Thursday, May 21, 2015

This Blog is Seven Years Old??! Well Happy Anniversary!!!

While sitting here in front of the computer this morning, it occurred to me.

It's May 21, 2015.

I've been busy with work and we're due for a three-day weekend soon.

But there's one thing I forgot to do and I want to get this out of the way before the end of the month.

On May 8, 2008, after years of reading message boards and then discovering that there are these websites written by collectors called blogs, I decided to create one of my own. And for the last seven years, through good times and those not so good, this blog has become one of the best outlets I have ever found to share and grow my collection of Topps baseball cards.

When I started, I had an official count of 38,749 cards in my collection. That number has more than doubled. But I lost count, so I am in the process of doing a card census in an attempt to re-connect with the cards that have been in carefully placed in binders and may not have seen the light of day in a while.

In seven years, the Hobby Blogging Community has grown exponentially. There have been some lean times as many of the bloggers that were around when I started have either left, moved onto other mediums, or update their pages as often as I do (which if you still come here every so often is few and far between...and I apologize). But I am so happy for those who have kept their voices strong and continually surprise us readers with unique points of view on their own forums and pages and will continue to support them while happily discovering new writers and blogs that talk about our shared Hobby.

Now, just like the Hobby, this blog has evolved. While I might not get back to posting random cards of the day like I used to, I would like to make a better effort of getting back to posting on a more frequent basis. I've made this promise many times on many of my posts but have found less time to keep this commitment. It is my hope that as soon as I am able to get my work priorities in order (and I'm almost me), I will be able to put more energy into my writing, and do more to promote this Hobby in my small part of cyberspace.

I would like to thank those that have loyally followed this blog through the boom and bust periods (there are people who still read this blog, right?). Thank you to those who continue to share their points of view here and on their own sites and on other forms of social media. Thank you for reading what I've had to say. As long as I am collecting (and I don't plan on stopping any time soon), I will continue to write about the cards that matter to me and the cards that are part of my ever-growing collection (which in 2015 will include the eponymous Series 2 and Update sets, Gypsy Queen, Allen & Ginter's, and the 32 retail team sets).

Year seven on this humble, little blog may have started slowly, but better times are ahead.

Until then, Happy Anniversary to bdj610's Topps Baseball Card Blog!!!

(the words to the song for those who either can't access the video, or for those who are deaf or hard-of-hearing)

(Gioacchino Rossini; arr. William Hanna / Joseph Barbera)
Practically a restaurant standard, most people don't realize that these lyrics, to the tune of "The William Tell Overture", were written by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera for the episode titled "The Hot Piano".

Happy Anniversary
Happy Anniversary
Happy Anniversary
Haaappy Anniversary

Pour a cheerful toast and fill it
Happy Anniversary
But be careful you don't spill it
Happy Anniversary

Ooooo Happy Anniversary
Happy Anniversary
Happy Anniversary
Haaappy Anniversary

(Fred and Wilma Talking)

Ooooo Happy Anniversary
Happy Anniversary
Happy Anniversary
Haaappy Anniversary

(Fred Talking)

Happy she and happy he
They're both as happy as can be
Celebrating merrily
their happy anniversary

(Fred and Wilma Talking)

Ooooo Happy Anniversary
Happy Anniversary
Happy Anniversary
Haaappy Anniversary

(Fred Talking)

Ooooo Happy Anniversary
Happy Anniversary
Happy Anniversary
Haaappy Anniversary

We now state emphatically
its happy anniversary
Not another day could be
a happy anniversary

Ooooo Happy Anniversary
Happy Anniversary
Happy Anniversary
Happy (slow)
Happy (slow)
Happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy (fast) Anniversary!!!

And may our collections grow today, tomorrow, and forever more!!!


JayBee Anama

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Ichiro is Back on Topps!!!

It looks like whatever deal Ichiro Suzuki had with that rogue card company is now over.

In 2013, many collectors (myself included) noticed that a certain recently traded Yankees player was not in any of the Topps products the company brought to the masses. He didn't appear on any checklists, he didn't appear in the eponymous set, the team set, not even those Topps Chipz. Unusual enough that Topps was excluding a Yankee player, but it was Ichiro.


The last time we saw this guy on a Topps card (not including the SP, or the Heritage High Numbers) was in 2012 Topps Update Series.

2012 Topps Update Series Ichiro #US272A

And that was it.

