre in it, as they are already packed out and ready for distribution.

Donruss sent a photographer to the press conference to be able to make this card.

Favre is replacing Kellen Clemens on the field, and in 2008 Absolute Memorabilia.  Clemens’ card (#101) is being replaced by the Favre card in the retail product, which will make the Favre card the least-common of the common cards in the set (SP).

NFL Playoffs Chat by Matthew P. Brumley
January 7, 2008, 10:42 am
Filed under: NFL | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

After a fairly predictable Week One of the NFL playoffs, the winners from this past weekend will soon get their chances at the elite teams that earned first round byes.  There are some very intriguing matchups this upcoming weekend:

Seahawks at Packers

As I think about this matchup, only one thing really comes to mind — the humorous memory of the 2004 playoff matchup between these two teams in which Matt Hasselbeck emphatically proclaimed [after Seattle won the coin toss to begin overtime], “We want the ball and we’re going to score!” [before promptly throwing an interception that Green Bay returned for a touchdown to win the game].  I’ll take the Packers again, in another close one.  Brumley’s Pick: Packers, 27-21.

Jaguars at Patriots

The undefeated Patriots have all of the pressure on them in the playoffs this year.  A perfect regular season would be greatly diminished with a postseason loss.  The Jaguars will get their chance to knock out heavily favored New England as they take jabs with their two-headed RB monster (Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew) against what, to me, is a beatable Patriots defense.  If the Jacksonville defense can put together a few stops against the Pats’ [arguably] unstoppable offense, I see this as a huge upset waiting to happen.  Brumley’s Pick: Jaguars, 34-28.

Chargers at Colts

With a sprained toe that knocked him out of yesterday’s game against the Titans, Antonio Gates is questionable for the upcoming matchup with the Colts.  It would be a huge blow to San Diego’s attack if he’s not able to play.  Also, is it just me, or does Philip Rivers look like he’s closer to mentally imploding each week?  I think this will be the one easily decided game of the week as the champs march on.  Brumley’s Pick: Colts, 34-13. 

Giants at Cowboys

Fans here in Dallas better hope Jessica Simpson doesn’t show up for this one.  The Cowboys won both of their meetings against the NFC East rival Giants in the regular season.  It’s pretty tough to beat a good team 3 times in one season, and it gets even more difficult without knowing if your most explosive playmaker will be able to play at 100%, or even at all.  I think the banged up Cowboys can still hold off the Giants.  Brumley’s Pick: Cowboys, 31-24.

Who do you pick for these exciting games?

The First Baseball Card Dealer by Pepper Hastings

Larry Fritsch and I used to talk mostly about cranberries, not baseball cards. Despite living in Texas, I made two pilgrimages to the woods in Central Wisconsin to visit with Fritsch, the world’s first full-time baseball card dealer.

Fritsch, 71, passed away over the cranberry_bog_100.jpgweekend. I’d like to think he was wearing his “Fritsch Cards” gimme hat and plaid shirt all the way to the end.

Fritsch was a wonderful man with which to converse. He was an avid Packers fan, an overall football kind of guy. He loved to talk about different kinds of trees and about the weather. And cranberries — Fritsch loved to describe how the local fields are flooded every fall, floating the tiny fruit off the ground and into the bogs, where the berries are skimmed from the water and processed for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner trimmings.

Fritsch and his progeny helped drive amateur sports in Stevens Point. His son, Jeff, and his grandchildren all contributed to the success of local prep sports teams over the years. A fabric in the community, his portrait should hang in Applebee’s just east of US 51, which is what the locals call I-39.

OK, so what about Fritsch’s collection? Yes, I’ve seen it. Yes, I’ve been in the vault and have walked the warehouses with Fritsch. No, I won’t describe it here because 60 million cards has a certain mystique about it. It defies description, really.

Let’s leave it this way. Larry Fritsch and his business, as Jim Beckett once said, was one of the Seven Wonders of the Sports Collecting World. (Note to self: Ask Dr. Beckett about the other six.) Fritsch had two of about everything except the Wagner, and isn’t one enough, after all?

Grading? Grading’s for wimps, said Larry in so many words, who’s old school condition guide was good enough for most of his mail order clients for nearly 50 years.

My last trip to Stevens Point was around 2004, and as always, there was Larry and crew back in the woods, taking phone calls, filling orders, sorting cards. Larry handed most of the day-to-day to Jeff by then, leaving Larry time to show me his three complete sets of 1908 Rose Company Postcards and explain to me why the temperature could be down to 15 below that night, but nobody worried about pipes bursting in the ground.

“They set them a lot deeper here than they do in Texas,” he laughed when I voiced concern about his house. “You worry too much. Want to see the Plank?”

— Pepper Hastings

Rick Romo? by shootpar
November 30, 2007, 11:49 am
Filed under: NFL | Tags: , ,

Yes, that was what Bryant Gumbel called Tony, in introducing the Wendy’s..uhhh…Home Depot NFL Network Post-Game Show. It was the last of dozens of brutal mistakes made by Gumbel during last night’s Cowboys-Packers telecast.

Not a problem really, it was just another game…OF THE CENTURY.

Bryant is one of the most overrated and arrogant sportscasters of all time. He should take a lesson from his understated, steady brother, Greg, on how to prepare for a game.

In our ever-changing sports environment that now relies so heavily on forced entertainment and production presentation, we are losing the art of play-by-play. There are still some great ones hanging on, but the “the good old days” really are loaded with the talent that most of today’s prime announcers can not hold a mike to.

Here is my own personal all-time Top 10 list of play-by-play broadcasters.

1. Verne Lundquist – from the Cowboys in the ’70s-’80s, to two of golf’s most famous calls (“Yes Sir!!” as Nicklaus drains a birdie at 17 en route to winning his sixth green jacket at Augusta & “In your life have you ever seen anything like that?” on Tiger’s amazing chip-in at 16 in the 2005 Masters) to the most entertaining college football coverage on CBS’s SEC coverage.

2. Vin Scully – the poet laureate of sportscasters

3. Curt Gowdy – the Voice of TV sports in the ’60s and ’70s

4. Mark Holtz – the voice of the Texas Rangers who died too young

5. Frank Glieber – another golden voice that died too young

6. Harry Carey – HOLY COW!

7. Ray Scott – The voice of the Packers

8. Chris Schenkel – brought us all the “color and pageantry of college football”

9. Charlie Jones – another do-it-all network pro and another former WFAA sportscaster

10. Jim Nantz – hello friends

Got one of your own to add to the list? Let’s hear from you.

 It would do a lot of good for most of today’s golden throats to go back and check the tape. Are you listening Bryant? Josh Lewin?