Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Junk Box Break: 1986 Donruss

Part One:

Part Two:

Base Set: 388 of 660 (58.79%)
161 Doubles
6 Triples

1 Full 63-piece Hank Aaron puzzle.

And to think, I got all these cards for about the price of a Blaster!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Junk Box Break: 1998 Topps Stars

Paid $35

Base Set (Reds, serial-numbered to 9799): 52 of 150 (34.67%)

Bronze (Numbered to 9799): 54 of 150 (36.00%)
Silver (Numbered to 4399): 24 of 150 (16.00%)
Gold (1:2, numbered to 2299): 12 of 150 (8.00%)
Gold Rainbow (1:46, numbered to 99): 1 of 150 (H. Nomo)

1 Rookie Reprint (five cards, 1:24): M. Schmidt

Monday, September 27, 2010

Now that the 2011 Topps checklist is out...

A few more takes on 2011 Topps.

You know that super-cool die-cut card of the 2010 NL Cy Young winner and NL MVP that Topps leaked to Beckett last week? The one that gave The Hobby a collective boner over the possibility that Topps might be bringing back some of the design concepts of the mid-to-late-1990s? You know this card?

Well guess what? You will not be able to find this, or any other "Diamond Die-Cut" card in any pack of 2011 Topps Baseball.

Let me repeat that. The Diamond Die-Cut inserts will not be in any pack of 2011 Topps Baseball.

The only way to get them is through the glorified video slot machine known as the Topps 60th Anniversary Diamond Card Giveaway website.

Yes, you'll have to redeem code cards in order to have a chance of getting a Diamond Die-Cut. And since there will be plenty of leftover "Cards Your Mother Threw Out, But Don't Really Want Back Anyway," chances are, you'll probably get five cards the caliber of an '87 Buddy Biancalana before the Transmogrifier grants you one of these.

But wait, it gets worse.

That's because the size of the Series One Diamond Die-Cut set is (and I'm not making this up) 150 cards.

One Hundred and Fifty Freaking Cards! Assuming that another 150 cards will be added for Series Two and TU&H, and you'll have to redeem twelvity-five thousand code cards and make elevity-seven bazillion trades in order to complete the full 450-card set. It's almost as if Topps just created an insert set that IS LITERALLY IMPOSSIBLE TO COLLECT, EVEN IF MONEY WERE NO OBJECT.

But let's suppose you've redeemed those twelvity-five thousand code cards and made elevity-seven bazillion trades and completed that 450 card set. You're probably going to want Topps to deliver that set to you, right? Assuming that the shipping & handling remain unchanged from this year's Million Card Giveaway, then ZANG!!! $240 in shipping charges!

Seriously, how could Topps fuck up something this potentially epic, this badly?

The rest of the product follows the same tiresome, phone-it-in, formula we've seen for the last few years. A way-too-small 330-card base set, the same numbered parallels, a autogamer in every Hobby box, et al. Even the inserts are pretty much the same as 2010.

Plug in "60 Years of Topps Reprints, Topps 60, Kimball Champions, and Diamond Duos" in place of "The Cards Your Mother Threw Out, Peak Performance, Turkey Red, and Legendary Lineage," and there really is no difference between the structure of the 2010 and 2011 Topps insert programs.

Speaking of Kimball Champions, I'm going to ask this again: What the hell are these doing in 2011 Topps? If you're going to make 2011 Topps a massive celebration of Topps Baseball, then make it a celebration of TOPPS BASEBALL! Besides, you got to start thinking ahead for 2012 Topps, right?

Yes, there will be (again), whether you like it or not, "Veteran Variations." Or, more accurately, there will be Veteran Variations whether Topps is even aware if you actually like them or not.

The fact that Topps devotes one line, in very small type, on the sell-sheet and doesn't even bother mentioning them at all on the checklist, says a lot about how ambivalent collectors have become to these gimmicks -- and I think Topps is beginning to notice. Topps could (and should) drop these cards the week before pack-out, and collectors wouldn't notice nor care.

2011 Topps Series One Checklist.

It's 2:40 AM, and I just finished uploading the 2011 Topps Series One checklist to the wiki. (You're welcome)

Still lots of TBDs, and still a work in progress; but it you want to see the provisional checklist... ... Series_One

Friday, September 24, 2010

Memo to Topps...

Relic: (noun) An antiquity that has survived from the distant past.

In other words, something none of these Topps cards are.

Why does Topps continues to call these manufactured relics, "Relics?"

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Play the Braves off, Keyboard Cat!

Six down, with nine left to play; IT'S OVAR!

Good-bye and thanks for playing Atlanta, we have some lovely parting gifts backstage for you!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Card-Ola: 2010 Topps Platinum Football

Base Set: 111 of 165 (67.27%)
Vets: 68 of 110 (61.81%)
Chrome Rookies (two-per-pack): 43 of 55 (78.18%)


3 Rookie (thick) Variations (55 cards, 1:6): T. Tebow, J. Skelton, E. Decker
2 Chrome Rookie Refractors (55 cards, 1:16, numbered to 999): J. Gresham, J. Graham
1 Chrome Rookie White Refractor (55 cards, 1:34, numbered to 499) D. LeFevour


1 Autographed Chrome Rookie Refractor (55 cards): A. Dixon /900
1 Autographed Chrome Rookie Red Refractor (55 cards, 1:1575, numbered to 10): M. Easley
1 Autographed Patch Chrome Rookie Refractor (55 cards): R. Gronkowski /800


I don't ever recall a set were the "short-printed" rookies are actually easier to find than the base cards. Can you?

I still don't get the plain foil veterans and chromium rookies. And what's the deal with scattering the foil cards with the Chrome cards throughout the set?

Is it possible that an single "event-worn" NFL player jersey can yield 800 usable swatches of patch material?

Product Rating: 3 Gumsticks (out of 5)

Monday, September 20, 2010

And all for 50 cents

There was a cardshow in Tysons Corner this past Sunday -- think old school show from the 80s; 30 tables in a hotel ballroom. That kind of show.

Normally I don't do these "what I got at the cardshow" posts, but there was this 50 cent box and you will not believe the shit I got out of it.

The Rookie Card of the greatest footballer America has ever produced. (Sorry, Landon; but she's actually won a World Cup -- two in fact.)

Hmmm. I never knew Richie Ashburn was in 1998 Collector's Choice. Turns out, he wasn't. This was part of a wrapper redemption thing that UD did at the '98 SportsFest show.

For the uninitiated, SportsFest was a National-caliber show promoted by Krause Publications back in the late-90s/early-00s. There were actually three SportsFests a year: One in Philly, and the others in Chicago and Anaheim.

I was living in Nebraska at the time, which, not coincidentally, is where Ol' Whitey grew up.

A Platinum Medallion of Cap'n Cheeseburger, serial-numbered to 50. That's like a penny for each serial-number! Pretty cool how I figured that out, huh? Anybody know any CC-Supercollectors?

A dead Allen & Ginter Rip Card of some San Diego clown. It's almost as if Topps wants you to rip open this card.

For some reason, I'm beginning to collect dead Rip Cards. I guess I can show my grand kids some of the dumb things card companies used to do. No big deal, right...

And over in the next column of the box was this. But this ain't no ordinary Chipper mini.

Take a look at that card number. Yepper, that's the Rip Card-exclusive Chipper mini. A $40-$80 card, sitting there for the taking in a 50 cent box.


My Blog Bat Around Post

If I...

Were Commissioner of Baseball, you know what I'd do?

1) Abolish all drug testing. This is not a joke. I'm dead serious. I want to see Gonzo baseball!

Forget the speed of Aroldis Chapman's 105 MPH fastball. I want to see Aroldis Chapman throwing his fastball, while ON speed. How many bases can Michael Bourn steal after a fistful of downers? Will Dock Ellis' record for LSD-influenced no-hitters ever be broken?