Okay, I'm wrong. He showed up in those Topps Qubi things in 2013)

If you wanted your Ichiro fix, you'd have to buy cards from those other card companies (shudder). But if you're a die-hard Topps fan, there was nothing for you.  You were out.

Until now.

I saw this on Facebook yesterday, and thought, "This has to be a mock-up. No way is this real!"

It's a picture of an autograph card for 2015 Topps Allen & Ginter's. It includes an image of Ichiro, and an autograph (is that really his auto???).

There were some red flags raised, which made me question its authenticity:
  • It's of Ichiro in a Mariners' jersey. Isn't he with the Marlins now?
  • It's an autograph. I didn't see (at the time) any news of Ichiro signing an autograph deal with Topps
  • I knew that Ichiro was in a long-term deal with Leaf, which was probably why he vanished from Topps products these last two-plus years.
But then today, I'm reading the Twitter feed and see this (and if you can't see the images, the actual line is below):

Topps Company @toppscards: Topps to issue its first autographed cards of Ichiro!

Topps Company @toppscards: Ichiro will also have autographed card of him featured with the *Yankees and @Marlins in 2015 Topps Allen & Ginter.

Well, it's official.

It looks like Ichiro has finally come back to Topps. Along with Allen & Ginter's, will we see a Marlins card of Mr. Suzuki any time soon? Will he be in Series 2? Update Series? Archives?

Better question: Will Topps be making "retro" cards of Ichiro from his Yankees days (2013, 2014)?

Regardless of when he makes his return to a Topps base card, It's about time.

Now, about that Matt Wieters guy...


JayBee Anama

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Once Again, I Return on the Fifth of May After a Month Away

If you're looking for me, I've found myself on my own sojourn. Just like last year, April turned into a busy month. But unlike last year, the Cubs are doing well (a winning April for the first time in years). The White Sox? Not so much.

I'll tell you though, I had a feeling this was going to happen with the White Sox.  I mean think about it. The last Chicago team added an All-Star outfielder, an All-Star pitcher, and a lights out All-Star closer at the same time?

The 1991 Chicago Cubs (George Bell, Danny Jackson, Dave Smith).

Remember how well they did in 1991? Of course you do (77-83, 4th place NL East).

Anyway, it's Cinco de Mayo!!!

¡Ah! ¡Cinco de Mayo!

While everyone celebrates with margaritas, tacos, and all that great Mexican food, let's take a quick moment and review what Cinco de Mayo is.

According to Wikipedia:

"It celebrates the day back in 1862 when the Mexican army overcame all odds and beat the French forces at the Battle of Puebla. This is not Mexico's Independence day (that would be September 16), nor is it a national holiday (it is celebrated voluntarily), outside of Mexico. But in the United States, Cinco de Mayo is a day to honor Mexican heritage and pride."

In 2009, I created an All-Star Team that consisted of native-born Mexican baseball players. Yes, there are many players of Mexican descent in baseball, but these guys were born en los Estados Unidos Mexicanos (and before you send me nasty letters, this is the formal name of the country). As of May 4, 2015, 116 players can claim Mexico as their birth place. Two of them recently made their MLB debut as a matter of fact.

2014 Topps Pro Debut Roberto Osuna #32

Roberto Osuna (from Juan Jose Rios, Sinaloa) made his MLB debut with the Toronto Blue Jays on April 8 against the Yankees, entering the eighth inning as the third of three relievers in the inning. He struck out the first batter he faced, Alex Rodriguez, and induced Stephen Drew to fly out to right, ending the inning (the Blue Jays eventually lost the game 4-3). Born on  February 7, 1995 (that's right...feel old now people!!!), he is the youngest player in the Major Leagues (also the only player born in 1995). The card you see above is the second of two Pro Debut cards of Osuna. His first Topps Pro Debut card came in 2013.

Arnold Leon (from Culiacan, Sinaloa) debuted for the Oakland Athletics on April 22 versus the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. He entered the ninth inning against the Halos, the third of three pitchers that night, and allowed one run on two hits in what would be a 9-2 win over the Halos. No Topps cards yet to speak of...yet.

After consecutive years of taco night here at home, we're having a simple dinner of quesadillas and Mexican rice and beans. Figures, we're going against the grain of Taco Tuesday, but that's what my wife and I had for lunch.

I (finally) bought myself a box of sheets for my cards, so maybe I'll find time to put my series 1 set in a binder. That's what will keep me busy for a while watching either the Blackhawks take on the Wild, the Cubs vs. the Cardinals, or the White Sox extend their streak against the Tigers.

¡Viva México!


JayBee Anama

Friday, April 17, 2015

Let the Bryant-Mania Begin

(Before I begin, I'd like to take a moment to say thanks and God Bless Francis Cardinal George, who passed away this morning due to complications to cancer. Rest in Peace, Your Eminence.)

In 2010, we had Strasburg Mania.

In 2012, it was Harper Mania.

Today, in 2015, it is time for Bryant Mania!!!

Since Theo and company took over the baseball operations of the Cubs, they have been able to stockpile a number of very prospects. And these last two seasons (well, really since the second half of the 2014 season), we have seen the arrival of heralded players such as Javier Baez (okay, so he's in the minors...for now), Jorge Soler, Arismendy Alcantara, and before the end of this year (or in the near future), we'll probably see the likes of Addison Russell, and Kyle Schwarber.

But today, on Friday, April 17, 2015, the most heralded of all of the Cubs' prospects will make his major league debut.

If you haven't heard his name by now, meet Kris Bryant!

That's right, the guy who's Bowman card has been in the news lately for being sold for a mere $90,000 plus dollars, stepped onto a major league ballfield for the very first time today.

How did he do?

0-4 with three strikeouts (all swinging, all against James Shields) in a 5-4 loss.

Eh, can't win them all. Even Mike Trout went 0-3 in his MLB debut.

He did have a few dazzling defensive plays, which is amazing considering that it was his defense that they were concerned about.

Okay, so what about cards??!

While certain collectors, okay, many collectors, went insane over Topps' treatment over the Washington Nationals' duo (super short-printed cards, variations up the wazoo in Series 2 and other places, mega-short-printed autograph cards), it looks like Topps has been preparing for this moment, and it looks like Bryant's first Topps cards will be appearing in earnest.

According to the Number One Source in the Hobby, and confirmed by Topps' Facebook page, Bryant's cards will:
  • show up on a  prospect base (meaning INSERT!!!) card in 2015 Bowman Baseball (as scheduled). There will be inserts and autographed insert cards to chase,
  • (hopefully) have autographed cards as part of 2015 Tier One Baseball (hopefully, because they won't be packed out, but redemption cards will),
  • be rushed into 2015 Topps Finest Baseball as card No. 111, one of the short-printed base cards, and there will be autograph cards here as well,
  • be getting the Harper treatment for his Rookie Cards in Topps Archives (limited base cards and autographs),
  • appear in Topps Series 2 Baseball which releases in June. No indication has been made as to if it will be another SSP card, but based on how early it is in the season, there should be no reason as to why he won't be included in the base set and not card #702,
  • be added to this year's edition of Stadium Club, Allen & Ginter's and Topps Chrome.
Okay, he's here now. He's gotten his first game out of the way. Let the Hobby riots begin.


JayBee Anama

    Wednesday, April 15, 2015

    2015 Topps The Jackie Robinson Story

    In amongst all of the cards Topps included in packs of 2015 Topps Series 1 was a ten-card set featuring Hall of Fame second baseman Jackie Robinson. These cards were exclusively included in packs sold at Target stores across the country. These were beautifully done, and gives collectors a brief biography of this great man's life before, during, and after his playing career.

    It was a historic day in baseball history when Jackie Robinson took the field for the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1945, tabbed by manager Clyde Sukeforth to be the first baseman that day against the Boston Braves, batting second in the lineup. In four plate appearances, Robinson was 0-3, reaching on a throwing error and scoring a run in the 7th inning before being replaced by Howie Schultz in the ninth. The Dodgers went on to beat the Braves 5-3.

    It would be the first of 1382 regular season games he would take part in, all from 1947-1956. He finished the '47 campaign with a .297 average, 12 home runs, 48 rbi's, an OPS of .810, and led the NL with 29 stolen bases. He was named Rookie of the Year, and finished 5th in MVP voting.

    All this, while becoming the first black player in MLB's modern era.

    It is because of him that the door to playing in the major leagues was blasted open, allowing players of all races in the game. While many of the veterans of the Negro Leagues would sadly not get a chance to play in either the National or American Leagues, it is because of the courage of Robinson (and Larry Doby to follow) that we would eventually know the names of Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Ernie Banks, Frank Robinson, et. al. By the time Pumpsie Green debuted for the Red Sox over 12 years later, all 16 major league teams finally integrated.

    But I digress.

    Today, as it has been done since Ken Griffey Jr. first asked Commissioner Bud Selig in 2007 if he could on this day, all major league players, coaches, and managers will be wearing the number 42. Now the number was retired in perpetuity in 1997, with only the handful of players who were currently wearing the number being allowed to have it if they chose going forward. When Mariano Rivera retired in 2013, no active player in the majors (and the minors for that matter) would be allowed to wear 42 on a regular basis moving forward.

    So today, as you're all finishing up your tax forms, raise a glass to Mr. Robinson. The game was forever changed for the better because of the courage he displayed on and off the field during a very difficult time in American history.

    Thank you.


    James B. Anama

    Friday, April 10, 2015

    Reports of 2015 Topps Team Sets are Showing Up on the Bay

    When the Cardinals/Cubs game was rained out on Tuesday, reports came out that fans who did show up bought Cubs cards for the players to sign. The thing was that these did not have the regular card numbers, but CHC-1, CHC-2, etc.

    That could only mean one thing...

    The 2015 Topps Retail sets are now live!!!

    After checking the bay, team sets are showing up thanks to a couple of sellers that I have bought from in the past. When I get a bit of cash next month, I'll probably take a shot at them. In the past, both sellers have offered all 32 team sets in an auction. I don't know if they'll do them this year, but you never know.

    The number one source in the Hobby has been kind enough to post checklists for both the Athletics and Padres cards that I did not have before, so without further ado, here are the checklists:

    Oakland Athletics
    • OA-1 Sonny Gray
    • OA-2 Coco Crisp
    • OA-3 Brett Lawrie
    • OA-4 Sean Doolittle
    • OA-5 Sam Fuld
    • OA-6 Jesse Chavez
    • OA-7 Ben Zobrist
    • OA-8 Scott Kazmir
    • OA-9 Stephen Vogt
    • OA-10 Drew Pomeranz
    • OA-11 Josh Reddick
    • OA-12 Eric Sogard
    • OA-13 Marcus Semien
    • OA-14 Ike Davis
    • OA-15 Dan Otero
    • OA-16 Tyler Clippard
    • OA-17 Billy Butler
    San Diego Padres
    • SDP-1 Matt Kemp
    • SDP-2 Alexi Amarista
    • SDP-3 Andrew Cashner
    • SDP-4 Will Middlebrooks
    • SDP-5 Jedd Gyorko
    • SDP-6 Justin Upton
    • SDP-7 Ian Kennedy
    • SDP-8 Tommy Medica
    • SDP-9 Carlos Quentin
    • SDP-10 Wil Myers
    • SDP-11 Rymer Liriano
    • SDP-12 Cory Spangenberg
    • SDP-13 Yonder Alonso
    • SDP-14 Yangervis Solarte
    • SDP-15 Tyson Ross
    • SDP-16 Derek Norris
    • SDP-17 Joaquin Benoit

    It's going to be a long month. But I know it will be worth it.


    JayBee Anama

    Sunday, April 5, 2015

    Opening Day is Here!!!

    It's Easter Sunday. He Has Risen!!!

    A month of spring training games have now whittled the rosters down to 25 players each (plus those on the DL, of course). This is it. Every prognosticator has made their choices as to who will win it all, but the games aren't played on paper. They're played on the diamond.

    And tonight, the first of 2,430 games will be played, opening up another season of Major League Baseball!!!

    The 2015 season opens with the St. Louis Cardinals taking on the Chicago Cubs at beautiful, but still being renovated, Wrigley Field. The bleachers won't be ready supposedly until June. And while modern technology has now started to take over the park (they now have a video board in left???), it still holds a lot of the charm and old-time feel the park has had in it's 100+ year history.

    But enough about the field. Let's get on to the more important issue. The I-55 rivalry starts in earnest. There's no hiding here. Both teams have re-tooled for this year with off-season free agent signings and trades to supplement their rosters. We welcome Joe Maddon, Jon Lester, Miguel Montero, Jason Heyward, and others to the rivalry.

    Right now, everyone is even at 0-0. Time to play ball.


    JayBee Anama