Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanks - 2011 Topps Update edition

When I was young, specifically in the early 80's, my best friend was a huge Phillies fan.  His favorite pitcher was Steve Carlton, and he frequently argued that he was the best.  As a Mets fan, I didn't really remember Ryan, he was long gone by the time I got to fan-dom.  But he was a former Met, and a name who actually had the stats to due battle with Carlton.  As they battled for strikeout supremacy, Ryan became my ace in the hole for any argument.

When I opened up my packs of Topps Update 2011, I found the face of a very young Nolan Ryan, pitching for my favorite team.  I'm not sure this counts as an insert - probably it is a Short Print - and one I am happy to now own.  I don't really get why Topps does this, but from what I read on some of the other blogs out there, Topps has enough other problems.

This is a cool card, and if I'm going to pull a short print, it may as well be a Met... AND a heck of a name!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Working Backwards - Favorite Insert Set

My apologies for the slightly sloppy scan, but here is my favorite insert set from the 2011 Update Set.  On these mini's, I definitely favor the old names - I sorta hate that they put the old-time guys together with the current players.  I wish the mini-set just focused on one group, either old-timers or some other niche set.  It just seems like such a haphazard collection of different players with little rhyme or reason.  That said, I do simply love almost everything about these cards:  the close up sketch-picture up top, the slightly hazy action shot below, and even the font of the player's name and italicized team name - it just all WORKS.  My only criticism is that the back is nothing more than a checklist - but I can overlook that.  I pulled a total of 18 in my two hobby boxes, and here are the rest:

I am probably not going to try to complete this set, but if you have any others that you have nothing to do with, I'd take them!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Working Backwards

I pretty much finished up my 2012 collection - which includes (for the first time in my collecting history) the completed topps update series.  That's 990 base cards, my largest single year collection - and several completed insert sets along the way.  While I still have some 87 mini's in the update series to track down, I am pretty happy with what I have.

My new plan, since I enjoyed collecting the Update Series, is to now work backwards.  I had completed Topps 2011, but ignored update, so a couple of weeks ago I picked up two hobby boxes of 2011 update (rather cheaply, too!).  I just finished opening and ordering, so I thought I'd share some of the pulls.

I know this is probably old news to most of you - but hopefully some will enjoy the look back at the recent past.

My hobby box hits were two all-star patches, and they are pretty well-designed.  Not players that I truly love - if you have a Mets patch who you'd like to offer, I'll take it!  (I need to step up my game with trades - I've been pretty weak, so far!)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Baseball is too predictable

You saw the pitching matchup for game one of the world series.  And I saw it, too.  And perhaps, like me, you had a late meeting tonight.  Arriving home, you knew the game would be pretty deep into the late innings.  Like me, you probably correctly could have predicted the score, 6-1, as God Bless America is sung   during the seventh inning stretch.

Although I think you would have needed to realize that this guy:

had just turned into this guy:

in order to get the story correct.

Bring on game two!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

my auto - a MET!!!

Up until the last month of the 2012 season, Ed Kranepool was actually the Mets all-time hits leader in franchise history.  In the last weeks of the season, my favorite current player, David Wright, went past him.  I know Kranepool was not an all-time great - he was much more of a compiler for the Mets - and hopefully the team signs Wright to allow him to become a lifetime Met... the team has VERY few of those.  When you scan the record books, you see very few stat leaders who played their entire career for the Mets.  Strawberry, Piazza, Reyes and Beltran all appear frequently, but none will be considered lifetime Mets.  In this dark financial time for the franchise, Wright has become the sole hope for the team to finally have a true - and lasting - face of the franchise.

As I opened the last pack of my Jumbo box, this was the auto card I was promised.  For me, getting a Met really punctuated a very good experience with this product.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

I've got... wood?!?

I had no idea what this was when I opened it.  It reminded me of one of those stickers from Heritage (or maybe it was Archives?  Yea, I think it was Archives!)  I saw the 1/1, and had to search around to figure it out...  and then saw that they are actually drawing good money on ebay!

I'm not sure it scans very well, but it is a wood parallel, and if you look just above the Mariners logo, you'll see the 1/1 stamp.  While I do wish it was a more interesting player, it's still always cool to own a 1/1!

This has been my first ever Jumbo HTA box- as I mentioned in an earlier post - and I have been very happy with the results.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

It's Heavy

I'm not sure how to describe exactly what this is.  I'll scan the back to explain it.  But this is how I kicked off my first ever Jumbo HTA Box - not too shabby!

I'm not sure about how well the scan depicts it, but in hand, I'll just say it is HEAVY!

Here's the back:

I'm not sure if people consider these akin to a manu-patch, since there is not anything "real" from Clemente on there, but it is a cool card to hold and to own.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

An Update

It's been awhile.


But I'm back.  Almost.

For the first time in my life, I've decided to try to complete my year's collection by finishing the update series in addition to series one and two.  I picked up a jumbo, and I believe this is my first Jumbo purchase, as well - I usually just pick up 2 hobby boxes.

I'll get some shots up soon.  I am in "coaching season" - so my time is pretty limited, but I enjoyed revisiting some of my favorite blogs out there in the last week.

Have a great weekend.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Topps 2012 Series 2 - Hobby Box Results

I've been busy with the end of the school year, so I've been opening my hobby box a few packs at a time, making sure I enjoy each.  And series 2 has grown on me, even though I feel it has been widely panned here on the blogosphere.  I'll start with my box hit - and it's the first bat piece card I've ever pulled.  Touching the card is nice - and I prefer the "Gold Standard" relic to the "Golden Moments" relics.

Even though I'm going to focus on stats with this post, I wanted to share ALL of my "Cut Above" cards - a total of 6 from the hobby box.  This is my favorite insert, and I hope the scans do the cards justice.  I'm going to hit a card show this weekend, and see if I can complete this set. I only completed one insert set from series one, and that was the '87 mini's.  Speaking of them...

These were my two favorites - I pulled a total of 9 in the box.

I hated these at first.  I like them more now.  I pulled these four in my box. The foil pops more in-hand than on the scan, perhaps - maybe that helps me like it more.  Still don't really understand the strike zone, but maybe it just adds color - and that was sorely lacking with the series one inserts which were soooo goldish...

And I think the variety of colors helps this insert set, as well.  These were all 6 of the "Career Day" inserts pulled in my box.  I am 50-50 on chasing these and/or the "Mound Dominance."

If I go back and complete any series one insert, Gold Standard would be the one.  These are two good names, too.  I pulled 9 of these, and 9 Golden Moments.  I am not scanning those.

I know I didn't need to scan these, but I hate them less than you do.  I pulled six in my box.

Stat Recap:

One short print (so far, unless I've missed some) - Longoria
SIX golden giveway
ONE topps pennant advertisement
NINE gold shinies
TWO topps bunt (artsy)
NINE '87 minis
SIX career day
SIX gold standard
NINE golden moment
FOUR mound dominance
SIX cut above
SIX gold futures
ONE relic - Frank Robinson bat relic 39/50

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Topps 2012 Series 2 - Four more packs!

Forty more cards, and here is the best of the lot!  We'll begin with the best base player - Strasberg - and he best base picture, Maybin.

Will the Nats win the NL East?  They look pretty tough, and their pitching could definitely continue its dominance.

Next up, a couple of Mets!

Johan gave the fans a night to remember, for a team that expected to have a season of nights to forget.  The very strange re-birth of R.A. Dickey makes my Mets an interesting story, and with an extra wild card slot to chase, who knows?!?

Let's see some shinies!

The Chisenhall photo is kinda cool.  I think he missed the tag.

And some inserts:

Any Nolan Ryan card is just fine by me, and the Gold Standard is the most palatable insert set, I think.  And another Mound Dominance card.  What's up with the strike zone graphic?  Is it supposed to be telling me something?  If so, I'm not sure what it is. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Topps 2012 Series 2 - First Packs

I haven't seen much posted about series 2, and I am pretty sure there are two good reasons.  First, it is pretty much a continuation of series 1, and who needs to restate so much of what was said about the first offering.  Second, I simply haven't been as active on the blogs, so I may have missed some of the initial buzz.

I'd like to share the contents of my first 2 hobby packs - but I won't go crazy.  From pack one, I'll share my two favorite base cards - since I'm the guy who likes to scan and post base cards!

I remember so much of the response to series one as negative - but can I point out the beauty of the photography of these two cards?  The Beckham action shot is great, and Cody Ross' face (and even the shine on his helmet) is crystal clear - two GREAT pics!

I see no reason to talk about the carryover inserts, so here are two new ones:

The "Cut Above" are fine - I know the gimmicky nature of the card shape irks some, but I'm okay with it.  The other one, though, is simply hideous.  You can't read the "mound dominance" print above the strike zone - sorry about that - but the pun is atrocious, and the card is just not aesthetically pleasing at all (just like some of the other 2012 inserts, actually).

And here are the backs - the Mound Dominance back is better than the front - an interesting tidbit about Eck's four pitch save to close out the '89 series.  Maybe it'll grow on me.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Topps 2012 Archives - Hobby Box stats

Just a quick stat rundown, in case you are interested in buying a hobby box now that the price has come down a bit.

I picked up 160 base cards (of the 200) - and curiously, I picked up one duplicate in the box.  The first hobby box did not have any duplicates.  The base cards were spread evenly - 40 out of 50 of each of the 50-card base sets.

The two auto's for this box were Bud Harrelson and Bill Madlock.

I pulled 6 of the Archives stamped reprints, and 6 of the high numbered SP's.  This was the same in each box.

Two deckle edge, just like last box - Cepeda and Gibson.

Three 3-D cards and three stickers.

Four cloth stickers and two rainbow foil parallels.

Also, the Yovani Gallardo relic - and I only pulled the relic in this, the second hobby box.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Topps 2012 Archives - Hobby Box TWO

Let's start with a hit!

Two hobby boxes, and this is the only card like this I pulled.  I like it, but wish it were a Met.  I never really pull Mets, so not sure what I expected.  At least it's not a Giant - the team I pull more than any other!

My auto's DO feature a Met - so that's pretty cool.  I do think the auto's are my favorite part of Archives, and I know others have said that, as well.

I haven't looked through the entire list, at least not enough to be angry that I didn't pull someone else - but my four auto's definitely have that flavor of the late 70's and 80's when I fell in love with the game and with cards...

My favorite insert set is probably the deckle edge:

I don't know why I like them so much - probably the fact that they are not really "card-like" - they seem like some photo hanging on a wall somewhere.

I love the 3-D cards, as well - and the Ruth one is really well done (the Kaline, not-so-much) - I'm not sure they come out as well on the scans, but this is a pretty good threesome, nontheless!

I like the cloth stickers, too - and as I look at this post, I guess I am definitely "pro-archives" - I think I'll try to track down the rest of them.  I feel like people are 50-50 on them, so maybe they will have some to deal cheaply...

I don't really undersand reprints, nor do I understand how or why they are different from the high numbered SP's...  Are they harder (or easier) to track down?  Because they are not sequentially numbered, I don't really feel like bothering - yet I will chase down the high numbered SP's, probably.  Why did they separate these two?  What makes them different?

The "in action" Palmer card is a bit of a tease, because I believe there is an "in action" subset in retail packs - but I didn't pick up any of those.  Here are the high numbered SP's:

It's a Mets party!  Aren't you glad you made it to the end of the post?  I started out whining about pulling Mets, and then get Ventura, McDowell and Kranepool - fully HALF of my 6 SP's are wearing the blue and orange!  And no, it doesn't lessen the sting of the games with the Yankees this weekend...

Finally, my least favorite insert - stickers.  And the rainbow foil things are weird, too - but mainly because I don't really care for parallels.  I'll think about selling the Rivera - his name could probably draw a few bucks...

I want to break Topps' sticker machine.  Unreasonable?

Monday, June 4, 2012

Topps 2012 Archives - final 8 packs

I'll blow through these pretty quick, especially since it looks like people are "Archives-ed Out" -

A quick scan of my favorite base cards in these eight packs:  Go Johan!  What a friday night!  Nice classic names in the oldest cards, the 71's featured a cool Mike Schmidt, while the 80's Yu Darvish rookie stands out.  No 84's of note, so I didn't scan them.

Two high-numbered SP's - Kingman,  a Met!  And a rainbow Marcum...

The great names of the late 70's and 80's continue with Stargell and Brett.  I don't remember the Brett card - I was a bit young, but I do remember the Stargell - loved the all-yellow card and all-yellow uniform.

I am still not feelin' the stickers.

And still my favorite insert set of Archives.  Any extra's that you don't want?  Send them my way!  I gotta link up with Lifetime Topps Project and see if he had any dupes, with his two hobby boxes.  Then again, I gotta open my second box, too!

(Two hobby boxes were probably overkill, here - wish I had realized that sooner!)

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Topps 2012 Archives - 8 More Packs

Finally had some time to open more packs and get some scans up.  This is taking longer than I would like, but it's because I've been busy at work - and for me, that's a GOOD thing!  First up, here are some of the best base cards in my packs - two from each year.  King Felix and my favorite Met (though Santana just jumped a whole bunch of spots after last night) highlight the 84's, and Catfish and Longoria represent '80.  Longoria's career is in an interesting spot, right?  He needs to get back on the field - it's funny, I get the feeling that he is always hurt, but looking at his career numbers, that's just not the case.  I'd like to see what 4 healthy years in a row would produce for him...

The Kemp card is probably my favorite, though Reggie reminds me of my first days watching baseball.  Did you see's comparison of Braun's 2011 vs. 2012?  Very interesting argument to support his performance - not that I'm a fan of his, at all...

With the help of some of you out there, I think I have finally correctly identified these three cards as high-numbered short prints.  No Archives stamp, and the numbers all fall 201-240.

Three more inserts, leading off with the shiny rainbow something-or-other Fielder.  Also, reprints (not high numbered SP's) of Seaver and Brooks Robinson.  Interesting posting a Seaver card the day after Johan truly cements his name in the Mets history books.

My final scan presents my favorite insert and least favorite, side-by-side.  Maybe I'm just stickered out from Heritage, especially because they are so similar.  The Cano 3-D is really cool in hand, the 3-D effect works better than I thought it would, and not nearly as cheesy as I feared.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Topps 2012 Archives - Inserts, SP's and Auto's!

The first of my "special" cards that I'd like to highlight are the "deckle edge" - and I hope they come off as spectacularly on the scan as they do in hand.  Marichal and Mauer are 2 of the 15 "1969 Topps Deckle Edge" cards. - and these may be my favorite insert.  Nothing cluttering up the front - just a cool black and white photo and auto - less is more!

These are the "1977 Topps Cloth Inserts" and there are 25 possible cards.  I don't really think McCutchen really fits with this crew.  These have a nice feel to them, and like the deckle edge, just strike me as unique and interesting.

This is where Archives gets a little trickier.  I'm going to show the back, as well.

The Rod Carew card is a "Topps Gold Stamped Reprints Insert" - and obviously it is not one of the four years featured in the base set.  If I am correct, Carew has a card #80 in the base set as well - and I guess it must be a '71.  The Yount card is also not one of the four base years, either.  This is one of the high numbered short prints, which runs 201-240 (or 241 if you count the Harper).  I feel like this is a merging of two different short print ideas:  the high numbered SP from Heritage, and the photo-variation (in this case, actually a whole different year!  so a year-variation?!?) that we saw in this year's Gypsy Queen.

And here are my auto's!  I do love how Topps has assembled some great 80's names to sign - and both of these cards made me smile when I saw them.  I know there are some better names out there, but I love the nostalgic nature that this set inspires - a more recent nostalgia, certainly, than Heritage - and these cards certainly capture that!