Think Albert Pujols is so great now? What about Albert Pujols all hopped-up on Anabolic steroids, Novocaine, NyQuil, Darvocet, Xanax, horse tranquilizers, and crack cocaine? If Barry Bonds can hit 73 HRs on "The Cream" & "The Clear," Pujols on the gas CAN BREAK THAT RECORD BY THE ALL-STAR GAME!

Besides, we all know drug testing is a joke and will always be one-step behind the cheaters. So, why not make it all out-in-the-open and legalize it? The players aren't stupid enough to NOT know the long-term health risks. They know who Taylor Hooton, Lyle Alzado, and Chris Benoit were. And if you had the chance to win a World Series ring in exchange for dying five years earlier than you otherwise would, you'd do it, too. (Don't lie, you would.)

2) Expand the American League to 16 teams. The A.L. can use some extra teams out west. So to the good people of Vancouver, B.C. and Monterrey, Mexico; if you've got a deep-pocketed billionaire with a large ego, and elected officials with even larger egos who love spending hundreds of millions of other-people's tax dollars on "community redevelopment" projects that never seem to get past Stage One (I'm looking at you, St. Louis and your "Ballpark Village"), you too can have Major League Baseball!

3) And when the A.L. expands to 16 teams, we can finally get rid of the damn Wild Card by realigning both Leagues into four, four-team divisions.

A.L. North: Cleveland, Chicago, Minnesota, Detroit
A.L. South: Tampa Bay, Texas, Kansas City, Mexico
A.L. East: New York, Boston, Toronto, Baltimore
A.L. West: Seattle, Vancouver, Oakland, Anaheim

N.L. North: Cincinnati, Chicago, Milwaukee, Colorado
N.L. South: Atlanta, Florida, Houston, St. Louis
N.L. East: New York, Philadelphia, Washington, Pittsburgh
N.L. West: San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Arizona

4) Interleague Play: Purists hate it, but fuck 'em. If "The Purists" had their way, Ryan Howard would be playing first base for Kansas City -- the Kansas City Monarchs, that is.

Here's what I propose for Interleague Play 2.0. Do what the NFL does, and have all four teams in each American League division play a three-game series with all four teams in an opposite National League division every year. Rotate the divisions every year, so that each team plays a three-game series against all the other teams in the opposite league once every fourth year, and a three-game away series every eighth year.

Now, take each A.L. team and pair them with an N.L. "geographical rival" and have them play six-times a year. In a way, this is already happening (i.e. Yankees & Mets; Indians & Reds; Giants & A's et al). But some teams do not have a natural rival (i.e. Arizona, Colorado, Detroit, Toronto and others.)

Here's a list of existing Interleague rivalries who already play a home-and-home each year.

Cubs-White Sox

You can add to that, these two new pairings who should be playing six-times a year.

Phillies-Red Sox

And here's some "New Rivalries" that'll be created by expansion.


Wouldn't an annual Arizona-Mexico series would be, like, totally AWESOME! Maybe they can play for "The Joe Arpaio Cup?" Colorado-Vancouver would give all the dirty hippies in Boulder (and believe me, Boulder has a LOT of hippies) an excuse to stock-up on B.C. Bud -- you know, the "good" stuff.

As for Atlanta-Toronto? Fuck Atlanta and Fuck Toronto.

Nobody in Atlanta gives a shit about the Braves, because no one in Atlanta is FROM Atlanta. The Braves are just a summertime diversion until college football season starts anyway. Toronto can suck a racehorse's cock with Heinz tomato ketchup for 1993. Atlanta and Toronto are two cities that were just made to play six meaningless Interleague games a year.

5) In fact, we should just kick the Braves & Blue Jays out of the Majors altogether and go to two, 15-team Leagues divided up into six, five-team Divisions with Interleague play every week!

(Just kidding.)

