Monday, January 1, 2018

Pack Break Week: 2017 Topps Archives


How about we start 2018 off on the right foot by presenting "The Return of The Return of Pack Break Week." For those who have joined us for the first time (welcome, first of all to this humble, little blog), the concept is simple: opening packs of cards after the baseball card season ended. In this case, the packs I had bought for Pack Break Week were from the three Hobby stores I visited during National Baseball Card Day.

Now a month ago, I opened and showed off what was inside packs of 2017 Topps Series 1 and 2017 Stadium Club. Today, we'll open up a pack of 2017 Topps Archives, also known nowadays as "Topps Heritage Lite." Let me explain.

Archives as a product used to be about reprints. Reprints of cards of legendary players cards from Topps' library. The first instance of this was 1983 when Topps created a set reprinting the legendary 1952 Topps set. Sets later from the 80's and 90's honored the 1953 Topps set, the 1954 Topps set (with some help from Upper Deck), and the 1952-55 Brooklyn Dodgers. In 2001, Topps brought back the Archives product in honor of the company's 50th anniversary to their first baseball card product. The set consisted of two series, featuring the first and final cards of 200 hall-of-fame and fan favorite players. Other than the hard-to-read card numbers, it was a big hit. In 2002, Archives returned, featuring reprint cards of 200 players from his "best year." It was a good set, with easy to read numbers, but some players' best years were with a different team than what he was depicted (Andre Dawson's 1987 reprint was his Expos card, not his Cubs Topps Traded card). Topps also added the stats of that best year on the card backs. Unusual, yes. But hey, there was a point behind it.

The following three years, Topps mixed things up a bit, creating a run of cards called Topps All-Time Fan Favorites, combining Topps library of designs with never-before-seen pictures. Most of the cards made sense aesthetically, but then you had an old Tommy Lasorda on his 1954 Topps card, or a young Kirk Gibson on an 1995 Topps card. It was hit or miss on the images matching the card designs.

In 2011, now 60 years into the baseball card business, Topps introduced Topps Lineage. A unique set that featured a basic base set design that had not been used in Topps catalog. But the hook on this set were the inserts that honored Topps unique inserts: 1968 Topps 3-D, 1964 Topps Stand-Ups, 1975 Topps Minis for example. Cloth stickers, 80's designed Rookie sets, and card backs written in Spanish, honoring the 50's and 60's Topps Venezuelan sets, were also included in packs of Lineage. The product was a hit, thanks to the nostalgia factor Topps was pushing. The following year, the concept returned, but instead of Lineage, it was called...

Topps Archives.

But thanks to the MLB Properties rules, Topps could no longer create a set featuring retired players. There had to be current players as well. So instead of reprints, Topps picked 4 classic designs (in this case 1954, 1971, 1980, and 1984) and matched 50 players with each design. The insert sets once again came from Topps library of products (1977 Cloth Stickers, 1967 Stickers, 1968 3D, 1969 Deckle Edge, 1982 In-Action, and 1958 Classic Combos. There was an insert set of reprint cards that used the Archives logo. Since then, Topps has continued the Archives line, featuring 4 classic designs with their classic insert sets.

The problem:

Didn't some of these guys have Heritage cards using some of these same designs? I haven't done a study, but I'm sure if it hasn't happened yet, it will happen soon. Heritage is a product that has a strong following (not me, but I know people). To me, it just doesn't seem right.

But anyway. I do own the first two sets of this new incarnation. But for some reason, I had no interest getting the last four sets.

That was until the Derek Jeter reprint retrospective that was added to the 2017 set. Well, I did get the Jeter set, but I still have no plans to go after "Topps Heritage Lite."

On to the point (if I haven't bored you to death already...)


So what's inside this pack of 2017 Topps Archives?

Opening pack now...

Here are the eight cards that were in the pack above:
  • #60 Catfish Hunter, P, Athletics, 1960
  • #74 Corey Kluber, P, Indians, 1960
  • #206 John Lackey, P, Cubs, 1992
  • #252 Evan Gattis, C, Astros, 1992
  • #236 Braden Shipley, P, Diamondbacks, 1992
  • #45 Javier Baez, 2B, Cubs, 1960
  • #122 Willie Stargell, OF, Pirates, 1982
  • #193 Tony Clark, MLBPA Executive Director, 1982


Thoughts: Two Cubs cards. That makes up for the first two packs. No inserts, no short prints, no Jeter anything. Ehhh. You can call the Stargell card an ATFF because he does have an 1982 Topps card (could be a future "What Card is This?" subject). But still...TWO CUBS CARDS.

