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Most Popular Sports for Collecting Autographs by Mail
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Posted by jaygross
Comments: 0

We asked and you all voted.


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Choosing the 1978 Topps Basketball set to get autographed
Tuesday, April 3, 2007
Posted by jaygross
Comments: 0

I love old school basketball and wanted to begin working on getting a set fully autographed from that era. About 18 months ago, I began looking at the different sets from 1969-1981 Topps to decide which one made the most sense for me to tackle.

I had a few criteria that helped decide on the 1978 set:

  1. Total number of cards (1978 only had 132)
  2. Number of deceased players (only had Pete Maravich & John Williamson - Dennis Johnson since then)
  3. Number of multi-player cards (none)
  4. Number of times a player appears on more than one card (1978 has 1 card per player and a checklist)
  5. Number of players with addresses in Harvey's list (over 50%)
  6. The price of the cards was affordable and I wouldn't hurt losing an unsigned card

While the 1975 and 1977 sets are much nicer looking, I knew I could get a higher percentage of players and the cards were fairly priced in 1978.

Below is a scan of 3 former All Stars I got back in the past week or so:

So now I have about a little less than half way finished - all but 2 I have gotten through the mail. I have many stars (like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wes Unseld, Rick Barry, Dave Bing, Bob Lanier, Dan Issel, David Thompson, Dave Cowens) and some fun names (like Marvin "the Human Eraser" Webster, Darnell "Dr Dunk" Hillman). 

One of my favortie successes was from ex-Jazz cetner Rich Kelley, who also wrote a nice note thanking me for reminding him of some really fun times when he was on the run and gun Jazz teams with Maravich.

Since then I have also casually begun collecting the 1975 Topps set and the individual panels from the 1980 Topps set. If you have any signed cards to trade from any of these 3 sets, let me know...



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It's Awesome Baby... pick the March Madness tourney winners
Monday, March 12, 2007
Posted by jaygross
Comments: 0

PicksPal is a fantasy sports betting site where well over 100,000 members bet their friends and coworkers on the outcome of sporting events (and they just launched a nifty March Madness site as well). No money changes hands, but top users can win various prizes.

It’s all for fun, but the company started selling the top picks of its best users in October. For $10, you can get the collective picks of the top 30 users on five games. The idea was that people could use these for-fun picks to win bets in Vegas. The question was, would PicksPal be able to consistently beat Vegas odds, and the spread, with these picks.

So far, yes. By a lot. PicksPal’s overall record, against the spread, has been 562-338, or a 63% win rate. In college basketball, the win rate is 66%. In pro football, 62%. They are even getting a 52% win rate in pro hockey, their worst sport. Some of the recent results can be viewed here.

PicksPal is a fascinating human experiment in predictive markets. The people making the picks (the elite users) don’t know they are doing it - they are simply making bets with their friends for bragging rights. If they did know that their picks were being used as part of an average to give advice to actual Vegas betters, they may choose games differently. Perhaps they would be more conservative, for example. If PicksPal’s win rate over the long run remains over 50% against the spread, they will begin to disrupt the betting markets.



Picks are made via an Ajax interface by clicking on the winners through to the Final Four. Once you’ve selected winners for all of the games, you can invite friends to participate as well, and create a widget showing your picks to put on a blog or social networking site. Users can also set up private leagues to compete directly with friends and office workers.

There are a number of prizes that the company is giving away each round (iPods, Nintendo DSs, Slingboxes, PS3s 37? TVs and two Mini Coopers) . If anyone you’ve invited wins any prize, you get that same prize as well.

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