Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Ladies and Gentlemen, Introducing 2016 Topps Baseball

It seems that around the time these come out, I am busy with one thing or another. Work has been busy, kids are getting ready to go back to school, and I'm still trying to get funds together to buy this year's edition of the Topps Allen & Ginter's Master set!

I have a couple of articles in draft mode and I'll get to them in time.

But for right now, Topps just revealed what the 2016 Topps cards are going to look like.

I know you're excited.

I know I'm excited.

So what are we waiting for?

Ladies and Gentlemen, here is the design for 2016 Topps Baseball:


First thing you're going to notice...NO BORDERS!!!

Why?

According to the Topps Blog (with former Beckett editor and SCBR Hall of Famer Susan Lulgjuraj now running the ship, this blog should be way more relevant now):

This year’s design was a change of pace from previous years, and 2016 takes another huge step away from what had been the norm. The 2016 design features nearly full-bleed photography, which will showcase a wide range of action photography.

“We have had a white border for so many years and it was sort of a staple of the Topps design,” said Topps senior art director John Doldan. “I think we are trying to move forward and make the cards a little more modern and current. I think gradually we have been going in that direction and break from the past a little bit.”


Logo will be on the bottom right corner, player name, team name, and position juts out on a bar in the middle. Because it looks like it's going to be a full-bleed design, it has a "Stadium Club" look to it, something I thought I'd never ever see in an eponymous base design.

So after years of looking to the Hobby's past for inspiration, it looks like the Company is finally going to focus on its future in 2016. Details have not been released yet, but according to Topps' twitter feed (@toppscards), "We will have more next week for the Topps Art Director discussing the process and the new design on the blog!"

I'm feeling mixed emotions so far, especially with the detail of the design itself. It might be one of those, "I'll need to have the cards in my hand" kind of thing before I can make a complete decision if I like the design or not. Maybe I'll have a better idea when more details come out or when the sell sheets are posted.

But what do you think? Do you like the design? Hate it? Thoughts?

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Now This is How You Display a Complete Set of 1999 Topps Mark McGwire #220 Cards...

Not only do I enjoy reading blogs and twitter feeds (you can follow me @bdj610), but I am on Facebook as well. I don't know how, I'm guessing probably because I am a Hobby blogger, but I've been added to a lot of sports card trading groups. I guess these trading groups have replaced the old Hobby message boards (yes, there are still a lot of them out there, but each cater to their own loyal members).

These guys are crazy serious when it comes to trading and selling. Some of the mods are sticklers to the rules and if you don't follow them to the letter, your posts get deleted and you may be banned. Now although I don't do a lot of trading (send your wantlists...seriously), I do try to answer questions about cards if I can. There was a big discussion lately about why Bip Roberts was included in 2015 Stadium Club. Apparently, not too many of these Facebook guys understand the significance of Bip in the Hobby Blogging Community.

Anyway, many of these people post pictures of cards that they have for trade or for sale. Not too many grab my attention. But this one caught my eye. It made me stop what I was doing and just stare.

Behold:


Yes, ladies and gentlemen, feast your eyes on a complete set of 1999 Topps Mark McGwire Home Run Record #220 cards. All 70 cards are individually framed in a beautiful, hand-crafted oak and walnut display that measures in at 24 square feet (6 feet x 4 feet). Each card, in order, surrounds a centerpiece with the year the record was broken, McGwire's name and uniform number, and a large number "70," complete with a Rawlings bat.

Enjoy the rest of these pictures:




I had to ask the person who posted this for sale about the history of the piece.

The gentleman who is putting this item up for sale is Perry Chaney. While he didn't build the piece, he did give me the background story about how it was made. "A guy in Chicago built it. Took him 4 months. He spent $2300 on the cards in 09 (they were expensive back then). I don't know how long it took him to find the cards but had to have been awhile...When I bought it, I was regretting the purchase the whole 3 hour drive. When I seen it, my jaw hit the floor."

Quite frankly, so did mine. "The size and little details were unexpected," Chaney says.

No kidding.






Chaney is selling this incredible display, cards and all for $750.00. "The set alone would cost $600+ to put together," he says. Add the cost of the woodwork involved, and $750 looks to be a bargain.

For serious Mark McGwire collectors, this would be the penultimate piece for your collection. What better way to show your appreciation for the man who broke a record that was once thought to be impossible to break. Regardless of how you feel about the man and the feat, what Mark McGwire did in 1998 "saved baseball, so that was his (the gentleman who built this masterpiece) inspiration," concludes Chaney. Controversy aside, this is just an incredible piece of work, and if I had the money, I'd probably spend on it (but then I'd be insane enough to take the cards out and put them in my 1999 Topps binder).

