The Faces Behind COMC #6 – Getting to Know our Identification Team

Welcome back to final installment of our series, “The Faces Behind COMC”. Over the course of this series, we’ve highlighted the faces and personalities of our hardworking team members who’s day-to-day efforts help ensure that our customers have the satisfactory experience they know and love in using COMC.  To close our 2018 we are featuring members of our Identification Team. Among other responsibilities, this team is primarily responsible for ensuring that all incoming items are properly cataloged into their correct set, that all attributes (such as RC, auto, etc) are applied, and that all items with incorrect data are correct. 


Rich Klein

What do you say about the man who’s been well known in the trading card industry for over 40 years? Rich was working with trading card databases and price guides long before COMC was even a concept, let alone a website! Rich is now a valuable resource and asset for the ID Team as COMC’s Catalog Maintenance Expert, having now been a member of the team for nearly two years.

Born in Hackensack, NJ, he currently resides in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. He can be found regularly writing about the hobby in his own blog series on this very blog, as well as GoGTS, and previously for Sports Collectors Daily among others. He enjoys chatting with collectors and dealers all across the hobby on a regular basis.

When not on the clock, his hobbies include reading, listening to pop music (1955-1991 or so), and relaxing with his wife and a wonderful chihuahua named Tater Tot. He maintains a large personal collection, but prefers pre-1970’s cards. He also collects autographed books. He is passionate about a DFW-area card show put on to support his local Adat Chaverim Brotherhood (Men’s Club) that was intended to be a one-off show six years, but has since blossomed into a twice-a-year function. We’ll let him tell you more about that in 2019…

Favorite sport(s): Baseball
Favorite player(s): From my youth: Jim Wynn, Cesar Cedeno and Thurman Munson
Favorite Food: A Good Steak
Favorite Musical Artist(s): Harry Chapin, Jim Croce, Donna Summer
Favorite Movie / TV Show /etc: A League of Their Own, Mary Tyler Moore Show


Darren

Having previously worked at COMC in the past, Darren rejoined the COMC Team in 2014 as a member of our Processing Team, but has since transitioned to the Identification Team. Born relatively close to COMC in Everett, WA, he’s lived all around Washington State, and is a huge supporter of his Washington State University Alumni.

He collects both a mix of vintage and modern basketball and football cards, and has recently taken to up picking up vinyl records at local garage sales and flea markets. He stays busy away from COMC with biking, reading, and spending time with his wife checking out new cheap eats (there is no shortage in Washington!), watching movies, and spending time at the dog park with their 9-year-old Shiba Inu/Beagle Mix. They also have a SIXTEEN POUND long-haired Tabby named Georgi!

Prior to joining COMC, Darren was a freelance basketball and football writer who reported primarily on various levels (preps, college, & WNBA). His work was published in the likes of The Seattle Times, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, The Associated Press, and Lindy’s Sports Annuals.

Favorite sport(s): Basketball, Football
Favorite player(s): Klay Thompson, Russell Wilson, Steve Gleason
Favorite Food: Thai
Favorite Musical Artist(s): The Dave Matthews Band, Mumford & Sons, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
Favorite Movie / TV Show /etc: The Shawshank Redemption, Good Will Hunting, Breaking Bad, SportsCenter With Scott Van Pelt
Favorite card in your collection: 1986-87 Fleer Michael Jordan RC


Charles (Ava3081 on COMC)

Our ID Team Manager Charles is one of the most well traveled members of the team, having previously lived in Northern California, South Dakota, Minnesota, Colorado, and even Germany. He joined our team nearly seven years ago, and is one of the team’s go-to sources for all things minor league and oddball.

Charles is our resident Will Clark collector and lover of all things related to the San Francisco Giants. When we say all things, we mean all things, as he has a substantial collection of minor league affiliate cards and Tokyo Yomiuri Giants as well. He also collects NFL Europe and World League American Football cards, as well as ex-USSR transit tokens, vinyl, minor league team photos, cat knick knacks, kitsch and folk art, and original artwork from friends (both good and bad!).

Away from COMC he enjoys drawing, music, and composing inappropriate limericks. He has one cat and some fish, and wanted everyone to know that he has webbed toes. He is currently singing in a band called Tolt, and he also wrote the ex-USSR section in the latest Smith’s Catalog of World Transportation Tokens (except North America).

Favorite sport(s): Baseball, curling
Favorite player(s): Will Clark, Buster Posey, Willie Mays, Lefty O’Doul, Sadaharu Oh, Shigeo Nagashima, Tetsuharu Kawakami, Satchel Paige, Ken Griffey Jr.
Favorite Food: Jägersnitzel, sushi, Persian chicken kebabs
Favorite Musical Artist(s): Faith No More, Mr. Bungle, Secret Chiefs 3, Iceburn, Into Another, Einstürzende Neubauten, Nick Cave, Tom Waits, 16 Horsepower, Oingo Boingo, Neurosis, Nuclear Assault, Ævangelist, Mitochondrion
Favorite Movie / TV Show /etc: Mystery Science Theater 3000, Rifftrax, Cinematic Titanic
Favorite card in your collection: 1988 ProCards Iowa Cubs – Cubbie Bear


Dylan (DylanJenkins on COMC)

Dylan is one of the newest members of the ID Team, having joined the COMC Team last fall. He also does freelance work in live sports production (on-air graphics and overlays) for various teams throughout the Pacific Northwest, including the Seattle Mariners. Born in Washington, he spent five years in Queens, NY while attending St. John’s University.

When not working, Dylan enjoys shooting hoops, going to the beach, sport related PC and video games, and of course opening and sorting cards. He collects Topps Heritage Baseball on an annual basis, as well as Seattle Mariners and several other niche collections (such as St. John’s alumnus, and players born in Washington State). During his senior year of high school, he competed at the state level in twp non-sports competitions – We The People, and The Knowledge Bowl.

Dylan lives in Seattle with his wife, where they enjoy watching Jeopardy and attending sports events. He admits that it’s tough to figure out how to find time to have a social life with both of them working and commuting, but that doesn’t appear to be stopping them from potentially fostering a bulldog in the future!

Favorite sport(s): Baseball, basketball, soccer
Favorite player(s): Mark McLemore, Joey Cora, D’Angelo Harrison, Matisse Thybulle, Daniel Vogelbach
Favorite Food: Chicken Parmesan, Cinnamon Rolls, basically any sweets & treats or cakes & bakes
Favorite Musical Artist(s): Bob Dylan, Iron & Wine, Death Cab for Cutie, Bon Iver


Sam

Sam is our resident gaming card identification specialist, having spent many years (decades?) prior to working at COMC collecting and playing a variety of collectible trading card games such as Yu-Gi-Oh, Pokemon, Magic, and VS System. He also collects Seattle sports swag, Mariners bobble head and pop culture memorabilia.

After over six years at COMC, he’s generally revered by his COMC colleagues as fierce competition in fantasy sports leagues year round, and is always a catalyst for striking up discussions and arguments over happenings around the landscapes of the MLB and NFL.

Away from the halls of COMC, he can be found enjoying the local music and festival scene, as well as watching sports in dive bars. You’ll never catch him with a cup or Starbucks or an umbrella in his hand. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, disc golf, chess and video games. Can you throw both a baseball and Frisbee at the same time? Sam can!

Favorite sport(s): Baseball
Favorite player(s): Felix Hernandez, Randy Johnson, and Edgar Martinez.
Favorite Food: Steak and Potatoes, Pho
Favorite Musical Artist(s): Gorillaz, Odesza, The Blue Scholars, Jimi Hendrix, & Led Zeppelin
Favorite Movie / TV Show /etc:  
Movies: The Hateful Eight, True Grit, City of God, The Departed, & Spirited Away 
TV: Breaking Bad, Daredevil, King of the Hill, One Piece, & 30 Rock.  
Books: Battle Royale, The Phantom Tollbooth, Ender’s Game/Shadow, The Hobbit, & The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
Favorite card in your collection:
Legend of Blue Eyes: 1st Edition – Swords of Revealing Light


Angela (Burgandypug on COMC)

Born in Pocatello, ID (get out your map!), Angela has lived all around Washington before setting close to COMC. She enjoys collecting Ken Griffey Jr., John L. Sullivan, John Locke, and Impractical Jokers memorabilia cards. One of the most unique pieces of her collection is a newly acquired brick from the house that Babe Ruth grew up in. She also collects Funko Pops and baseball hats.

She admits that life away from COMC is very hectic and exhausting, as she’s an Adherent for the Salvation Army, leads a Girls Scout Troop and is a registered Girl Scout herself, and also volunteers with her Son’s high school golf team and marching band. All of that, and she also takes care of one obese cat, one infuriating dog, and as she put it, “an incredibly stupid and inept frog.”

February 2019 will mark seven years that Angela has been a member of the Identification Team. She currently also serves as a specialist on the COMC Weekly Review and as a member of our Family Friendly Committee. If you’ve been following our Faces Behind COMC series, you’ll know that she is also married to COMC Sorting Team Member Chad!

Favorite sport(s): Baseball, Soccer, Football, Combat Juggling and Chess Boxing
Favorite player(s): Ken Griffey Jr – no other players exist
Favorite Food: Butter Chicken, General Tso’s Chicken, Panang Curry, Gino’s Philly Steak Sandwiches, cheesecake from the Carnegie Deli in New York, and hamburgers from the Vanderbilt Hotel in Puerto Rico
Favorite Musical Artist(s): Queen, The Killers, Johnny Cash, Lionel Richie, Pearl Jam, Young the Giant, Soundgarden, and Boyz II Men
Favorite Movie / TV Show /etc: TV: 9-1-1, Grey’s Anatomy, Big Bang Theory, Impractical Jokers, and Jeopardy; Movies: MST3000, Mac and Me, Rear Window, All Tom Hanks Movies (Even Man with One Red Shoe, which understandably sucks, but it’s Tom so it gets a pass…we’ve all made mistakes).
Favorite card in your collection: Magic Unhinged: City of Ass #134 because it reminds me of Pocatello, Idaho

Brian

Brian has been a member of the COMC ID Team for coming up on five years. Although he was born in upstate New York, he has spent his time living all around Western Washington.

When not working, you can likely find Brian enjoying the nightlife, as he’s COMC’s king of karaoke. When he doesn’t have a microphone in hand, he enjoys a more mellow lifestyle of poker, video games and movies. Although he doesn’t have any pets of his own, his roommates two dogs are basically family to him at this point.

Brian had to part with a large portion of his baseball card collection several years ago, which included a Tools of the Trade Jumbo Babe Ruth Jersey among other high-end pieces. He still loves to build sets these days, especially ones that include tough short prints. He also collects movies, bobble heads and action figures.

Favorite sport(s):  Cross up between Baseball and Football but I also enjoy WWE
Favorite player(s):  Too many of them, but Ken Griffey Jr. is way up there
Favorite Food:  Chicken
Favorite Musical Artist(s):  Chris Cornell, Linkin Park and just about anything 80s/90s.  
Favorite Movie / TV Show /etc:  Star Wars series, Game of Thrones, Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, Dexter, Seinfeld (and just about all sitcoms) 
Favorite card in your collection:  It will always be my 1989 Upper deck Griffey Rookie