We have a new member of the Firehand Break Team, and his name is Ryan. Although many of you have never met him, he knows most of you all by first and last name already. Ryan has been a member of the Firehand crew for many years now, working in the sorting and shipping department. Starting on Sunday 1/7/18 he will be hosting breaks every Sunday.
We sat down with Ryan and asked him some questions so you all could get to know him a little better before he starts ripping your wax.
How long have you been involved in the sports card business?
My mom bought my first packs of cards when I was five years old, 1988 Topps baseball. Back then, you could actually chew the gum that came out of those packs! But it became more serious for me when Upper Deck first produced hockey cards in 1990. One of my first jobs while I was still in high school was shipping cards out for a guy I knew from my local card shop. He ran a website selling cards that pre-dated Beckett and COMC’s rise so I got a great education on the shipping and receiving side of the business. Later, we integrated our inventory into Beckett and ran his Beckett store for several more years. Today, I still have a wide variety of sets and singles in my personal collection, 27+ years later.
For the last three years, I have worked behind the scenes on a part-time basis for Firehand Cards, spending my Saturdays sorting breaks and shipping out your orders. I have a lot of fun getting up early every week and seeing all the great stuff we pull for our customers!
Good stuff. What are some of your favorite all-time sets?
That 1990-91 Upper Deck hockey set always holds a little spot for me. But by far my favorite set is 1996-97 SPx hockey. I still have a complete master set, including the Wayne Gretzky case hit autograph. Right behind that set is 1998 E-X2001 football. Such as great year with four rookie cards of guys with hall of fame credentials (Peyton Manning, Randy Moss, Charles Woodson, Fred Taylor). I still love a lot of stuff from the ‘90s, when card companies had to be more creative with designs to compete with each other, as autograph and relic cards were still in their adolescence as far as driving the hobby like they do today.
Okay old man Ryan, enough about reminiscing over Ghost of Trading Cards Past, what about your favorite current products?
I think that Panini has done a great job with some of their college releases, as an occasional set builder, I like Contenders Draft Picks. I believe Immaculate is a great looking brand. In baseball, you can’t go wrong with Topps Chrome in my opinion. I built Upper Deck hockey sets for a lot of years, that is always a solid if not spectacular product.
Who are your favorite teams?
Los Angeles Kings, Jacksonville Jaguars, Manchester United FC
What about your personal collection as it stands now? Any favorites to share?
Well, that aforementioned 1996-97 SPx hockey to start, or as my mom has called them, “belt buckles.” If you have seen those cards, you’ll likely agree with her. I have some LA Kings autographs, my most unique probably is the Jonathan Quick patch autograph that came out of 2012-13 Immaculate basketball. I have a lot of Jaguars stuff including a complete run of Fred Taylor RCs (my all-time favorite Jaguar). I went to the same high school as Mr. PED’s, Ryan Braun, so I have some stuff of his as well, including a signed, game used bat. I don’t own too much basketball, but I have a complete run of Dirk Nowitzki RCs. I also have a PC of Stacy Lewis cards too (LPGA golfer).
Outside of the business, what do you do in your free time?
Sports related, I like to get out to LA Kings games when possible (I go to about 8-10 games a year). I attend one golf event a year (the LPGA Kia Classic in Carlsbad, CA) and a few Dodger games. If the Jaguars are playing somewhere close to Los Angeles, I will travel to see them too.
If I am not going to a sporting event, I’ll be catching up on my television shows, working on improving my solve time on my Rubik’s cubes (I can solve all sizes up to a 7×7 cube) or watching Chad break product on YouTube.
Currently single, have two younger brothers in their early 20s.
How can we follow you on social media?
I am looking forward to my expanded role here at Firehand cards and interacting with all of you. Best of luck to our customers in the breaks. Thank you for your continued support!