If you have any questions about the piece, Perry Chaney can be reached via email (perry.chaney@gmail.com). More pictures can be found on Facebook, but you'd have to be a member of the closed Facebook group called Baseball Cards Rule to see it.

And before you question how much of a collector Chaney is, "I am one of only 3 people on the psa set registry with all 5 set variations in a average grade of 9.57." Now, I'm not a graded card aficionado, but that's one serious collection.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

And Now, Your Starting Lineups...

As announced at All-Star Media Day:

For the American League:


1. Mike Trout, LAA, cf
2. Josh Donaldson, TOR, 3b
3. Albert Pujols, LAA, 1b
4. Nelson Cruz, SEA, dh
5. Lorenzo Cain, KCR, rf
6. Adam Jones, BAL, lf
7. Salvador Perez, KCR, c
8. Jose Altuve, HOU, 2b
9. Alcides Escobar, KCR, ss

And the National League:


1. Andrew McCutchen, PIT, cf
2. Todd Frazier, CIN, 3b
3. Bryce Harper, WAS, rf
4. Paul Goldschmidt, ARI, 1b
5. Buster Posey, SFG, c
6. Anthony Rizzo, CHC, dh
7. Jhonny Peralta, STL, ss
8. Joc Pederson, LAD, lf
9. DJ LeMahieu, COL, 2b


The starting pitchers for the 86th ASG are Dallas Keuchel of the Astros and Zack Greinke of the Dodgers.

Enjoy the game everyone.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Braun Replaces Holliday on NL ASG Roster


When Matt Holliday of the Cardinals was voted as one of the starting outfielders for the 2015 MLB All-Star Game, he was on the team's disabled list with a strained right quadriceps muscle. Although he was slated to return some time this past week, Cardinals' staff decided to hold off on his return until after the All-Star Break. Because he has not yet returned to the active roster on his own team, he will not be ready to participate in next Tuesday's game.

Because he was voted to start the game next Tuesday, Joc Pederson of the Los Angeles Dodgers will now take his place in the starting lineup and Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers will now take Holliday's spot on the NL All-Star Team.

Braun has returned to form as one of the Brewers' best offensive player, hitting Gardner was hitting .272 along with a team best 15 home runs (tied), 55 rbi's, 12 stolen bases (tied) and an OPS of .824. This will be Braun's sixth time as an All-Star and will join Brewers reliever Francisco Rodriguez Dellin Betances in Cincinnati.

So add Braun's #262 or MB-1 to your All-Star Binder (please tell me I'm not the only one doing this...AGAIN!!!)

Stay tuned for more All-Star team roster updates as they happen.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Gray and Scherzer out of the ASG, Santiago and Kershaw Named Replacements.

Here is the wording set in the 2012 Collective Bargaining Agreement between MLB and the MLB Player's Association regarding All-Star pitchers who start on the Sunday before the ASG:

"A pitcher who starts on the Sunday before the All-Star Game may elect not to participate and, if he does, would be limited to one inning and may set a pitch limit."

This year both starting pitchers who pitch on Sunday will participate in the festivities, just not in the game.

As soon as both Sonny Gray of the Athletics and Max Scherzer of the Nationals took the mound against the Indians and Orioles respectively, MLB has announced that they will be replaced on the active All-Star Rosters with the following pitchers.


Taking Gray's place on the AL roster is Hector Santiago, a starting pitcher from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Santiago is quietly having a very good year for the Halos, taking a 6-4 record, 2.33 ERA, 98 K's, and a 1.10 WHIP in 108.1 innings of work with him to Cincinnati. Of the five Angels in the starting rotation, Santiago has allowed the least runs and hits and is tied for the lead in strikeouts.

Santiago, a first-time All-Star, now joins fellow Angels Albert Pujols and Mike Trout on the AL roster.


Meanwhile, Scherzer's replacement is last year's reigning MVP and Cy Young winner, Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Although Kershaw's record is an 6-6), not too many people would call a 2.85 ERA, 160 strikeouts, a WHIP of 1.02 in 123 innings pitched a down year for one of the NL's best pitchers.

Kershaw, who finished third in the Final Man balloting, is a now five-time All-Star, He joins four other Dodgers to the Queen City: Adrian Gonzalez, Joc Pederson, Yasmani Grandal, and fellow starter Zack Greinke.

Add Santiago's #664 or A-14 and Kershaw's #100 or LAD-1 to your All-Star binder.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

2015 Topps Pro Debut at the Futures Game

The All-Star festivities are now in full swing and the highlight of this first day's events is the annual Futures Game.

Since the first Futures Game in 1999, 120 players who were named to either the US or World rosters have become MLB All-Stars, with 30 of them are participating in this year's All-Star Game. Eighteen players on last year's roster have already played in the majors, one of them is an All-Star this year (that would be wonderkid Kris Bryant of the Cubs).

Back to the point.

Today, the best minor leaguers from the United States take on the best prospects from around the world (Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Curacao, Germany, Nicaragua, and Taiwan to be exact). Of the 52 players (50 on active rosters, plus 2 selected players who were replaced due to injury) who were named to either team, 29 of them appear in the 2015 Topps Pro Debut set. Who made the cut?


From Team USA:
  • Mark Appel, P, Astros (#84)
  • Tyler Beede, P, Giants (#27)
  • Josh Bell, IF, Pirates (#187)
  • Michael Conforto, OF, Mets (#62)
  • J. P. Crawford, IF, Phillies (#39)
  • C. J. Edwards, P, Cubs (#126)
  • Lucas Giolito, P, Nationals (#75)
  • Aaron Judge, OF, Yankees (#159)
  • Sean Newcomb, P, Angels (#171)
  • Brandon Nimmo, OF, Mets (#86)
  • Aaron Nola, P, Phillies (#166)
  • Matt Olson, IF, Athletics (#176)
  • Alex Reyes, P, Cardinals (#195, injured)
  • Kyle Schwarber, C, Cubs (#100)
  • Trea Turner, IF, Nationals (#116)
  • Kyle Waldrop, OF, Reds (#37)
  • Nick Williams, OF, Rangers (#191)
  • Bradley Zimmer, OF, Indians (#29)


From Team World:
  • Ozhaino Albies, IF, Braves (#145)
  • Orlando Arcia, IF, Brewers (#53)
  • Jose Berrios, P, Twins (#134)
  • Rafael Devers, IF, Red Sox (#185)
  • Manuel Margot, OF, Red Sox (#8)
  • Nomar Mazara, OF, Rangers (#90)
  • Raul Mondesi, IF, Royals (#19)
  • Francelis Montas, P, White Sox (#153)
  • Renato Nunez, IF, Athletics (#48)
  • Gary Sanchez, C, Yankees (#147)
  • Raimel Tapia, OF, Rockies (#70)
This is a prospector's dream with many ready to sell if their guy has a breakout game. Team USA has won the last five Futures Games, and own a 10-6 record over their World counterparts. With many of these players ranked in their respective team's top 30 prospect list, this won't be the last we hear from any of them.

Let the games begin.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Bautista and Gordon out of the ASG, Dozier and Tulowitzki Named Replacements.


Another round of player replacements were named yesterday as both Jose Bautista of the Blue Jays and Dee Gordon of the Marlins are pulling out of the game due to injuries.

With a sore shoulder bothering Blue Jays' slugger Jose Bautista, he will not be participating in the game as well. He will be replaced on the active roster by Twins second baseman Brian Dozier.

Dozier, the runner-up in the AL Final Man voting, was considered one of the biggest snubs amongst those who did not make the initial roster. But the Twins' second baseman made a huge case for himself this past week with two walk-off home runs this past week. He's hitting .259 with 19 home runs, 49 rbi's, and an OPS of .849 (leads the team in each of the last three categories). He joins Twins closer Glen Perkins on the AL team.


Gordon, who was voted onto the NL roster as the starting second baseman, dislocated his left thumb sliding headfirst into first base during the team's win over the Reds on Saturday. X-rays came back negative, with no ligament damage found. So while Gordon will be out of action for a while, The effect of the Gordon's lost won't be known for a few days, but it does affect the NL's roster. Rockies' second baseman DJ LeMahieu will now take Gordon's spot in the starting lineup, as he won the player vote. Taking Gordon's spot on the roster is another Rockies infielder, shortstop Troy Tulowitzki.

Tulowitzki, who finished fourth in the Final Man voting and is currently on a 37-game on-base streak, is hitting .314 (team leader) with 9 home runs, 47 rbi's, and an .825 OPS. This will be his fifth All-Star game appearance and his third in a row. He joins fellow Rockies infielders LeMahieu and third baseman Nolan Arenado on the NL roster.

So add Dozier's card #'s 259 or MT-2 and Tulo's card #'s 125 or COL-1 to your binders (I'm trying to help here...)

Max Scherzer and Sonny Gray are slated to start their team's games today. Stay tuned as we learn who's taking their spots as the All-Star Game approaches.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama