Sunday, September 28, 2014

So the Regular Season MIGHT End Today...

Races are down to the wire in the Central divisions and one wild card spot is still at stake in the AL. It is wholly possible that there could be up to 3 (that's right...three) game 163's to play tomorrow. Lots of things would have to happen though:
  • Pirates would have to win and the Cardinals would have to lose
  • Royals would have to win while the Tigers would have to lose
  • Mariners would have to win while the Angels would have to lose
If the Cardinals and Tigers win, they become the NL and AL Division champions respectively. The Pirates and Royals, who are already in the postseason, would begin their postseason chase with the one-game Wild-Card. If the Angels win, the Mariners are eliminated from the playoffs.

So lots of things happening baseball wide before the playoffs. And because both the Cubs and White Sox are ending their seasons today, this humble, little blog will become a bit busier as we anticipate the arrival of 2014 Topps Update Series and 2015 Topps Series 1.

First up will be a debut class comparison (and another plea to Topps to bring back MLB Debut) of those who debuted in 1994 and those who's first MLB games came during the season.

Then a look at the best rookies of the 2014 season, all in preparation for the annual "Guess the All-Star Rookie Team" contest. No one beat me last year, so once again, the grand prize will be the 2005 Topps Rookie Cup set.

Third, and most importantly, I will begin the selection of this year's bdj610's NL and AL All-Star Teams. Seventy spots up for grabs. Closers and middle relievers will be announced first. The starting pitchers come next. Ensuring that every team has a rep comes third, and then finally the complete rosters will be announced.

Writers in the Hobby Blogging Community are beginning to contemplate their end-of-the-season posts. Jason Carter of the Writer's Journey has invited bloggers and their readers to cast their votes for the second (he missed doing this last year) annual BBBWARAOAAE (Base Ball Bloggers and Readers Association of America and Elsewhere) Awards. The usual categories are in play (NL and AL Rookies of the Year, Cy Young, and MVP's, along with the Best Shortstop Ever, and Most Deserving Non Hall of Famer). Everyone has until Tuesday to vote. Click here for details.

There are three teams who are trying to extend their seasons. It should be a fun Sunday.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Now This is a Brilliant Idea

Topps is trying, really trying, to branch out on the "Entertainment" side of their business. They have MLB and MiLB locked up for a long time, and although the countdown before their NFL contract expires, MLS and WWE might not necessarily pick up the slack.

Last year, Topps started issuing canvas prints of individual cards from the 80's, and then 70's, of many fan favorites, suitable for framing (Topps even supplies the frames). At the time I was working at the framed art place, I thought this was a brilliant idea. Too bad they didn't take me up on the idea of trying to license these for framing. But hey, I no longer work there, and it doesn't matter to me what they do now (lost opportunity I tell you...but I digress).

Topps has also reached deep into the archives for more pictures of the games past, issuing prints of unused pictures of stars that didn't make it onto the cards.

Now Topps has come up with their best idea yet, and if it wasn't limited to 99 per run, I'd be placing my orders.

This time, they are taking the complete (as of 2014) run of cards of a certain player. With guys like the White Sox' Paul Konerko, and that guy from New York that's retiring as well as two of the six initial subjects, Topps is now featuring on their website a framed art display of all of their cards (almost...I'll explain in a bit) in one completely product.

A fitting tribute for Paul Konerko, and this is coming from a Cubs fan.

Look at that. All of Konerko's base Topps cards from 1995 through 2014 (so he didn't have any Topps cards in 1997 and 1998), and with the exception of the first three cards, it's a complete retrospective of Paulie's White Sox career, with a black and white picture of the man himself included. I have all of these cards (along with the cards of the other guys), and I have to say, this looks really good.

You can bet that Topps will be adding a lot more subjects to this set of products. They've got the card library to do it. And what better way to display the cards of the guy you idolize? A couple of caveats though:

  • These are only pictures of the cards, they are not going to put actual cards in this product. That would be insane.
  • The horizontal cards are displayed vertically and facing the left. Either Topps should have had these displayed the correct way or at least facing to the right. But I get the reasoning why, as there is only so much space.
There are six subjects in this initial run. Besides Paulie, Miguel Cabrera (complete with a Topps 203 card), David Ortiz, David Wright, Albert Pujols, and oh yeah, Derek Jeter, get the retrospective treatment. Maybe they should have kept it to the two retired guys, and probably a couple of recently retired legends (who wouldn't want to see a Chipper Jones retrospective or a complete run of Todd Helton cards all displayed with the Rockies all-time great?) I mean the other four guys still will have cards going forward, and Wright's art piece consists of nine card images.

Here are the rest of the images, in case you're curious.






Oh yeah, did I mention Topps is only making 99 copies of each? For Konerko and Jeter, these are fitting tributes to their long and illustrious careers.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Sunday, September 14, 2014

So the 2015 Topps Series 1 Sell Sheets Have Been Live For a While Now...

Eventually I can devote a bit more time to this humble, little blog. For those who have stuck around, waiting to see if I'm ever going to post again (or have asked if I'm even alive), thank you for the support. I am hoping that when 2015 comes around, and the prospects that Theo and company have been raising start fulfilling their potential, that it would be a great year in the Windy City for baseball.

Anyway, I've been quite busy work wise. Lots of things happening since the big conversion and it looks like things are finally starting to settle down. There are major advantages to working at home, but there has to be a balance and after reading some articles on LinkedIn (that's the social media site for professionals...or at least a way to keep tabs on former co-workers), I think I can get into a better rhythm when it comes to balancing my work time and my "out-of-office" time.

Okay, to the point.

Not long after Topps posted images of the wildly anticipated 2015 Topps cards, the sell sheets came were posted on certain sites. To save time (and to keep you from leaving to see them), here are the images:











It's always nice to see the sample images in this setting. It's too bad that they no longer distribute actual sell sheets. I would have loved to see this up close.

So it seems that the Baseball History insert set will consist of pairs of cards, not just one card reviewing a particular year. That should make things interesting. Will people only want the baseball half? Will there be a market for the "History" half? Will cards be sold in pairs? Who knows?

I don't collect them, but you have to admit, the relic cards look better and better every year. The manufactured stuff seems to be a big hit as well.

September is normally a busy time for the blog. We look at top rookies in anticipation of the annual Topps All-Star Rookie contest (which nobody won last year...sorry), as well as prepare for the announcements for the End-of-the-Year All-Star Teams. With the way this 2014 season has played out, all positions 70 positions are up for grabs.

Until next time.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Two Thousand Nine Hundred Seventy-Four

Sometimes, it seems like it all just happened yesterday. Other times, it seems like it happened an eternity ago. My daughter, who was just over a year old when this tragic event took place, is now a freshman in high school. Was it really that long ago?

I wrote the words below in 2011. For that article, and when I re-ran the story since, I used the total number of people I had heard to have died due to the events of that day, not including those who heinously perpetrated the attacks. That number was 2,974. Depending on where you read it, it could have been 2,977. Tallies since then have brought the number up to 2,980. But regardless of the number, that's too many lives lost.

So while I know that it's been almost a month since my last post on this humble, little blog, I thought I'd come back and honor the memories of the people for whom this country still mourns, and think how the events on that fateful day changed the course of American history, thirteen years since. By the time this posts goes live, it would have been thirteen years ago that the final plane crashed in a field somewhere in Pennsylvania.



Two thousand nine hundred seventy-four.

2,974.

That's the number of people who lost their lives when everything was finally taken into account. Countless lives were affected by this national tragedy. Even if you didn't know anybody on those planes, at the World Trade Center, or the Pentagon, you grieved along with those who did. You stood there in shock, in a daze, just glued to the television or radio.

Our lives have not been the same since. My daughter, now eleven, asks what we (her parents) were doing that morning. "We were just going about our lives," was my reply. "We watched the morning news, getting ready for work, and couldn't believe what we were seeing on the screen." She was just over a year old. She couldn't have understood what was going on then. But she will learn that what she sees as "normal" now, really wasn't before that Tuesday morning.

Two thousand nine hundred seventy-four. It is the number of reasons why we never forget what happened eleven years ago today.

On this day, the thirteenth anniversary of the September 11 attacks, my family and I send our prayers to those who lost loved ones that Tuesday morning. We pray, and will continue to pray for:

the children who lost their parents that day.

the children who would never meet their fathers because of the events of that day.

the firefighters and policemen and women who risk their lives doing their jobs, running into the face of dangers as many are running in the opposite direction.

those servicemen and women fighting for our freedoms away from home, whether or not we agree with the conflicts they battle.

for our leaders, regardless of their affiliation, that they make the right choices to keep the citizens of our country, and others, safe.

And finally, we pray for peace. Peace amongst ourselves as family, as a community, as a nation.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

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