I love participating in fantasy sports leagues and pick'em contests. I've nearly always in some kind of league. Right now I've got 4 fantasy baseball teams and I'm involved in 2 NASCAR leagues. It's just part of the fun of watching sports for me. The Cards on Cards blog runs quite a few contests each year for a variety of sports, including a college football bowl game pick 'em contest that draws quite a few entries each year. I enter most of the contests. Sometimes I do well, and sometimes I 'win' the last-place prize. This year I wound up winning a prize in the Cards on Cards Bowl Pick'em contest. I missed first place on points, but I got the most correct picks and that was enough for me to be announced as a winner. The Cards on Cards contests also tend to be pretty generous with the number of winners. You should probably give the blog a follow and enter some of them.
The first card out was this giant Nolan Ryan card from the 1980 Topps Superstar 5x7. This is a set I wasn't familiar with (it came out the year before I was born), so I had to do some research to figure out where it came from. It's a pretty cool piece of cardboard.
There were plenty of basketball cards among the stacks of team bags in the mailer, with a mix of new and old cards. Mostly I scanned newer cards, though. I like Dwight Howard, but it sure seems like he has a hard time being a team player. James Harden has flourished this year, with a new-look lineup based around his skills. Patrick Beverley has been a big part of the Rockets' success this year, and Sam Dekker has looked pretty good in the limited time he gets on the court. Dekker is a high-energy guy, but sometimes it seems like he is pushing too hard. I guess being a fringe bench guy would push anyone to try really hard, because you only get so many minutes to play your way into another contract.
The bulk of the package was tons and tons and tons of Houston Astros cards, taken from many different eras. I tried to scan at least one card from every set represented in the package, but I might have failed. At the very least, I tried to make sure most of the notable players got into a scan.
That Carlos Correa in the upper right corner is a Heritage Chrome parallel, numbered # 001 / 999 (the first one in the print run!). I always forget that Miguel Tejada spent time as an Astro. I always think of him as an Oriole, even though he spent more time with the A's than the Orioles. I think it's because many of his better seasons were in Baltimore, and that would have been right when I was drafting him heavily in fantasy baseball leagues.
Some of the current team's core can be found along that top row up there, with some big names from various other eras scattered throughout the scan. A.J. Reed down at the bottom is part of the convoluted mess that the Astros have at first base. He is currently getting some seasoning down at AAA.
A lot of these cards are from the time when I was out of collecting (roughly 2000-2013), so many sets that might be familiar to other collectors are new and wonderful to me. I am always jealous of people who can look at a card design and remember what year it's from. I usually have to do a little work, unless it is a product I've seen a whole lot of cards from.
These cards were in top loaders, and represent the premium cards in the package (along with that serially-numbered Heritage Correa from a few scans ago). The George Springer card is another Heritage Chrome parallel, numbered # 360 / 999. The Hunter Pence comes from the 2007 Fleer Ultra set. It's hard to believe that all the major sports just have one licensed card producer these days. I'd rather have 30 products divided among several manufacturers than 30 products put out by one card maker. But the leagues don't seem to care how I feel. That Tracy McGrady card comes from a Panini Adrenalyn XL game, and it appears to be a fancy foil card of some kind. The Luis Scola card from 2008-09 Bowman Draft Picks & Stars is pretty rare, numbered # 30 / 50. For a while he was one of the Rockets' better players, but he also got a pretty late start in the NBA and was never going to be the guy to bring them to glory. He was a pretty solid contributor, though, based on my unreliable recollection.
This was quite a prize package. I am envious of bloggers who have their lives together enough to run leagues, host contests, make frequent trades, and post excellent content. I am barely able to keep up with my posting, and my trading/sorting/contest efforts could be saddled with labels like 'unfortunate' or 'sadly lacking.' Thanks for the prize package, Kerry, and especially thank you for running so many entertaining contests! I like participating in your leagues even when I don't win.