Tomorrow's pack will be from 2017 Topps Series 2. Want to know what's inside? Stay tuned.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Sunday, December 31, 2017

It's the End of 2017, and What Have I Done??! Well...

Other than blow off Pack Break Week and then almost forget I have a baseball card blog? Not much.

A few days into the new job, I was asked if I wanted to take home a computer. As long as I can get it working, it was mine, no strings attached. Guess what I was able to do?

So after months of spending time at the local library, I have a new-ish computer. It's from at least 2013, but it is fully loaded. I just had to get rid of a lot of stuff (you know, because it was from the office, and there were things on here that I don't need to see). I had to add a lot of stuff (like Windows Office, because I need my spreadsheets). I bought new stuff, like a printer/scanner (because my scanner, my baby, wasn't compatible with the new Windows suite) and a wi-fi expander (because my modem is in the basement and we've needed one for quite some time). I also am now responsible for making sure I have a working firewall and anti-virus software.

So now, as promised, when I have time (and there is not a lot of it honestly), I will be back posting on this humble little blog.


My 2017 Topps binder is now complete. I did wind up buying a six-inch binder to hold all of the cards within it. It's crammed to the gills with cards from the following sets:
  • 700 cards from Topps Series 1 and 2
  • 300 cards from Topps Update Series
  • 5 micellaneous advertisement cards
  • 5 Topps Rookie Variation cards (from the factory set)
  • 5 Rediscover Topps cards (buybacks)
  • 40 First Pitch cards
  • 29 MLB Network cards
  • 20 Bowman Then and Now cards
  • 50 Five Tool cards
  • 20 Major League Milestones cards
  • 50 Memorable Moments cards
  • 150 1987 Topps tribute cards from all three series
  • 10 ad cards that had reprints of rookie cards on the front
  • 150 Topps Salute cards
  • 30 Topps Salute Jackie Robinson cards
  • 30 Topps Salute Independence Day cards
  • 14 2016 MLB Award Winners cards
  • 18 2016 Silver Slugger Award Winner cards
  • 18 2016 Gold Glove Award Winner cards
  • 21 Home Run Derby Champs cards
  • 25 MLB All-Star Game MVP cards
  • 50 All-Time All-Stars cards
  • 21 2017 Topps Archives Derek Jeter reprint cards (20 from set plus 1 red-back 2007 card)
  • 30 National Baseball Card Day cards
  • 30 Untouchables cards
  • 50 All-Rookie Cup reprint cards
  • 30 MVP Award Winner cards
  • 25 Postseason Celebration cards
  • 25 Storied World Series cards
  • 25 Heroes of Autumn cards


That's a whopping 1,976 cards.

Think about that for a minute.

One thousand, nine hundred, seventy-six cards.

Not counting the Jeter set, the Baseball Card Day, and the Ad and buybacks, that's 915 insert cards that Topps inserted in packs and blasters in 2017.

Boy, that's a lot of cards.

I'll be honest, I'm hoping Topps tones down on the number of insert cards in 2018. When there are almost as many insert cards than base cards in a product, it might be time to re-think what goes into the eponymous set. Don't get me wrong. Some of the insert sets were great. I liked the Bowman card set, the Salute series, and Memorable Moments. I wasn't a big fan of the Five Tool set only because it was too busy of a design trying to incorporate both the Topps Fire concept and five large images of a player onto the front of the card. I like the Retail-exclusive and Walmart/Target-exclusive insert sets as well. But did we really need parallel cards of insert cards? I'm not sure it was necessary as it made it harder to build a set. Now, of course some would say that I could have just kept the parallel cards and just included them with the base set, but my collecting OCD would have had a major problem with that.

But before I get ready for work (yes, I am working New Year's Eve tonight), I'd like to get something out of the way once and for all.

Remember during National Baseball Card Day, not only did I get free packs of the Trading Card day cards, I bought random packs of 2017 Topps products. Among them were a couple of packs of 2017 Topps Allen & Ginter's. Inside the pack that I had opened (saving the other for pack break week which I promise I will continue soon...with some surprises) was this card:


I had asked around, and people said to go ahead and open the card. So, as the calendar changes from 2017 to 2018, let's find out what was in the Noah Syndergaard Rip Card:




Okay, so it wasn't a Judge Auto. But it's a mini parallel of Red Sox legend Ted Williams. Judge what you will about the tone of my voice on the video once I opened the card, but I am happy. First for even getting a Rip Card in a pack, and then pulling a parallel card of a HOF legend.

So I have to get going soon. Let's get to it:

Goodbye 2017!!!


Hello 2018!!!


Goodbye 2017 Topps Design!!!


Hello 2018 Topps Design!!!


May all your collections grow to new heights. Let's hope Topps makes it a bit easier on us insane set collectors. Thank you for letting me into your computers this past year. I hope to be able to share more of my collection with you in 2018!!!

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Pack Break Week: 2017 Topps Stadium Club


Last night saw the return of Pack Break Week with the opening of a Series 1 pack. Today's pack is fron 2017 Topps Stadium Club.

With an incredible focus on photography and a great checklist that mixes current and legendary players, Stadium Club has been a great success among Topps' catalog of products. It's also one of Topps older premium brands, dating back to 1991. Now, I have no plans on going to try and complete this set, but I do have respect for it and am curious as to what was in this pack that I bought on National Baseball Card Day.

Don't forget later this week, I will be ripping open the Noah Syndergaard Rip Card from A&G.


So what's in this pack of 2017 Topps Stadium Club?

Opening pack now...

Here are the eight cards that were contained inside the above pack:
  • #135 Jameson Taillon, P, Pirates
  • #193 Jackie Robinson, 2B, Dodgers
  • #203 Hernan Perez, 3B, Brewers
  • #110 Michael Conforto, OF, Mets
  • #216 Odubel Herrera, OF, Phillies
  • #SS-CS Chris Sale, P, Red Sox, Scoreless Streak insert
  • #297 Curtis Granderson, OF, Mets
  • #259 Adrian Beltre, 3B, Rangers


Thoughts: No Cubs, not even a White Sox player (and no, Sale doesn't count) to speak of here. All-Stars? Sure...with Conforto, Herrera, Granderson, and Beltre. The Jackie Robinson card is nice, and the picture selection doesn't disappoint. My only concern new is that with Topps' eponymous designs no longer including borders, and focusing more on photos with minimal but unique design elements, is there even a need for this kind of a set?

Tomorrow's pack will be from 2017 Topps Archives. While I am not expecting much out of Heritage Lite, maybe something good will come from it. Maybe.

Watch this space.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Monday, December 4, 2017

Pack Break Week: 2017 Topps Series 1


It's the return of Pack Break Week here on this humble, little blog. The idea is to celebrate the past baseball card season while looking forward to next season. And what better way to do this then my opening packs of this year's product.

As you probably recall, I went to three different card shops during National Baseball Card Day. Along with getting my free packs of NBC cards, I also bought some random packs of Series 1 & 2 of the eponymous product, plus some packs of this year's editions of Allen & Ginter's, Archives, and Stadium Club. Along the way, 1 pack of A&G included a rip card of Noah Syndergaard. I'm going to open that card on Friday and reveal what was hidden inside of it.


In the meantime, let's open the series 1 pack and find out what was inside of it.

Opening pack now...

Here are the ten cards that were contained inside the above pack:
  • #268 Anthony Gose, OF, Tigers
  • #330 Doug Fister, P, Astros
  • #28 Rick Porcello, P, Red Sox, AL Wins Leader
  • #119 Francisco Lindor, SS, Indians
  • #S-69 Ozzie Smith, SS, Cardinals, Topps Salutes Legends insert
  • #272 Pat Neshek, P, Astros
  • #332 Huston Street, P, Angels
  • #92 Derek Norris, C, Padres
  • #259 Jose DeLeon, P, Dodgers
  • #294 Kole Calhoun, OF, Angels


Thoughts: a typical 10-card pack. Not much to write home about in terms of a wow factor (at least for the Chicagoan). Lots of West Coast teams represented in this pack, plus an insert of Ozzie Smith, as well as a card of fellow card collector Pat Neshek.

Tomorrow's pack will be from 2017 Topps Stadium Club. Will there be a special auto, relic, or short-print inside?

Stay tuned.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Friday, December 1, 2017

A New Beginning

For those of you who still happen to read this humble, little blog, you know that the reason for my recent activity was because I was no longer employed. Realistically, I have been working, but not making enough money to pay major bills. I was able to get back to blogging on a semi-regular basis, and I've enjoyed re-connecting with the Hobby, the blogs, and most importantly, the cards in my collection.

Starting Monday, December 4, I return to the specialty foods industry, but with a food broker instead of a distributor. And I'll be returning to an office environment instead of working from home. Meaning no more Maury...no more MLB Network...no more playing games on the tablet during the day. It's going to be a new experience, and I am grateful to those of you who have reached out to me and given me encouragement, moral support, prayers, and, most importantly, job leads. I will be forever grateful for your kindness and taking time out of your busy days to check in on me.

Now, the blog...

still goes on.

Well, let me explain.

I have a tablet. It helps because I can get online and do get onto the blog and catch up on other sites. The only trouble I have is that it's hard to write using it. Yes, the touchscreen is great, and I could certainly use the voice-to-text thing, but it's an inconvenience at best, and time consuming at worst. I certainly can't go back and forth with my research on a tablet (try copying and pasting spreadsheet data on a tablet...having fun yet??!)

So, until I get a computer that I can use at home (and I vowed not to use my kids' laptops from school), the only time I'll get to sit down in front of a computer will be at the local library.

Onto the baseball card portion of the program.

I am working on my 2017 Topps Update Series set. I have the base set done, but now am working on inserts. Money is obviously at a premium, so trades would be welcome for any cards you're willing to part with. You can email me at bdj610@hotmail.com with what cards you have and what cards you need (your want lists don't necessarily have to be from this set...)

I am definitely looking forward to 2018 Topps. I wish I could see cards in hand, but I'm not that well connected with The Company to have that kind of access.

Regarding, the Sports Card Blogroll, 8 blogs will be removed for reaching past six months of inactivity. They are:


That brings us down to 217 active blogs on the big Blogroll. As always, if you, or someone you know, writes a blog about the Hobby of Sports Card Collecting, and it's not on my list, please drop me a line at bdj610@hotmail.com. If you've recently decided to bring your inactive blog back to relevance, let me know as well.

One thing I will definitely have time for is the return of Pack Break Week. Starting next week, using the magic of the tablet, I'm going to open the packs that I bought back during National Baseball Trading Card Day and see what each holds. And after a lot of agony over making this decision, I will also reveal what was inside that 2017 Topps Allen & Ginter's Noah Syndergaard Rip Card that I found in the one pack of A&G that I did open a few months back. That should be entertaining.

Finally, after going over the entries that I received for the Guess the 2017 Topps All-Star Rookie Team contest that was held last month, nobody out-predicted me in the contest. I had seven, as you recall, and of all the entries, the only person who matched the number of names was Jason Carter of The Writer's Journey.

Just like me, he had the names, but the positions ran all over the place. He had Paul DeJong at 2B (Ian Happ was this year's second baseman), Cody Bellinger (the 1B), Andrew Benintendi, and Aaron Judge in the outfield (the third outfielder was Trey Mancini), Manny Pina was the only rookie catcher it seemed, and both German Marquez and Jordan Montgomery as the pitchers. The rest of his squad included Josh Bell at 1B (the aforementioned Bellinger), Yuli Gurriel at third (Rafael Devers was the winner), Pat Valaika at shortstop (DeJong won this one), and Robert Stephenson as the relief pitcher (which went to Josh Hader). For coming the closest, Jason, I think I still have your address (unless it's changed), a Hobby pack of 2017 Topps Update Series is on its way to you. The 2005 Topps Rookie Cup base set remains with me.

Thank you all for sticking around. Once I get that home computer, the posts should increase a bit more.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Introducing the 2017 Topps All-Star Rookie Team

The 2017 Topps All-Star Rookie Team. Image from MLB Network.

The 2017 Topps All-Star Rookie Team was announced this morning on MLB Network's Hot Stove program. And there are number of surprises, at least for me.

Congratulations are in order for the 11 players who make up Topps' 58th ASRT. If the player's name is in bold, it means I predicted that they would make the team yesterday).
  • 1B: Cody Bellinger, LAD (132 G, 0.267, 39 HR, 97 RBI, 0.933 OPS, 10 SB)
  • 2B: Ian Happ, CHC (115 G, 0.253, 24 HR, 68 RBI, 0.842 OPS, 8 SB)
  • 3B: Rafael Devers, BOS (58 G, 0.284, 10 HR, 30 RBI, 0.819 OPS, 3 SB)
  • SS: Paul DeJong, STL (108 G, 0.285, 26 HR, 65 RBI, 0.857 OPS, 1 SB)
  • OF: Andrew Benintendi, BOS (151 G, 0.271, 20 HR, 90 RBI, 0.776 OPS, 20 SB)
  • OF: Aaron Judge, NYY (155 G, 0.284, 52 HR, 114 RBI, 1.049 OPS, 9 SB)
  • OF: Trey Mancini, BAL (147 G, 0.293, 24 HR, 78 RBI, 0.826 OPS, 1 SB)
  • C: Manny Pina, MIL (107 G, 0.279, 9 HR, 43 RBI, 0.751 OPS, 2 SB)
  • RHSP: German Marquez, COL (29 GS, 11-7, 4.39 ERA, 147 SO, 1.376 WHIP)
  • LHSP: Jordan Montgomery, NYY (29 GS, 9-7, 3.88 ERA, 144 SO, 1.229 WHIP)
  • RP: Josh Hader, MIL (35 G, 2-3, 2.08 ERA, 68 SO, 0.986 WHIP, 0 SV)
So I guessed 7 out of now 11 spots correctly, even if I had Bellinger in the outfield and DeJong at second. I had Josh Bell at first, Matt Davidson at third, Dansby Swanson at short, and Wandy Peralta as the reliever. This was a poor showing on my end.

Now my comments.


  • Three teams have 2 representatives on the team (Brewers, Red Sox, and Yankees).
  • I am happy (pun intended) that the Cubs have some representation this time around with Happ. I had DeJong as my 2B, but Happ could have taken this spot had I thought I could use DeJong at short.
  • Topps is showing some consistency with naming three pitchers to the team (two starters, 1 reliever).
  • Even though I'm not a White Sox fan, I'm really disappointed that Devers was picked over Davidson. Granted Davidson had a low .222 batting average, but he played a full season. It just shows once again the White Sox don't get much Hobby love.
  • Had I thought of putting Bellinger in as my 1B, I would have put Mancini in as the third outfielder.

So congratulations to all. Each player will now get the illustrious rookie cup trophy added to their 2018 Topps cards. I will be going over the results shortly and will announce the winners, if any, soon.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Monday, November 6, 2017

Who Will Be Named to Topps 2017 All-Star Rookie Team?

I know I promised to post this last week, but between interviews and personal commitments, this got stalled. But since I ran the contest this year, I thought I'd get this on now before the official announcement from Topps.

The contest deadline has past and I am no longer taking any entries for the big All-Star Rookie Team contest. I thank everyone who took time to participate. There were a lot of interesting choices amongst the field of participants, so I am wishing myself the best. This could get mighty expensive if I make enough mistakes.

By now, the Topps Company should have already decided who is going to be part of the 2017 Topps All-Star Rookie Team, and will get that lovely gold trophy added to their 2018 Topps baseball cards. So without further ado, here are my picks for the 2017 Topps All-Star Rookie team. If you out-guessed me, participants who have already sent their entries to my e-mail address could win a complete 150-card set of 2005 Topps Rookie Cup (contest rules here):
  • 1B: Josh Bell, PIT (159 G, 0.255, 26 HR, 90 RBI, 0.800 OPS, 2 SB)
  • 2B: Paul DeJong, STL (108 G, 0.285, 26 HR, 65 RBI, 0.857 OPS, 1 SB)
  • 3B: Matt Davidson, CWS (118 G, 0.220, 26 HR, 68 RBI, 0.711 OPS, 0 SB)
  • SS: Dansby Swanson, ATL (144 G, 0.232, 6 HR, 51 RBI, 0.636 OPS, 3 SB)
  • OF: Cody Bellinger, LAD (132 G, 0.267, 39 HR, 97 RBI, 0.933 OPS, 10 SB)
  • OF: Andrew Benintendi, BOS (151 G, 0.271, 20 HR, 90 RBI, 0.776 OPS, 20 SB)
  • OF: Aaron Judge, NYY (155 G, 0.284, 52 HR, 114 RBI, 1.049 OPS, 9 SB)
  • C: Manny Pina, MIL (107 G, 0.279, 9 HR, 43 RBI, 0.751 OPS, 2 SB)
  • RHSP: German Marquez, COL (29 GS, 11-7, 4.39 ERA, 147 SO, 1.376 WHIP)
  • LHSP: Jordan Montgomery, NYY (29 GS, 9-7, 3.88 ERA, 144 SO, 1.229 WHIP)
  • RP: Wandy Peralta, CIN (67 G, 3-4, 3.76 ERA, 57 SO, 1.190 WHIP, 0 SV)

For sure there will be players like Ian Happ of the Cubs, Rhys Hoskins of the Phillies, Trey Mancini of the Orioles, Matt Olsen of the Athletics who will warrant consideration, as well as Rockies rookie pitchers Anthony Senzatela, and Kyle Freeland, as well as Keynan Middleton of the Angels and Jharel Cotton of the Athletics.

Let the debates begin!!! And good luck to everybody. Now...we wait.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama