Tag Archive | "Rickey Henderson"

Bike Spokes and Shoe Boxes – SGC Grading Service Review

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Bike Spokes and Shoe Boxes – SGC Grading Service Review

Posted on 13 March 2013 by Tim Danielson

I have already discussed the reasons to have your cards graded and cited some examples from different companies.  This week I will provide an in-depth look at the card grading service offered by Sportscard Guaranty, SGC.

SGC has long been a popular choice for card grading with collectors, especially for vintage cards.  One of the most popular features SGC offers is their detailed grading scale.  Their 1-100 scale offers accurate and consistent grading of all cards.  For collectors more comfortable with a 1-10 scale, they also offer the equivalent grade.  Other popular features SGC offers are their guarantee and unique holder.

SGC does offer several different tiers of grading fees, based on the type of card and desired turnaround time.  SGC also offers many different monthly and themed grading specials.  SGC allowed me to send in four cards under the ‘EXPRESS’ tier (10 day turnaround time) for purposes of review.  My cards were returned in six days.

When starting the on-line submission form, the first thing I noticed was that the form was buried and required lots of clicking to get to.  I did have to create an account and sign-in, but even with expecting that, the from was not right there.  The form itself is very easy to use and complete.  The form has fields to input very detailed information about the cards you are submitting and charts to calculate the service fees, return postage and insurance required to send your cards back.  There were a couple of broken links and fields that did not allow me to complete the on-line submission form though.  In the defense of SGC, at the time  of my submission, I do know that they were in the process of creating and up-loading new monthly specials which may have created the broken fields.  Collectors can hand write an invoice for cards they are submitting or request a submission form/kit.

Cards that I submitted for grading:

1980 Topps #482 Rickey Henderson RC – SGC Grade 84 – NM

Topps Henderson

This card came back graded pretty much exactly what I thought it would.  The card is just a touch off center, has one rough spot on an edge and a very small amount of fraying on one corner.  For cards from 1980 and earlier, the industry standard expects them to be in Near Mint condition.  Price guides have their high book price meant to be for cards that are Near Mint.  Vintage cards with a higher grade than Near Mint can easily command prices several times that of the high book price.

1979 TCMA Rickey Henderson Minor League card – SGC Grade 20 – Fair

TCMA Henderson

I was a little surprised at the grade assigned to this card.  The centering is comparable to the Henderson Topps RC but the edges and corners or much cleaner and in better shape.  I will admit that there is a small blue ink mark on a back corner of the card.  I thought based on the physical condition of the card, especially the front, that this would have graded in the 50′s or 60′s.  After reviewing SGC’s grading scale though this grade is accurate and consistent with the descriptions of a 20 grade.

2003 Magic the Gathering Lone Wolf Foil – SGC Grade 88 – NM/MT

Lone Wolf

One of my geeky pleasures, Magic is a collectable card game in the genre of  Yu-Gi-Oh, Pokemon, and other non-sports cards.  Magic players often put more weight on the playability of their cards rather than the collect-ability of them.  The super rare and valuable cards are usually put in a case never to see the light of day and  a “proxy” card is used to represent them in a deck.  If you actually want to play with your cards, people may just put every card of a deck into a penny sleeve and use them that way.  All this in mind though I sent in a foil version of a card in my signature deck to illustrate that SGC also grades non-sport cards.  I was pleased with the grade of this card knowing that it had been shuffled and played out of my deck a couple of times.

2008-09 Upper Deck Champs C373 Gray Wolf Mini – SGC Grade 96 – MINT

Gray Wolf

This is another non-sport card even though it was packed out in a Hockey card product.  The illustration here is that SGC grades and has holders for 206, Tobacco, and Allen & Ginter sized cards.  I selected this specific card as it was recently pulled form a pack and presumably in Mint condition.  I was correct in my assumption of a grade as this came back graded as an almost perfect example of the card.

I highly recommend SGC’s grading service for a few reasons.  SGC’s prices for both the per card grading and return postage are much more reasonable compared to other similar grading services.  I really enjoy the 100 point grading scale.  I feel this gives you a more accurate description of the condition of your cards.  Many other companies only use a 10 point scale or only use half grades like 8.5.  I absolutely love the black frame SGC puts around the card.  It really highlights your card and makes it stand out.  The very quick turn around time was a nice surprise and the customer service is top notch.  Keep an eye out for SGC’s monthly specials for submission.  Depending on the amount and type of cards you want graded, these specials can save you a few dollars.

Until next week, keep collecting, collect for the joy of the hobby and collect for the fan in all of us.


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Bike Spokes and Shoe Boxes – Beckett Grading Service Review

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Bike Spokes and Shoe Boxes – Beckett Grading Service Review

Posted on 22 February 2013 by Tim Danielson

We have already discussed reasons for having your cards professionally graded. Today we will look at the services provided by Beckett Grading.


Becket Media has long been the premier resource for collectors of sports cards.  Starting with their monthly price guide magazines, Beckett Media now offers on-line price guides, collecting forums, a safe on-line trading environment, monthly, quarterly, and yearly publications.  Beckett also offers pricing guidelines for cards, autographs, figurines and more for all sports, non-sport and entertainment cards.

Two very popular features offered by Beckett Grading are the simple but detailed grading scale and sub-grade report card.  In addition to just giving a card a grade of 8.5, Becket assigns grades to the four different attributes the card is graded on.  This way you can see that a card graded 8.5 has sub-grades of 10 for centering, 8.5 for corners, 9 for edges, and 8.5 for surface condition.  Beckett also offers the industry’s first on-time money back guarantee.  Either your cards are returned to you on time or you get a refund on the grading services.  Other features offered by Beckett grading can be viewed here.

When staring a submission to Beckett grading collectors have several different options to chose form.  They offer standard grading and encapsulation, vintage card grading for pre-1981 cards, an economical Collector’s Club Grading and a raw card review.  Details and pricing of each can be viewed here.  Both the on-line and printable submission form are very easy to use and understand.  As with other companies, Beckett offers several different tiers of turn around time at varying costs and monthly specials.  Beckett allowed me to send in four cards at the 5-day service level.  My cards were returned in exactly five business days from the date Beckett received them.

Cards that I submitted for grading:

1980 Topps #482 Rickey Henderson RC – Beckett Vintage Grading  7.5 Near Mint+

Beckett wolf 1

This card came back pretty much what I expected it would.  I was hoping for an 8 based on my comparison to other graded Henderson RC cards I have seen.  After reviewing Beckett’s grading scale, the grade this card received is very consistent with the guidelines they have established.  I was a little disappointed that the vintage grading did not include the sub-grades for the different card attributes.  These are not included on any vintage graded cards, but it still would have been nice to know these sub-grades.

2009 Americana Stars Material Gold Proofs #1 Jackie Chan #/25 – Beckett Grading 8.5 NM-MT+

Beckett wolf 2

This card has sub-grades of 10 for centering, 8.5 for corners, 9 for edges, and 8.5 for surface.  This card received the grade that I thought it would.  I submitted this card to show that Beckett also grades memorabilia cards.  I was very pleased to see that the thicker memorabilia card was placed into the same thickness holders as the rest of the cards.  The recessed area inside the holder is just deeper to allow for the thicker card without adding thickness to the holder itself.  From the side though you can see where the inner sleeve is separating on the edges.

1997 Magic the Gathering 5th Edition Wyluli Wolf  (Rare)- Beckett Grading 8 NM-MT

Beckett Chan

One of my geeky pleasures, Magic is a collectable card game in the genre of  Yu-Gi-Oh, Pokemon, and other non-sports cards.  Magic players often put more weight on the playability of their cards rather than the collect-ability of them.  The super rare and valuable cards are usually put in a case never to see the light of day and  a “proxy” card is used to represent them in a deck.  If you actually want to play with your cards, people may just put every card of a deck into a penny sleeve and use them that way.  All this in mind though I submitted this card to illustrate that Beckett also grades non-sport cards.  This card received sub-grades of 9.5, 7.5, 9, and 8.5.  I was impressed that Beckett was able to identify not only the edition this card is, but also the rarity.

2010 Topps Allen & Ginter Mini National Animals #NA26 Gray Wolf – Beckett Grading 9.5 Gem Mint

Beckett Henderson

Receiving sub-grades of 10, 9.5, 9.5, and 9.5, this is practically a prefect example of this card.  I was very pleased as this came back graded a little higher than I thought it would.  For collectors and dealers looking to flip and make money off their graded cards, grades of 9, 9.5, and 10 often command higher premiums.  The illustration here is that Beckett grades and has holders for 206, Tobacco, and Allen & Ginter sized cards.

Beckett has many strong points for collectors to consider when shopping for a grading service.  From the very beginning both the on-line and printable submission forms are among the easiest I have used.  I was able to track the status of my submission with e-mail updates of when Beckett received, graded and shipped my cards.  I was actually able to log in and view the grades before they were shipped.  In my opinion the two best features of Beckett grading services are the sub-grades and color coded labels.  The sub-grades printed on the front of the label sticker give much more detailed information about your card.  The highest graded cards, 9.5 and 10 receive a gold colored label and 8.5 and 9 grades receive a silver label.  All other grades have a white label.  This makes for easy identification of the highest graded cards.  Compared to other services, Beckett’s holders appear to me to be a little less secure.  The holders are nested and stack-able.  Thicker memorabilia cards do not require thicker holders which is nice.  Three of my four cards all had damage to the bottom left corner of the holders though.  This damage is visible in the pictures above.  The Allen and Ginter card which received the highest grade suffered the most damage, compromising the seal of the holder itself.  I assume that this damage occurred in shipping  as the damage is all on the same corner.  Dealers who pay for insurance will not want to receive a Gem Mint card in a cracked holder.  For collectors who plan to keep their cards will enjoy the ease of use, service and features offered by Beckett Grading services.

Until next week, keep collecting, collect for the joy of the hobby and collect for the fan in all of us.


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Stolen Base Champion Passes Away

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Stolen Base Champion Passes Away

Posted on 21 February 2013 by Bill Ivie

Pop quiz: Who holds the record for most stolen bases in a professional baseball season, ranks second among all professional base stealers, and averaged 150 stolen bases a season?

If you answered Rickey Henderson, you couldn’t be more wrong.

Her name is Sophie Kurys (pronounced “curries”).  A young woman from Flint, Michigan, she was a founding member of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League and a second baseman for the Racine Belles.


Kurys signed her first contract, for $50 a week, one day shy of her 18th birthday.

Kurys would play for eight seasons for the Belles, including rejoining them a year after they left Racine and moved to Battle Creek.  Her best season would come in 1946 when she was named player of the year after gathering 215 hits and stealing 201 bases in 203 attempts, a professional record that still stands today.  She would hit .286 that season with a .434 on base percentage, score 117 runs, walk 93 times and collect a .973 fielding percentage, leading the league in each category.  Her walks and fielding percentage marks in 1946 would go down as league records.

She wasn’t done with just the regular season, though.  She would lead all hitters in the post-season that year and have one of the most amazing games in professional baseball history in the sixth and deciding game of the league championship.

The game itself was a bit of an enigma   Carolyn Morris, the Rockford ace, had thrown a no-hitter through nine innings before surrendering the first hit of the game in the 10th.  Meanwhile, Racine’s pitcher, Joanne Winter allowed 19 base runners through 14 innings, stranding them all.  The game had gone 14 innings without a run, despite Kurys four stolen bases up to that point.  She would single and steal her fifth base of the game in the bottom of the 14th inning, putting her at second base with Betty Trezza, her double play partner and shortstop for Racine, at the plate.

As Kurys broke for third as Trezza singled through the right side.  As the throw came home from right field, Kurys would hook slide around the catcher’s tag and provide Racine with the 1946 championship.  It was easy to see that the young lady had earned the nickname “Flint Flash”.

“A hook slide away from the tag by a player wearing a skirt – how about that?  Sophie was certainly one of our best,” stated Lois Youngen, former AAGPBL Players Association President.

Many managers and players credit Kurys for her ability to read a pitcher and her attention to the detail for her base stealing prowess.  While she was certainly fast, she would get an incredible jump off the pitcher and was a “master of the slide”.

She played her first few years in the league as the clean up hitter for the team but new manager Leo Murphy, who took over the reigns of the Belles in 1945, identified her base running abilities and moved her to the leadoff spot where she flourished for her team.

She would finish her career with 1,114 stolen bases.  That mark would stand as a professional record until Rickey Henderson would eventually surpass her, finishing his career with 1,406.  Her 201 stolen bases in 1946 remains a record in professional baseball today.  She would also steal 166, 142, 172, and 137 bases in a season during her career, all more than Henderson’s modern-era record of 130 and three of which were higher than Hugh Nicol‘s 1887 total of 138.

Kurys passed away on February 17, 2013 at the age of 87 years old in Scottsdale, Arizona due to surgical complications.

Read more about Sophie in this comprehensive article, Playing Hardball In The All-American League at aagpbl.org

Bill Ivie is the editor here at Full Spectrum Baseball
Follow him on Twitter here.

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Bike Spokes and Shoe Boxes – PSA Grading Service Review

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Bike Spokes and Shoe Boxes – PSA Grading Service Review

Posted on 20 February 2013 by Tim Danielson

Continuing with my series of card grading services, this week we look PSA.


Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA) is the largest and most trusted third-party grading and authentication company in the world. PSA is the preferred choice of collectors, dealers and auction houses worldwide. PSA has processed over 16 million cards and collectibles with a cumulative declared value of nearly a billion dollars.

Founded by PSA in 1998 in response to widespread counterfeiting, forgery and piracy of autographed collectibles, PSA/DNA is the world’s leading third-party authentication service for autographs and memorabilia.


Cards that I submitted for grading:

1980 Topps #482 Rickey Henderson RC – PSA Grade 7 NM

1982 Granny Goose #35 Rickey Henderson – PSA Grade 7 NM

1990 Score McDonald’s #5 Rickey Henderson – PSA Grade 7 NM


I will admit that some of the cards I submitted for grading I was hoping I would stump the researchers at PSA.  These were some of the easier ones though.  The 1980 Topps Rickey Henderson RC is one of the cornerstone cards to own from the 1980′s.  Common printing problems from the early 1980′s include off centering, printing marks and rough edges.  This Rickey Henderson RC card has evidence of all three.  I am surprised with a grade of 7.  Compared to other graded Rickey Henderson RC cards I have witnessed I was expecting a grade of 6.  Possibly a little challenging was the 1982 Granny Goose Henderson card.  This is a good example of a regional food issue card.  Cards in this set were distributed on the west cost in potato chip packaging.  The centering is better than on the Henderson RC card but still a little off center.  There is also some yellowing on the card.  I was expecting a 7 and satisfied that my suspicions were verified.  The 1990 Score McDonald’s is another example of a regional food issue.  These cards were available only in select Iowa McDonald’s locations.  To my untrained eye this card looks pretty good, perfect centering, sharp edges, good eye appeal.  There is a little fuzzing on one of the corners.  I was expecting a grade of 8.  Upon closer inspection, it appears that the corners are a little more damaged than I thought.  Still a nice grade, I am happy to have it protected from further damage because of how rare it is.

1910 E29 Philadelphia Carmel Zoo Animals, Wolf – PSA Grade 1 Poor

1937 Ogden’s LTD Zoo Studies, Wolves – PSA Grade 5 EX

1937 Gallaher LTD Wild Animals, The Wolf – PSA Grade 6.5 EX-MT+

1978 Brooke Bond & Co., Vanishing Wildlife, Wolf – PSA Grade 6 EX-MT


My next few cards I submitted I hoped would prove more difficult to identify but the research team at PSA was up to the challenge.  Pre World War Two tobacco cards are very popular.  Some of the highest realized auction prices of graded cards have been of sports figures from this era.  Maybe slightly less popular are other subjects and themes on tobacco cards.  The 1910 card deserved the grade of 1  besides the very obvious layering of all four corners, there are three pin holes in the top of the card.  The 1937 Ogden’s card has really great eye appeal and looks very clean.  It is very slightly off-center from the top to the bottom of the picture.  I thought the card would be graded a 6.  The corners are not noticeably bad to me.  Inks, papers and printing techniques have changed in the past 85 years and PSA grades accordingly.  This is the one card I do not quite understand the reason for the grade.  The 1937 Gallaher was graded just as I though it would.  To me this card actually has one worse corner than the Ogden card.  I am very happy with the grade this card did get however.  I thought the 1978 wolf card would grade at a 6 or 7  The physical characteristics of the card look alright but there is some yellowing on the card.  Overall I am pleased with the grades of these vintage cards and like the inserts for the tobacco sized cards compared to regular sized cards.

2011 Goodwin Champions, Animal Kingdom Patches, Timber Wolf – PSA Grade 8 Nr-Mt


I knew that this card would not be difficult to identify, but submitted it to illustrate that PSA will grade memorabilia style cards.  What I did not expect was the awesome display encapsulation case the card was put in!  I did not even know that such holders existed.  The card itself graded exactly like I thought it would.  I just love the holder though.  The recessed holder actually sits 1/2 inch tall.  The arrowhead corner protection design not only provides superior card protection, but make the card pop as well.  This card is now a centerpiece on my desk.

1999 Wizards of the Cost, Magic the Gathering (MTG) Portal Three Kingdoms (P3K), Wolf Pack (Japanese version) – Not Graded

2007 Nintendo Legend of Zelda, Twilight Princess, Wolf Link Gold G6 – Not Graded


I actually thought these cards would have been easier to grade than the vintage cards.  I know PSA does grade MTG cards, however the foreign language may have disqualified it.  Modern non-sport and entertainment cards can sometimes be the hardest to identify.  The sheer number of card sets produced and the lack of checklists add to this problem.  The gold foil chase cards from the Twilight princess are very rare and can command a premium in on-line auctions.  Do not fret though collectors.  If you submit cards that PSA is unable to grade you will receive vouchers for future submissions.  It will help to check out their website however for a list of cards that PSA will and will not grade.

PSA is the most popular grading service for several reasons.  PSA has been around longer than other grading service.  They have graded a larger volume of and realized a larger dollar amount of graded cards and memorabilia then others.  These reasons make PSA the most trusted and recognized name in the hobby.  Just walk around a card show or search an on-line auction site.  The total number of PSA graded cards is greater than all of the cards graded by other companies combined.  This is especially true with vintage cards.  I have seen entire sets of cards all graded and encased by PSA.  I really like the holders used by PSA.  They are much thinner than other companies holders and in fact seem to by much more sturdier.  PSA’s website is nicely laid out and very easy to use.  There is a wealth of resources available from a graded price guide, population reports, card registry, caparisons of card values before and after PSA grading and even an introduction to third party grading a “collecting 101.”  The customer service was good with e-mail updates of when they received my cards, when the grades were available to view on-line and when they shipped my cards.  Being the most popular and arguably the best comes at a cost though, for customers.  PSA does have some of the highest submission prices.  Unless you are like me and are going to keep your cards no matter what, single and small quantity card submissions can add up quickly.  For dealers looking to flip cards for profit or groups of collectors working together, PSA is the industry standard.  PSA does offer monthly and themed grading special which offer some savings.  I do recommend PSA/DNA services for everyone.  Depending on what and why you collect though will determine if the cost is worth the benefit.

Until next week, keep collecting, collect for the joy of the hobby and collect for the fan in all of us.

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Bike Spokes and Shoe Boxes – Free Stuff!

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Bike Spokes and Shoe Boxes – Free Stuff!

Posted on 05 December 2012 by Tim Danielson

OK, well not exactly free, but this week I will look at two very inexpensive ways to start and add to your collection.

For many collectors part of the joy of the hobby is getting cards and packages in the mail. Really, I mean who likes getting junk mail and bills? Requesting both “Team Fan Packs” and “Through the Mail” (TTM) autographs adds to your collection, gets you cool stuff in the mail and will only run you a couple of postage stamps. Every Major League team and several Minor League clubs have available items that are called “Fan Packs.” The packs will vary from team to team and year to year. A simple letter to the team’s home office requesting a Fan pack will net you something. One very important rule to remember though is that you MUST include a Self Addressed Stamped Envelope (SASE). Without a SASE you will get nothing. I usually receive a pocket schedule, a refrigerator magnet, a couple of stickers, or a pre-printed autograph card of a team player. Most of the teams I have contacted stuff the SASE as full as they can. A couple of teams have really gone the extra mile in their Fan Packs however. The Oakland A’s, New York Yankees and San Diego Padres all sent back large envelopes or a small box for their fan packs. I received official team magazines, season programs, post cards and small figurines or other left over stadium give-a-ways form the clubs above. The Padres even returned my original SASE. Please remember that past Fan Pack request success does not guarantee future success.

Most people who watch baseball wish to get an autograph of there favorite player. There are two very large and free databases available where you can get address of players who will sign and return your cards. A lot of collectors have success sending cards to a teams home or spring training stadiums. I have also had some success that way, but it is largely hit-and-miss. The player addresses databases available at The Bench and Sports Card Forum are maintained, updated, and often list the wait time to get your cards back. Some of the addresses are to a players corporate or business address, but there are a lot of home and personal addresses listed as well. There are a couple of players who will sign if you include a small donation to their charity, but those are listed in the database.

The most important thing to remember when requesting either Fan Packs or TTM autographs is to keep your letter short and polite. Use “please” and ‘thank you.” Also remember to include a Self Addressed Stamped Envelope. If it takes a player more than a minute to read your letter, sign the card and seal it back up again, your chances of getting anything back are greatly reduced.

Until next week, keep collecting, collect for the joy of the hobby and collect for the fan in all of us.

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