Thursday, August 14, 2014

Ladies and Gentlemen, Introducing 2015 Topps Baseball

I haven't been hiding. I've been busy!

Doing what you ask?
  • Putting my 2014 Topps Allen & Ginter's Master set into sheets and a binder
  • Putting my 2014 Topps Series 2 set into sheets and a binder (I have three of five insert sets, working on the last two...will deal with that later)
  • Work. I love my job, and it's been a bit busy since inventory moved to the Chicago office.
  • Summer stuff with the family.
With that in mind, it's just about the time for Topps to reveal what the 2015 baseball season will bring.

And sure enough, today, they posted images of what collectors will be running after in 2015.

Ladies and Gentlemen, here is the design for 2015 Topps Baseball:



The Number One Source in the Hobby has the full details. But here are the fun highlights:
  • A 350-card base set. For the first time since 2006, Topps has deviated from the 330-card series.
  • The images are not parallels. The borders will be colored for the first time since 2003, with what looks like marble/stone design that goes from light to dark (possibly akin to 1990 Topps). The base colors of the cards will be based on the team's color palette (which explains the dark blue Cabrera card and the red Harper card...team colors).
  • There will be the usual array of rainbow-colored parallels: Gold (numbered to 2015), Snow Camo (#'d to 99), Black (#'d to 64; hobby- and jumbo-only), Pink (#'d to 50), Rainbow foil and 1/1 Platinum and printing plates. Also to be found one per case will be new silver-framed parallels that have a metal frame. Expect the usual Blue Walmart, Red Target, Purple Toys R'Us, and other colored parallels in factory sets next year.
There are six insert sets coming in series 1:
  • Inspirations, a 15-card set pairing past and present players
  • Gallery of Greats, a 25-card insert set with paper framing (think something out of Gypsy Queen) two per box. There will be Gold parallels limited to just 99 copies.
  • Free Agent 40, a 15-card set featuring some notable names in the 40-year history of free agency.
  • Archetypes, a 25-card insert set that features "players who were the model of consistency"
  • Baseball/History, a 30-card set (think Flashback inserts from Topps Heritage) pairing highlights from a particular year in and out of baseball.
  • Highlight of the Year, this set will span across all three series (1, 2, Update) that highlights the top moment of a particular season. Thirty cards will be included in Series 1.
As always, there will be relics and autographs versions for each of the six basic insert sets.

I'm liking this so far, especially with the detail of the design itself. But what do you think?

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Saturday, July 26, 2014

A Quick Lesson For Budding Set Collectors and Even For Those Who've Done This For a While...



In these economic times, I find myself buying more sets off the Bay than trying to build one from scratch. Does it make me less of a collector? No. Hoarder? Depends on who you ask (my wife has a few choice words to answer that one).

But to be honest, time is at a premium and card shows seem to come when my funds have gone to more important things (like a mortgage, bills, and groceries). So eBay (and other sites too, don't get me wrong) have been my salvation since that fateful day in 2012 (when that company decided to close shop, and put me and about 110 other people out of work).

Anyway, I just purchased the 2014 Topps Pro Debut MiLB set. I've been lucky to get my hands on this set and have all of the regular sets since Topps got the exclusive license to distribute minor league cards in 2010 season.  The 2010 edition consisted of 440 cards split into two 220-card series, and includes the minor league cards of Mike Trout, Jurickson Profar, Philippe Aumont, Brandon Belt, etc. The thing is that the first series is a lot hard to find in set form. Come to mention it, cards from this series are hard to find...period.

The 2011 edition consisted of one series of 330 cards, and includes cards of that kid in DC, Billy Hamilton, and other stars who are just now making their marks in the majors.

Since 2012, the now 220-card set has included the best prospects that will eventually make their way to the majors.

Back to the point. When I started to put the cards in the binders, I noticed that there I had some cards missing. Card #'s 65 and 183 were missing. I was starting to think that the guy that I bought this set from may have misled me. I was starting to think of what cards I may have been missing, since I never even looked at the checklist. Was Kris Bryant missing? He'd probably be the number one guy in this set? Now it may be missing??!

I kept going though, leaving the spots for card 65 and 183 open so that when I start looking for the missing cards online, I'll have space for them.

Then I got to card 220, Jorge Alfaro of the Hickory Crawdads, and noticed I had two more cards. Were these my missing cards? Nope. It turns out that while 65 and 183 are indeed missing, Topps added card #'s 221 (Jesus Galindo, Augusta GreenJackets) and 222 (Dilson Herrera, Savannah Sand Gnats). So now what to do? Should I put these guys in where the missing cards would have gone in the sheets, or should they be displayed after #220?

Best to put them after #220.

So what's the lesson? Even for a collector like me, who has been in the Hobby for more than 26 years?

Study the checklist first when it comes out. In this age of instant information, someone would have pointed out if there were cards missing on the checklist.

At least I have my 220 card set now in a binder and added to my growing collection.

Shame though. I would have loved to have a Kris Bryant card.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Random Topps Card of the Day: 1976 Topps #15 George Scott

Thanks to the Topps Card Randomizer, introducing the Random Topps Card of the Day for Tuesday, July 22, 2014:


  • Official Card Set Name and Card Number: 1976 Topps #15.
  • Player Name, position, team: George Scott, first baseman, Milwaukee Brewers.
  • Major League Debut: April 12, 1966.
  • Last Line of Statistics: 1975 stats (Brewers): 158 G, 617 AB, 86 R, 176 H, 26 2B, 4 3B, 36 HR, 109 RBI, .285 AVG.
  • Any special information about player: Signed with the Red Sox as a Free Agent 05/28/1962. Traded by the Red Sox to the Brewers 10/10/1971. Bats: right. Throws: right.
  • Number of regular Topps Cards (includes regular and traded cards only): 15. This is his eleventh Topps card.
  • Blurb on the back: "Has led Brewers in RBI's 4 years."
  • Commentary: George Charles Scott found his way to the Brewers when he was included in a ten-player trade with the Boston Red Sox. He left the Red Sox after six seasons which saw "Boomer" hit .260 with 105 home runs, 390 rbi's, and an OPS of .743. He would have his best year as a Brewer in 1975, as he led the American League in both homers and rbi's (36 and 109 respectively), as well as being named to his second All-Star team, and finish 8th in the MVP voting. An extremely steady fielder at first, he also won his seventh Gold Glove award, Believe it or not, the Brewers traded Scott BACK to the Red Sox after the 1976 season, where he would continue his career in Beantown for another three seasons. After a short stints with the Royals and Yankees in 1979 (he was traded to KC in June, only to be released two months later), his MLB career was over. Although skipped over by the Baseball Hall of Fame, he was inducted into the Boston Red Sox HOF in 2006. George Scott passed away on July 28, 2013. He was 69-years old.
  • Beckett value: $2.00-$5.00.
  • How many cards of this player do I own?: 8 cards.


Tomorrow's card will be: 1979 Topps #435. Post will arrive at 1:00 PM CST. We're looking back at a card from 1979 here on the blog tomorrow.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Monday, July 21, 2014

Random Topps Card of the Day: 1996 Topps #114 Todd Stottlemyre

Thanks to the Topps Card Randomizer, introducing the Random Topps Card of the Day for Monday, July 21, 2014:


  • Official Card Set Name and Card Number: 1996 Topps #114.
  • Player Name, position, team: Todd Stottlemyre, pitcher, Oakland Athletics.
  • Major League Debut: April 6, 1988.
  • Last Line of Statistics: 1995 stats (Athletics): 31 G, 209.2 IP, 14-7, 117 R, 106 ER, 205 SO, 80 BB, 31 GS, 2 C, 0 SHO, 0 SV, 4.55 ERA.
  • Any special information about player: Drafted by the Blue Jays #1st (Special), June 1985. Signed with the Athletics as a Free Agent 04/11/1995. Bats: left. Throws: right.
  • Number of regular Topps Cards (includes regular and traded cards only): 15. This is his tenth Topps card.
  • Blurb on the back: "On May 20, Todd's 30th birthday, he retired 22 consecutive Royals and allowed only 6 balls out of the infield in an 11-1 win. His 10 SO's that day tied a career high but, on June 16, he whiffed 15."
  • Commentary: After seven seasons in Toronto, where he earned a 69-70 record, 4.39 ERA, 662 strikeouts, and two World Series championships in 206 games, Todd Vernon Stottlemyre took his talents to Oakland. With the strike finally over, and teams scrambling to get going after the long layover, the Athletics signed Todd to a one-year deal. While the Athletics finished in last place that year, Todd kept the A's competitive during his starts going 14-7 in 31 games. While it was Tony LaRussa's last season in Oakland, he did sign on to manage the St. Louis Cardinals. Among the players that followed the eventual Hall of Fame manager was Stottlemyre. Todd was traded to St. Louis for four players and what would be a three-year run, held down a steady job on the starting rotation. In his first year in St. Louis, Todd would earn a 14-11 record, achieve an ERA of 3.87, strike out 194 batters, and have a WHIP of 1.272 in 34 games and 223.1 innings of work. In the playoffs, he would earn the victory against the San Diego Padres in the NLDS, and split his two decisions against the eventual NL champion Atlanta Braves. His time with the Cards ended when Todd was shipped to Texas as a rent-a-player in 1998. The following year, he signed with the Diamondbacks, finishing his career with Arizona in 2002. He now spends his time as a motivational speaker, entrepreneur, and company called Team World Class.
  • Lo-Hi Beckett value: $0.07-$0.20.
  • How many cards of this player do I own?: 18 cards.


Tomorrow's card will be: 1976 Topps #15. Post will arrive at 1:00 PM CST. Flash back with the blog tomorrow.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Random Topps Pro Debut Card of the Week: 2010 Topps Pro Debut #340 Casey Coleman

Thanks to the Topps Card Randomizer, introducing the Random Topps Pro Debut Card of the Week:


  • Official Card Set Name and Card Number: 2010 Topps Pro Debut #340.
  • Player Name, position, team: Casey Coleman, pitcher, Iowa Cubs.
  • Level-League, Team Affiliation: AAA-Pacific Coast League, Chicago Cubs.
  • Minor League Stats (stats with team depicted only): 20 G, 117.1 IP, 10-7, 63 R, 61 ER, 59 SO, 35BB, 20 GS, 2 CG, 0 SHO, 0 SV, 1.202 WHIP, 4.07 ERA.
  • Any special information about player: Drafted by the Chicago Cubs #15th, June 2008. Bats: left. Throws: right.
  • Major League Debut: August 2, 2010.
  • Baseball America Organizational Ranking After Season with Team: n/a
  • Blurb on the back: "Coleman's grandfather and father (both Joe) were selected to the AL All-Star team during their careers, and now Casey is one step away from the Majors at Triple-A Iowa. The youngest Coleman, who was the Cubs 2009 Minor League Pitcher of the Year, is a change-up specialist with polish and poise."
  • Official Topps Rookie Card: 2011 Topps Update #US307.
  • Commentary: Thanks to Joseph Casey Coleman (yes, his name is also Joe) making it to the major leagues in 2010, the Colemans are now the 4th third-generation major league family, joining the likes of the Bells, the Boones, and the Hairstons. His debut was rather unauspicious, as he was sent into his debut in mop-up duty during what was then a 10-1 shellacking of the Cubs by the Brewers. In his 2.1 innings of work, he allowed 6 runs (giving him a disastrous 23.14 ERA), but did strike out a batter. Casey would make the short trip from Des Moines to Chicago for parts of three seasons, compiling a 22-16 record with the I-Cubs while earning a 7-13 record with the C-Cubs. He was released by the Cubs organization on April 14, 2014, signing with the Kansas City Royals the following day. After a three-game trial in Omaha, the now 26-year-old Coleman was called up to Kansas City on July 2.
Next week's featured card will be: 2011 Topps Pro Debut #26. Post will arrive at 9:00 AM CST. Hope you enjoyed this week's installment of Minor League Monday.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Sunday, July 20, 2014

This is What I Get for Not Updating the Sports Card Blogroll!!!

Warning: Lots of rambling below. Bare with me. My thoughts are a bit scrambled as I post this while I'm downtown.

It's been months since I last did this, and I'm really sad.

You see, I started worrying about the popularity of Hobby Blogs as soon as I started realizing that I was neglecting my own. Correction. I started worrying about it when many of the bloggers that inspired me to begin my own journey started drifting away. Stale Gum can be found within the twitterverse, and Dinged Corners shows up too infrequently that it becomes big-time news when Patricia posts. Do many people who follow the blogs even remember Mario, Wax Heaven, and the drama that ensued?

Sure, guys like Greg (Night Owl), Gellman (SCU), and even dayf (the Cardboard Junkie) are still around, and guys and the grandfather of the Hobby blogs (The Baseball Card Blog) returned after a one-year hiatus when Ben Henry started posting again, this time with two other writers supplementing the blog.

But it seems that with all things, even the world of Sports Card blogging has evolved. It seems thata number of the Hobby bloggers have seemed to move on to other forms of social media and have either put their blogs on hiatus, or have just stopped blogging entirely. Heck, some have gone on to better (and actual) paying gigs (and if Sooz still reads this blog, congrats on the gig at Topps).

Have I lost interest in blogging? No. Have I had the time and energy that I once did when I started? Not really. Will I ever get back to devoting more time to this humble, little blog? One day, just not now.

So here I am, looking at the old Sports Card Blogroll, which also is now six years old. A lot of great blogs have seen time on the big blogroll. While some blogs have been around since the SCBR started (and then when it became the blogroll of choice for those curious about the Hobby), many have come and gone. A lot of blogs and blog writers had potential for great things, but then vanished. I would put blogs on the roll, and then within six months, they'd be gone.