6) Change the revenue sharing formula by giving small-market teams a financial incentive to win. 2010 will be the 18th consecutive losing season for the Pittsburgh Pirates. How did this happen? Two words: Revenue sharing.

Imagine, if you will, you are the owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Every year, in addition to the shared-revenues that all 30 teams get (i.e. TV rights, licensing from the sale of baseball cards, et al), you also get a no-strings attached "revenue sharing" check. This second check comes from "big market" teams (i.e. the Yankees, Dodgers, Phillies) who all have massive local radio and TV contracts, and more lucrative stadium deals ($2500/seat tickets). The less revenues you generate on your own, the more "welfare" you get from the other owners.

You don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that under this system there's no incentive for the Pirates to improve their on-field product. The more they lose, the less revenue they generate on their own, and the greater their "welfare check." Why do you think they keep trading away their best players? The Pirates have become the L.A. Clippers of baseball; a joke.

So, as Commissioner, I'd share those revenues a little differently. The system I advocate would base shared revenues on on-field performance. It's a system that the English Premiere League already has in place, and it rewards those clubs (even the "small-market" ones) who actually put an effort into winning.

Here's how it works: The EPL receives a massive amount of shared-revenues (mostly from the lucrative TV contracts from Rupert Murdoch). Each one of the 20 clubs gets a share of this money; BUT, bonus moneys are paid BASED ON PERFORMANCE.

For example, in the 2007-08 EPL Season, Derby County, which finished last, still took home £29.1m. Manchester United, who won the Premeire League that season, got almost double that (£49.3m). Blackburn Rovers, who play in one of the smallest "markets," (Population of Greater Blackburn: 137,470) finished a respectable seventh in the table that year and cashed a check for £40.2m.

Now if you're a Tampa Bay Rays fan, you should be beating down the doors of Bud Selig's office with pitchforks and torches and demanding such a system be established in MLB. If such a system existed, the Rays might have enough money to keep BOTH Carlos Pena AND Carl Crawford after this season.

All of which dovetails into...

7) The establishment of a "Salary Floor." Just as there are in the other major American sports leagues, a salary cap that guarantees both the players and owners a certain percentage of revenues, there must be a "floor" that guarantees that each team will spend a set amount of money on player salaries.

8) An annual independent financial audit of all 32 MLB teams. If you've read "The Deadspin Papers," you know how the Marlins just raped the taxpayers of Miami-Dade County to the tune of $2.4 billion for a taxpayer subsidized stadium currently being built on the site of the (now demolished) Orange Bowl. This despite the fact that the Marlins turned a $37.8 million profit. So, as a gesture of goodwill towards fans and taxpayers, all 32 MLB teams should submit to an audit.

...and finally

9) A weekly, half-hour, baseball collectibles show on MLB Network. You've got a 24-hour-a-day TV channel at your disposal, and you need cheap programming during those times when there aren't any games on. So why not a 30 minute weekly show on The Hobby? THIS IS SUCH A NO-BRAINER! You can even let Michael Eisner produce it -- I heard he has some experience in the TV business. Want to "Get kids into The Hobby?" Make it a cartoon and call it "Bazooka Joe and His Cardboard Posse," and air it on Saturday Mornings.

Baseball cards + MLB Network = RATINGS GOLD!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

More Takes on 2011 Topps Baseball

So, Topps released some more images of next year's flagship baseball set on their facebook page today. By now you've already seen them, so here's my take.

This looks pretty damn cool: On-card autographs WITH NOTATIONS. Very original. Too bad you'll probably never see one unless you rip eleventy billion HTA cases.

The once, and future, Cy Young winner; shown Cuttering the shit out of some poor National League donkey, on a die-cut insert (I'm assuming this is an insert) that has a bit of a late-90s vibe to it. Mmm, Guy Like!

I guess since this is the 60th Anniversary, we should get use to every-other insert having the word "Diamond" in it.

Hey look kids, a letter patch that's from the back of an actual uniform! (Albeit from a batting practice shirt.) Again, you'll probably have to rip twelvity five hundred waxboxes to find one, but AT LEAST IT AIN'T A STUPID MANU-PATCH!

For the uninitiated, the card on the left is a reprint of Babe Ruth's first trading card. This card (the real one, not the Topps reprint) is actually rarer than the T-206 Wagner and has been valued at $500,000. The one on the right is a Ryan Braun card done in the style of the 1888 Kimball Champion's set -- Mr. Burdick refers to it as "N-184."

2011 Topps is supposed to commemorate Topps' 60th year in baseball cards, right? Then tell me what the hell are cards like these doing in a set like this? If you're going to make 2011 Topps a celebration of 60 years of Topps Baseball, then make it A CELEBRATION OF "TOPPS FUCKING BASEBALL!" NOT OF CARDS YOU NEVER MADE!

Besides, I think we can all agree, we could use a break from the pre-war/19th Century retro stuff for a year.

And it wouldn't be a Topps product without reprints of ACTUAL Topps cards, right?

For those of you scoring at home, this is now (by my count) the twelfth time Topps has printed this particular Jackie Robinson card.

1952 (Original)
1983: 1952 Topps Reprint Set
1997: All-Star Fan Fest
2001: Topps Through the Years Reprints
2001: Topps Chrome Through the Years Reprints
2001: Topps Chrome Through the Years Reprints Refractor
2001: Topps Archives
2001: Topps Archives Reserve
2002: Topps '52 Reprints
2002: Topps Chrome '52 Reprints
2002: Topps Chrome '52 Reprints Refractor
2011: Topps

Speaking of reprints, wouldn't it have been great if Topps waited until 2011 to unveil "The Cards Your Mom Threw Out" and "Million Card Giveaway" promotions? I know, I know, I'm thinking long-term viability -- a prerequisite not required for employment in the trading card industry.

Chris Olds and I had a Twitter-debate as to what the borders of these cards are supposed to be. Olds thought it was Dufex, I think it's etched-foil a la 1993 Bowman. Either way, they look pretty damn cool. But I do find it curious that the serial-number is on the front of the Gold Ichiro, but not the Silver Jeter.

For the Record: There's also a gray-bordered David Wright card that I assume will inherit the "numbered to 2011" parallel, and a black-border of some broken-down, washed-up, pitcher that should be numbered to 60 copies.

Of course, Topps has yet to release the composition and structure of 2011 Topps. Until then, any further judgments will be withheld.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

My take on the 2011 Topps design.

On the Plus Side:

1) No Moose-Knuckle. If I see another card of Albert Pujols' moose-knuckle, I swear, I'm going to off myself.

2) Going back to team logos after a year of wordmarks. Wordmarks are like Topps 206, something to be used once-per-decade, at most.

3) No unnecessary "boxes" or "dots."

4) White borders.

On the Minus Side:

1) Unnecessary repetition of team name. We get it. Albert Pujols plays for the Cardinals. Do you have to state it TWICE AROUND THE TEAM LOGO? Isn't that a little too redundant?

2) The "Name Arc." Try fitting the names "JONATHAN PAPELBON," "SHANE VICTORINO," or "JARROD SALTALAMACCHIA" on that small amount of real estate. (Thank God William Van Landingham is retired!)

3) Where's that way-cool 60th Anniversary logo you showed us at The National?

4) If you were a novice baseball fan and had no idea what position Albert Pujols plays, would you be able to find it on this card?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Pissing on the grave of your meal ticket.

By now you've seen the video, on read about it on ACP, SCU, or FCB. (Warning, clicking on the links may cause projectile vomiting.)

The question I have is this: How does the Mantle family allow Topps to desecrate The Mick like this?

Look, we get it. He's been retired for 40 and dead for 15 years. The supply of Mickey Mantle autographs and (real) gamers is finite.

But c'mon.

"MICKEY M?" How do we even know this is from a real Mickey Mantle autograph? For all we know, that could be Mickey Mouse.

Absolutely disgraceful.

The greatest relic card I've ever pulled.

Behold. In all its beauty...

Thanks Steve.

It's On (dayf) 187um Killa

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Royz in the Hood: 1997 Bowman's Best

I did this last year with Raul Ibanez; this year, it's Halladay, Hamels & Oswalt. First up, Roy Halladay and 1997 Bowman's Best.

Base: 125 of 200 (62.50%)
12 doubles
1 triple

2 Refractors (1:12): R. Sandberg, R. Rivera
1 Atomic Refractor (1:24): R. Klesko

1 Best Cuts (20 cards, 1:24): F. Thomas
1 Best Cuts Refractor (20 cards, 1:48): J. Bagwell
1 Mirror Image Refractor (10 cards, 1:96): C. Jones/A. Beltre, M. Williams/R. Branyan


Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Card-Ola: 2010 Topps Football

Part One:

Part Two:

Base Set: 269 of 440

7 Golds (1:5, numbered to 2010): J. Pierre-Parl, M. Pouncey, M. Hardesty, D. Reed, T. Pike, J. Skelton, Z. Robinson

32 Topps Attax (50 cards, one-per-pack)
2 Drew Brees Ring of Honor (1 card, 1:36)
4 Topps Reprints (20 cards, 1:9) A. Johnson, D. Marino, D. Brees, F. Gore
12 1952 Bowman (50 cards, 1:3) G. Tate, A. Rodgers, T. Tebow, B. Marshall, R. Moss, C. McCoy, B. Tate, S. Bradford, J. Beason, M. Turner, M. Austin, D. Brees
6 NFL Draft 75th Anniversary (50 cards, 1:6) R. Lewis, T. Tebow, V. Young, E. Manning, D-Jack, P. Harvin
8 Gridiron Lineage (20 cards, 1:4): Aikman/Romo, Dawkins/Berry, Dickerson/Jackson, Montana/Brady, Namath/Sanchez, Sayers/Forte, Smith/Tomlinson, Thomas/Spiller
10 Peak Performers (50 cards, 1:4): D. Bryant, P. Manning, R. Rice, K. Winslow, J. Dwyer, J. Mayo, B. Favre, C. Johnson, D. Clark, G. Tate
6 Gridiron Giveaway (1:6)

Product Rating: 2 1/2 Gumsticks (out of 5)

Friday, September 03, 2010

Want to complain about the "diamond-cut" Topps 206 minis?

Direct your complaints to this guy...

His name is Tom Mozeleski and his title is "Director of Manufacturing & Quality" at Topps.

And yes, this is a real, unannounced, gimmick card in Topps 206. (Notice how the "Director of Quality's" own card is perfectly centered?)

You have your assignment. Have at it.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Card-Ola: 2010 Topps 206

Base Set: 140 of 350 (40.00%)
short-set: 135 of 300 (45.00%)
"Hat" SPs: 5 of 50 (1:4): M. Mantle, R. Halladay, J. Upton, S-S Choo, M. Kemp

18 Bronze
6 Piedmont Minis: D. Span, V. Wells, K. Slowey, J. Beckett, N. Ryan, C. Crawford
5 American Caramel Minis (1:4): R. Zimmerman, K. Suzuki, C. Figgins, T. Lincecum, KosFu
2 Polar Bear Minis (1:10): S. Victorino, K. Slowey
1 Old Mill Mini (1:20): A. Soriano
1 Gold Chrome Piedmont Mini (1:245, numbered to 50): H. Wagner

5 Historical Events

1 Piedmont Framed Relic (1:40) Y. Escobar
1 Polar Bear Framed Relic (1:638) K. Slowey

Product Rating: 2 1/2 Gumsticks (out of 5)

Royz N The Hood

Last year, it was The Great Raul Hunt. This year, it's...

Coming soon to a baseball cardblog near you....