But it's been a number of months since I did a through cleaning of the inactive blogs that it should not be considered an update, but an overhaul. Before the purge, there were 336 blogs on the active rolls. Here are the blogs being removed after six or more months of inactivity:

That's 28 card blogs that will be taken off the active rosters. But I did say "more on this one later" for two blogs. Let me explain.

Baseball 1977 was a blog about the cards from 1977 Topps (along with some other oddball sets from that year). As the blog was able to include posts about all 660 cards from the 1977 set, I am moving this from the active rolls to the "Retired but Relevant" section of the blogroll. 

PunkRockPaint was a blog that came out shortly after I started, but Travis' blog wasn't one of those "here is a card, let's discuss it" kind of blogs. He would take card designs from Topps' library and make his own cards. Many of them could have passed for real Topps cards. He knew which fonts to use for the lettering, he knew how to add items into existing pictures. Heck, he's even made his own card set, inspired by esteemed twitter fiend Old Hoss Radbourn and it sold. Travis is one of the other collaborators for Ben Henry's The Baseball Card Blog, which probably explains why he hasn't written anything on PRP since November. But because he was one of the best graphic card bloggers, I am adding a sixth inductee to the SCBR Hall of Fame. So congratulations Travis, as your blog will be a permanent resident of the SCBR HOF.

So the active roll is now down to 308 active blogs. I had hoped that the roster would reach 400, but I think I'd be happy if the SCBR stays at above 300. Less than that, then I'll probably start to panic a bit more.

As always, if there are any blogs out there that are focused on the Hobby of sports card collecting, please feel free to email me at bdj610@hotmail.com, or send me a tweet (@bdj610). If you have a blog that hasn't been active in a while and you feel like diving back into the Hobby Blogging pool again, let me know. The number of voices may be down, but the community is still strong. Thank you very much.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama 

Random Topps Card of the Day: 1959 Topps #490 Frank Thomas

It's Retro Sunday!!! Thanks to the Topps Card Randomizer, introducing the Random Topps Card of the Day for Sunday, July 20, 2014:


  • Official Card Set Name and Card Number: 1959 Topps #490.
  • Player Name, position, team: Frank Thomas, third baseman-outfielder, Cincinnati Redlegs.
  • Major League Debut: August 17, 1951.
  • Last Line of Statistics: 1958 stats (Pirates): 149 G, 562 AB, 89 R, 158 H, 26 2B, 4 3B, 35 HR, 109 RBI, .281 AVG.
  • Any special information about player: Signed with the Pirates as a Free Agent 07/23/1947. Traded by the Pirates to the Redlegs 01/30/1959. Bats: right. Throws: right.
  • Number of regular Topps Cards (includes regular and traded cards only): 10. This is his fourth Topps card.
  • Blurb on the back: "The biggest trade of the Spring sent Frank to Cincinnati. Immediately Redleg fans contracted an ailment known as pennant fever. Frank is one of the real distance hitters and if you doubt it ask the Dodgers. He hit 7 homers in his first 8 games at Los Angeles in '58."
  • Commentary: It's funny to see the word Redlegs on a baseball card in reference to the team in Cincinnati. But then again, there is some historical significance to it. To avoid being associated to what was then the USSR and the threat of being called Communists, the Reds organization changed their name to "Redlegs" from 1954 through 1959. So before there was a slugger named Frank Thomas, who crushed the ball for a long time as a member of the White Sox (then Athletics, then Blue Jays), there was Frank Joseph Thomas, a three-time All-Star with the Pirates. In his eight seasons with Pittsburgh, Thomas hit for a respectable .275, with 163 homers, 562 rbi's, and OPS of .807 in 925 games. No wonder Redlegs' fans were excited to get him and three other players in a seven-player exchange. In his lone season with Cincinnati, Thomas hit for a .225 average, 12 home runs, and drove in 47 rbi's, not really numbers that fans and the organization were expecting from the 30-year-old Thomas. By the end of the year, would be traded to the Cubs for three players, thus beginning a tour of duty that would include stops with the Milwaukee Braves, Mets, Phillies, Astros, and Atlanta Braves. He would play for 16 seasons, finishing with a .266 average, 286 home runs, 962 rbi's, and percentages of .320/.454/.774. 
  • Lo-Hi Beckett value: $4.00-$8.00.
  • How many cards of this player do I own?: 2.


In case you're actually wondering, I don't own this card, but was able to get a crystal clean copy of the image from the from the Baseball Card Cyber Museum. So thank you Joe McAnally and the folks at the BCCM.

Well, it's back to normal on Monday. Tomorrow's card will be: 1996 Topps #114. Post will arrive at 1:00 PM CST. Come on back then to see what the Topps Card Randomizer gets us to look at then.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama