Friday, January 23, 2015

RIP Ernie Banks 1931-2015

Just saw the news tonight. Ernie Banks passed away today at the age of 83 years old (he would have turned 84 at the end of January).


No, I never saw him play. I don't own an actual card of his during his playing days (from 1953-1971). But for as long as I've been alive, he was a Cub legend. He was "Mr. Cub."

His statistics were more than enough to get him into Baseball's Hall of Fame in 1977: 2528 Games, .274 average, 512 home runs, 1636 rbi's, .500 slugging percentage, .830 OPS. He appeared in 14 All-Star Games in 11 seasons (remember, they played two ASG's for a time).

His number 14 was the first to be retired by the Cubs.

Between he, Ron Santo, Billy Williams, and Ferguson Jenkins, they were so close to the promised land of the World Series, but then...you know.

But after his playing days, he became one of baseball's great ambassadors. "It's a beautiful day for a ballgame... Let's play two!" a quote that's been attributed to him because of his love of the game. He served in the Army and played in the Negro Leagues before signing with the Cubs, becoming the team's first African-American player.

He was one of baseball's great ambassadors. He was truly, one of baseball's greatest players.

My condolences go out to the Banks family, the Cubs organization, Major League Baseball, and the fans. Not just Cubs fans, but all baseball fans. We have lost a legend.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The 2015 Topps Series 1 Checklist is Now Live!



As they promised last week, Topps has released the 2015 Topps Baseball Series 1 Checklist.

Before we get to the guts of the list, they also posted one more picture:


These are the rainbow foil parallels. Now I don't collect parallels, and some took to the twitterverse wishing that these weren't going to be included, but they look nice, and if I get one in a pack, I'd be happy with it. I mean, with the color scheme of the cards for this year's design, they do look pretty in the light...

But I digress...

The checklist is out. Not only are there 350 base cards (1-6, 8-351...the seven is really gone), but there are a ton of inserts that look to be split between the Hobby shops, the retail stores, and both in terms of exclusivity.

Now understand, I'm only listing the checklists for the base and basic inserts sets. No relics, no autos, no auto-relics, no manufactured relics. Just the cards I'd be willing to collect for this product. So, without further ado, here is the base checklist:

BASE:

1 Derek Jeter New York Yankees
2 Jose Altuve/Victor Martinez/Michael Brantley LEAGUE LEADERS
3 Rene Rivera San Diego Padres
4 Curtis Granderson New York Mets
5 Josh Donaldson Oakland Athletics
6 Jayson Werth Washington Nationals
8 Miguel Gonzalez Baltimore Orioles
9 Hunter Pence San Francisco Giants WORLD SERIES HIGHLIGHTS
10 Cole Hamels Philadelphia Phillies
11 Jon Jay St. Louis Cardinals
12 James McCann Detroit Tigers Rookie
13 Toronto Blue Jays
14 Kendall Graveman Toronto Blue Jays Rookie
15 Joey Votto Cincinnati Reds
16 David DeJesus Tampa Bay Rays
17 Brian McCann New York Yankees
18 Cody Allen Cleveland Indians
19 Baltimore Orioles
20 Madison Bumgarner San Francisco Giants
21 Brett Gardner New York Yankees
22 Tyler Flowers Chicago White Sox
23 Michael Bourn Cleveland Indians
24 New York Mets
25 Jose Bautista Toronto Blue Jays
26 Bryce Brentz Boston Red Sox Rookie
27 Kendrys Morales Seattle Mariners
28 Alex Cobb Tampa Bay Rays
29 Brandon Belt San Francisco Giants 2014 BASEBALL HIGHLIGHTS
30 Tanner Roark Washington Nationals Future Star
31 Nick Tropeano Houston Astros Rookie
32 Carlos Quentin San Diego Padres
33 Oakland Athletics
34 Charlie Blackmon Colorado Rockies
35 Brandon Moss Oakland Athletics
36 Julio Teheran Atlanta Braves
37 Arismendy Alcantara Chicago Cubs Future Star
38 Jordan Zimmermann Washington Nationals
39 Salvador Perez Kansas City Royals
40 Joakim Soria Detroit Tigers
41 Chris Colabello Minnesota Twins
42 Todd Frazier Cincinnati Reds
43 Starlin Castro Chicago Cubs
44 Gio Gonzalez Washington Nationals
45 Carlos Beltran New York Yankees
46 Wilson Ramos Washington Nationals
47 Anthony Rizzo Chicago Cubs
48 John Axford Pittsburgh Pirates
49 Dominic Leone Seattle Mariners
50 Yu Darvish Texas Rangers
51 Ryan Howard Philadelphia Phillies
52 Fernando Rodney Seattle Mariners
53 Nathan Eovaldi Miami Marlins
54 Joe Nathan Detroit Tigers
55 Trevor May Minnesota Twins Rookie
56 Matt Garza Milwaukee Brewers
57 Lyle Overbay Milwaukee Brewers
58 Evan Gattis Atlanta Braves Future Star
59 Jake Odorizzi Tampa Bay Rays
60 Michael Wacha St. Louis Cardinals
61 Johnny Cueto/Clayton Kershaw/Adam Wainwright LEAGUE LEADERS
62 Nolan Arenado Colorado Rockies
63 Chris Owings Arizona Diamondbacks Future Star
64 Atlanta Braves
65 Alexei Ramirez Chicago White Sox
66 Vance Worley Pittsburgh Pirates
67 Hunter Pence San Francisco Giants
68 Lonnie Chisenhall Cleveland Indians
69 Justin Upton Atlanta Braves
70 Charlie Furbush Seattle Mariners
71 Adrian Beltre Texas Rangers 2014 BASEBALL HIGHLIGHTS
72 Jordan Lyles Colorado Rockies
73 Freddie Freeman Atlanta Braves
74 Tyler Skaggs Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
75 Dustin Pedroia Boston Red Sox
76 Ian Kennedy San Diego Padres
77 Edwin Escobar Boston Red Sox Rookie
78 Yordano Ventura Kansas City Royals
79 Starling Marte Pittsburgh Pirates
80 Adam Wainwright St. Louis Cardinals
81 Chris Young Seattle Mariners
82 Nick Tepesch Texas Rangers
83 David Wright New York Mets
84 Jonathan Schoop Baltimore Orioles
85 Adam Wainwright/Johnny Cueto/Clayton Kershaw LEAGUE LEADERS
86 Tim Hudson San Francisco Giants
87 Eric Sogard Oakland Athletics
88 Madison Bumgarner San Francisco Giants WORLD SERIES HIGHLIGHTS
89 Michael Choice Texas Rangers
90 Marcus Stroman Toronto Blue Jays Future Star
91 Corey Dickerson Colorado Rockies
92 Ian Kinsler Detroit Tigers
93 Andre Ethier Los Angeles Dodgers
94 Tommy Kahnle Colorado Rockies
95 Junior Lake Chicago Cubs
96 Sergio Santos Toronto Blue Jays
97 Dalton Pompey Toronto Blue Jays Rookie
98 Mike Trout/Nelson Cruz/Miguel Cabrera LEAGUE LEADERS
99 Yonder Alonso San Diego Padres
100 Clayton Kershaw Los Angeles Dodgers
101 Scooter Gennett Milwaukee Brewers
102 Gordon Beckham Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
103 Guilder Rodriguez Texas Rangers Rookie
104 Bud Norris Baltimore Orioles
105 Jeff Baker Miami Marlins
106 Pedro Alvarez Pittsburgh Pirates
107 James Loney Tampa Bay Rays
108 Jorge Soler Chicago Cubs Rookie
109 Doug Fister Washington Nationals
110 Tony Sipp Houston Astros
111 Trevor Bauer Cleveland Indians
112 Daniel Nava Boston Red Sox
113 Jason Castro Houston Astros
114 Mike Zunino Seattle Mariners
115 Khris Davis Milwaukee Brewers
116 Vidal Nuno Arizona Diamondbacks
117 Sean Doolittle Oakland Athletics
118 Domonic Brown Philadelphia Phillies
119 Anibal Sanchez Detroit Tigers
120 Yoenis Cespedes Boston Red Sox
121 Garrett Jones Miami Marlins
122 Corey Kluber Cleveland Indians
123 Ben Revere Philadelphia Phillies
124 Mark Melancon Pittsburgh Pirates
125 Troy Tulowitzki Colorado Rockies
126 Detroit Tigers
127 Andrew McCutchen/Justin Morneau/Josh Harrison LEAGUE LEADERS
128 Anthony Swarzak Minnesota Twins
129 Jacob deGrom New York Mets Future Star
130 Mike Napoli Boston Red Sox
131 Edward Mujica Boston Red Sox
132 Michael Taylor Washington Nationals Rookie
133 Daisuke Matsuzaka New York Mets
134 Brett Lawrie Toronto Blue Jays
135 Matt Dominguez Houston Astros
136 Manny Machado Baltimore Orioles
137 Alcides Escobar Kansas City Royals
138 Tim Lincecum San Francisco Giants
139 Gary Brown San Francisco Giants Rookie
140 Alex Avila Detroit Tigers
141 Cory Spangenberg San Diego Padres Rookie
142 Masahiro Tanaka New York Yankees Future Star
143 Jonathan Papelbon Philadelphia Phillies
144 Rusney Castillo Boston Red Sox Rookie
145 Jesse Hahn San Diego Padres
146 Tony Watson Pittsburgh Pirates
147 Andrew Heaney Miami Marlins Future Star
148 J.D. Martinez Detroit Tigers
149 Daniel Murphy New York Mets
150 Giancarlo Stanton Miami Marlins
151 C.J. Cron Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Future Star
152 Michael Pineda New York Yankees
153 Josh Reddick Oakland Athletics
154 Brandon Finnegan Kansas City Royals Rookie
155 Jesse Chavez Oakland Athletics
156 Santiago Casilla San Francisco Giants
157 Ubaldo Jimenez Baltimore Orioles
158 Kevin Kiermaier Tampa Bay Rays Future Star
159 Brandon Crawford San Francisco Giants
160 Washington Nationals
161 Howie Kendrick Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
162 Drew Pomeranz Oakland Athletics
163 Chase Utley Philadelphia Phillies
164 Brian Schlitter Chicago Cubs
165 John Jaso Oakland Athletics
166 Jenrry Mejia New York Mets
167 Matt Cain San Francisco Giants
168 Colorado Rockies
169 Adam Jones Baltimore Orioles
170 Tommy Medica San Diego Padres
171 Mike Foltynewicz Houston Astros Rookie
172 Didi Gregorius Arizona Diamondbacks
173 Carlos Torres New York Mets
174 Jesus Guzman Houston Astros
175 Adrian Beltre Texas Rangers
176 Jose Abreu Chicago White Sox Future Star
177 Paul Konerko Chicago White Sox
178 Christian Yelich Miami Marlins
179 Jason Vargas Kansas City Royals
180 Steve Pearce Baltimore Orioles
181 Jason Heyward Atlanta Braves
182 Devin Mesoraco Cincinnati Reds
183 Craig Gentry Oakland Athletics
184 B.J. Upton Atlanta Braves
185 Ricky Nolasco Minnesota Twins
186 Rex Brothers Colorado Rockies
187 Marlon Byrd Philadelphia Phillies
188 Madison Bumgarner San Francisco Giants WORLD SERIES HIGHLIGHTS
189 Dustin Ackley Seattle Mariners
190 Zach Britton Baltimore Orioles
191 Yimi Garcia Los Angeles Dodgers Rookie
192 Joc Pederson Los Angeles Dodgers Rookie
193 Buck Farmer Detroit Tigers Rookie
194 David Murphy Cleveland Indians
195 Garrett Richards Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
196 Chicago Cubs
197 Glen Perkins Minnesota Twins
198 Alexi Ogando Texas Rangers
199 Eric Young Jr. New York Mets
200 Miguel Cabrera Detroit Tigers
201 Tommy La Stella Atlanta Braves
202 Mike Minor Atlanta Braves
203 Paul Goldschmidt Arizona Diamondbacks
204 Eduardo Escobar Minnesota Twins
205 Josh Harrison Pittsburgh Pirates
206 Rick Porcello Detroit Tigers
207 Bryce Harper Washington Nationals
208 Wilin Rosario Colorado Rockies
209 Daniel Corcino Cincinnati Reds Rookie
210 Salvador Perez Kansas City Royals 2014 BASEBALL HIGHLIGHTS
211 Clay Buchholz Boston Red Sox
212 Cliff Lee Philadelphia Phillies
213 Jered Weaver Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
214 Corey Kluber/Max Scherzer/Jered Weaver LEAGUE LEADERS
215 Alejandro De Aza Baltimore Orioles
216 Greg Holland Kansas City Royals
217 Daniel Norris Toronto Blue Jays Rookie
218 David Buchanan Philadelphia Phillies
219 Kennys Vargas Minnesota Twins
220 Shelby Miller St. Louis Cardinals
221 Jason Kipnis Cleveland Indians
222 Antonio Bastardo Philadelphia Phillies
223 Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
224 Bryan Mitchell New York Yankees Rookie
225 Jacoby Ellsbury New York Yankees
226 Dioner Navarro Toronto Blue Jays
227 Madison Bumgarner San Francisco Giants WORLD SERIES HIGHLIGHTS
228 Jake Peavy San Francisco Giants
229 Bryan Morris Miami Marlins
230 Jean Segura Milwaukee Brewers
231 Andrew Cashner San Diego Padres
232 Andrew Susac San Francisco Giants
233 Carlos Ruiz Philadelphia Phillies
234 Brandon Belt San Francisco Giants
235 Jeremy Guthrie Kansas City Royals
236 Zack Wheeler New York Mets
237 Lucas Duda New York Mets
238 Hyun-Jin Ryu Los Angeles Dodgers
239 Jose Iglesias Detroit Tigers
240 Anthony Ranaudo Boston Red Sox Rookie
241 Dilson Herrera New York Mets Rookie
242 Edwin Encarnacion Toronto Blue Jays
243 Al Alburquerque Detroit Tigers
244 Bartolo Colon New York Mets
245 Tyler Colvin San Francisco Giants
246 Chris Carter Houston Astros
247 Aaron Hill Arizona Diamondbacks
248 Addison Reed Arizona Diamondbacks
249 Jose Reyes Toronto Blue Jays
250 Evan Longoria Tampa Bay Rays
251 Anthony Rendon Washington Nationals
252 Travis Wood Chicago Cubs
253 Gregory Polanco Pittsburgh Pirates Future Star
254 Steve Cishek Miami Marlins
255 James Russell Atlanta Braves
256 Adam Eaton Chicago White Sox
257 Jarrod Saltalamacchia Miami Marlins
258 Kansas City Royals
259 Brian Dozier Minnesota Twins
260 David Peralta Arizona Diamondbacks
261 Lance Lynn St. Louis Cardinals
262 Ryan Braun Milwaukee Brewers
263 Dillon Gee New York Mets
264 Tony Cingrani Cincinnati Reds
265 Arizona Diamondbacks
266 Brandon Phillips Cincinnati Reds
267 Zack Greinke Los Angeles Dodgers
268 Aroldis Chapman Cincinnati Reds
269 Jordy Mercer Pittsburgh Pirates
270 Steven Moya Detroit Tigers Rookie
271 Pittsburgh Pirates
272 Matt Kemp Los Angeles Dodgers
273 Brandon Hicks San Francisco Giants
274 Ryan Zimmerman Washington Nationals
275 Buster Posey San Francisco Giants
276 Conor Gillaspie Chicago White Sox
277 Cincinnati Reds
278 David Phelps New York Yankees
279 Coco Crisp Oakland Athletics
280 Miguel Montero Arizona Diamondbacks
281 Elvis Andrus Texas Rangers
282 Alex Presley Houston Astros
283 Chris Johnson Atlanta Braves
284 Brandon League Los Angeles Dodgers
285 Chris Carter/Mike Trout/Nelson Cruz LEAGUE LEADERS
286 Trevor Rosenthal St. Louis Cardinals
287 Everth Cabrera San Diego Padres
288 Chris Parmelee Minnesota Twins
289 Matt Joyce Tampa Bay Rays
290 David Lough Baltimore Orioles
291 Mark Reynolds Milwaukee Brewers
292 Neil Walker Pittsburgh Pirates
293 Zach Duke Milwaukee Brewers
294 Aaron Sanchez Toronto Blue Jays Future Star
295 Erick Aybar Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
296 Charlie Morton Pittsburgh Pirates
297 Scott Kazmir Oakland Athletics
298 Rymer Liriano San Diego Padres Rookie
299 Joaquin Arias San Francisco Giants
300 Mike Trout Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
301 Zack Cozart Cincinnati Reds
302 Martin Prado New York Yankees
303 Ike Davis Pittsburgh Pirates
304 Shawn Kelley New York Yankees
305 Sonny Gray Oakland Athletics
306 Juan Lagares New York Mets Future Star
307 Mark Teixeira New York Yankees
308 Carl Crawford Los Angeles Dodgers
309 Maikel Franco Philadelphia Phillies Rookie
310 Jake Lamb Arizona Diamondbacks Rookie
311 Jhonny Peralta St. Louis Cardinals
312 Kyle Lobstein Detroit Tigers Rookie
313 Anthony Rizzo/Giancarlo Stanton/Lucas Duda LEAGUE LEADERS
314 Jackie Bradley Jr. Boston Red Sox
315 Javier Baez Chicago Cubs Rookie
316 R.A. Dickey Toronto Blue Jays
317 Clayton Kershaw Los Angeles Dodgers 2014 BASEBALL HIGHLIGHTS
318 George Springer Houston Astros Future Star
319 Derek Jeter New York Yankees 2014 BASEBALL HIGHLIGHTS
320 Shin-Soo Choo Texas Rangers
321 Josh Hamilton Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
322 Phil Hughes Minnesota Twins
323 Eric Hosmer Kansas City Royals
324 Chris Archer Tampa Bay Rays
325 Felix Hernandez Seattle Mariners
326 C.J. Wilson Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
327 Xander Bogaerts Boston Red Sox Future Star
328 Adrian Gonzalez Los Angeles Dodgers
329 Logan Forsythe Tampa Bay Rays
330 Brian Duensing Minnesota Twins
331 Danny Espinosa Washington Nationals
332 Kyle Seager Seattle Mariners
333 Billy Hamilton Cincinnati Reds Future Star
334 Gerardo Parra Milwaukee Brewers
335 Matt Barnes Boston Red Sox Rookie
336 Matt Carpenter St. Louis Cardinals
337 Jedd Gyorko San Diego Padres
338 Yasmani Grandal San Diego Padres
339 Austin Jackson Seattle Mariners
340 Carlos Gomez Milwaukee Brewers
341 Corey Kluber/Chris Sale/Felix Hernandez LEAGUE LEADERS
342 San Diego Padres
343 Shane Greene New York Yankees
344 Manny Parra Cincinnati Reds
345 Brandon Cumpton Pittsburgh Pirates
346 Trevor Cahill Arizona Diamondbacks
347 Dexter Fowler Houston Astros
348 Carlos Santana Cleveland Indians
349 Justin Upton/Adrian Gonzalez/Giancarlo Stanton LEAGUE LEADERS
350 Yasiel Puig Los Angeles Dodgers
351 Tom Koehler Miami Marlins

The breakdown:
  • 269 Veterans
  • 30 Rookie Cards
  • 17 Future Stars
  • 15 Team Cards
  • 10 League Leaders
  • 5 2014 Baseball Highlights
  • 4 World Series Highlights
Number one on the checklist, recently retired Derek Jeter. Personally, it would have been fitting if he was card #2 (get it?). People on the twitter were complaining about Jeter being included in this set. But hey, retired players have been in sets when they're already out of baseball (See Mark McGwire in 2001, Tony Gwynn in 2002, and Paul Konerko in 2014. Yes, he's in here too.

Now, Topps brought back the Future Stars subset for 2015. But instead of picking 17 guys who might never pan out (ala Tim Pyznarski), some of the subjects the company chose were among the ones who were voted as 2014 Topps All-Star Rookies (with that glorious ASRT Rookie Cup).

Team cards, I noticed made a comeback, for the first time since 2011. Now, was NOT WHAT I WAS THINKING ABOUT when it was announced that the set would be 700 cards. That means of the 40 extra cards for this set, after the 30 team cards, only 10 cards are left for whatever. So much for extra players.

Of the 30 Rookie Card-eligible players in Series 1, 5 come from the Red Sox, 4 from the Tigers, 3 are from the Blue Jays, and the rest consist of players from the Diamondbacks, Cubs, Reds, Astros, Royals, Dodgers, Twins, Mets, Yankees, Phillies, Giants, Padres, Rangers, and Nationals. None made their debut before August 1, 2014. As a Cubs fan, seeing both Baez and Soler on the checklist makes me happy. The RC class also includes Brandon Finnegan, who bolted his way from the 2014 MLB Draft to the World Series and my new favorite name, George Runie Farmer, aka Buck Farmer, of the Tigers.

The five season highlight cards will serve as checklists, as they have since 2011.

Now, on to the inserts. Many we've already seen on the sell sheets. Others are brand spanking new. There are at least four retail (that would be Walmart, Target, Toys r Us, etc) exclusive insert sets. Here we go:

ARCHETYPES
A-1 Rickey Henderson Oakland Athletics
A-2 Mariano Rivera New York Yankees
A-3 Steve Carlton Philadelphia Phillies
A-4 Mike Trout Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
A-5 Yasiel Puig Los Angeles Dodgers
A-6 Yoenis Cespedes Boston Red Sox
A-7 Paul Goldschmidt Arizona Diamondbacks
A-8 Giancarlo Stanton Miami Marlins
A-9 Buster Posey San Francisco Giants
A-10 Babe Ruth New York Yankees
A-11 Mark McGwire St. Louis Cardinals
A-12 Derek Jeter New York Yankees
A-13 Cal Ripken Jr. Baltimore Orioles
A-14 Nolan Ryan Texas Rangers
A-15 Mike Piazza New York Mets
A-16 Johnny Bench Cincinnati Reds
A-17 Tony Gwynn San Diego Padres
A-18 Ted Williams Boston Red Sox
A-19 Albert Pujols Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
A-20 Greg Maddux Atlanta Braves
A-21 Jackie Robinson Brooklyn Dodgers
A-22 Hank Aaron Atlanta Braves
A-23 Willie Mays San Francisco Giants
A-24 Ty Cobb Detroit Tigers
A-25 Ken Griffey Jr. Seattle Mariners

HIGHLIGHT OF THE YEAR
H-1 Lou Gehrig New York Yankees
H-2 Babe Ruth New York Yankees
H-3 Babe Ruth New York Yankees
H-4 Bob Feller Cleveland Indians
H-5 Stan Musial St. Louis Cardinals
H-6 Ted Williams Boston Red Sox
H-7 NEW YORK GIANTS Win The Pennant
H-8 Ted Williams Boston Red Sox
H-9 Enos Slaughter St. Louis Cardinals
H-10 Ernie Banks Chicago Cubs
H-11 Roger Maris New York Yankees
H-12 Roger Maris New York Yankees
H-13 Warren Spahn Milwaukee Braves
H-14 Brooks Robinson Baltimore Orioles
H-15 Juan Marichal San Francisco Giants
H-16 Catfish Hunter Oakland Athletics
H-17 Nolan Ryan California Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
H-18 Willie McCovey San Diego Padres
H-19 Mike Schmidt Philadelphia Phillies
H-20 Fergie Jenkins Texas Rangers
H-21 Fernando Valenzuela Los Angeles Dodgers
H-22 Nolan Ryan Houston Astros
H-23 Jose Canseco Oakland Athletics
H-24 Derek Jeter New York Yankees
H-25 Mark McGwire St. Louis Cardinals
H-26 Nomar Garciaparra Boston Red Sox
H-27 Cal Ripken Jr. Baltimore Orioles
H-28 Josh Beckett Florida Marlins
H-29 Justin Verlander Detroit Tigers
H-30 Miguel Cabrera Detroit Tigers

INSPIRATIONS
I-1 Manny Machado/Cal Ripken Jr. Baltimore Orioles
I-2 Ken Griffey Jr/Robinson Cano Seattle Mariners
I-3 Don Mattingly/Mark Teixeira New York Yankees
I-4 Al Kaline/Miguel Cabrera Detroit Tigers
I-5 Steve Carlton/Cole Hamels Philadelphia Phillies
I-6 Rod Carew/Joe Mauer Minnesota Twins
I-7 Clayton Kershaw/Fernando Valenzuela Los Angeles Dodgers
I-8 Jim Rice/Yoenis Cespedes Boston Red Sox
I-9 Stan Musial/Mark McGwire St. Louis Cardinals
I-10 Fred McGriff/Freddie Freeman Atlanta Braves
I-11 Tom Seaver/Matt Harvey New York Mets
I-12 Jose Abreu/Frank Thomas Chicago White Sox
I-13 Craig Kimbrel/John Smoltz Atlanta Braves
I-14 Randy Johnson/Felix Hernandez Seattle Mariners
I-15 Andrew McCutchen/Willie Stargell Pittsburgh Pirates

GALLERY OF GREATS
GG-1 Clayton Kershaw Los Angeles Dodgers
GG-2 Frank Thomas Chicago White Sox
GG-3 Derek Jeter New York Yankees
GG-4 Ken Griffey Jr. Seattle Mariners
GG-5 Tom Glavine Atlanta Braves
GG-6 Mike Piazza New York Mets
GG-7 Mark McGwire St. Louis Cardinals
GG-8 Roger Clemens Boston Red Sox
GG-9 Miguel Cabrera Detroit Tigers
GG-10 Cal Ripken Jr. Baltimore Orioles
GG-11 Yasiel Puig Los Angeles Dodgers
GG-12 Steve Carlton Philadelphia Phillies
GG-13 Hanley Ramirez Los Angeles Dodgers
GG-14 Willie Mays New York Giants
GG-15 Sandy Koufax Brooklyn Dodgers
GG-16 Hank Aaron Milwaukee Braves
GG-17 Albert Pujols Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
GG-18 Bryce Harper Washington Nationals
GG-19 Mariano Rivera New York Yankees
GG-20 Jackie Robinson Brooklyn Dodgers
GG-21 Joe DiMaggio New York Yankees
GG-22 Babe Ruth New York Yankees
GG-23 Roberto Clemente Pittsburgh Pirates
GG-24 Nolan Ryan Texas Rangers
GG-25 Tony Gwynn San Diego Padres

BASEBALL HISTORY
1A Geneva Conference begins
1B Hank Aaron Milwaukee Braves
2A Polio Vaccine announced as safe
2B Robin Roberts Philadelphia Phillies
3A American Bandstand debuts
3B Red Schoendienst Milwaukee Braves
4A Nixon / Kennedy debate
4B Ted Williams Boston Red Sox
5A MLK leads march on Washington
5B Warren Spahn Milwaukee Braves
6A Apollo 11
6B Tom Seaver New York Mets
7A Top 40 Countdown premiers
7B Hank Aaron Atlanta Braves
8A Gerald Ford sworn in as President of USA
8B Nolan Ryan California Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
9A Apple founded
9B Reggie Jackson Baltimore Orioles
10A ESPN's first broadcast
10B Bruce Sutter Chicago Cubs
11A CNN begins broadcasting
11B Darryl Strawberry New York Mets
12A Space Shuttle Columbia launches
12B Fernando Valenzuela Los Angeles Dodgers
13A Sandra Day O'Connor sworn in
13B Steve Carlton Philadelphia Phillies
14A Live Aid concert
14B Nolan Ryan Houston Astros
15A Clinton earns Democratic nomination
15B Ken Griffey Jr. Seattle Mariners

FREE AGENT 40
F40-1 Albert Pujols Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
F40-2 Robinson Cano Seattle Mariners
F40-3 CC Sabathia New York Yankees
F40-4 Nolan Ryan Houston Astros
F40-5 Goose Gossage New York Yankees
F40-6 David Ortiz Boston Red Sox
F40-7 Andre Dawson Chicago Cubs
F40-8 Greg Maddux Atlanta Braves
F40-9 Alex Rodriguez Texas Rangers
F40-10 Randy Johnson Arizona Diamondbacks
F40-11 Reggie Jackson New York Yankees
F40-12 Carlton Fisk Chicago White Sox
F40-13 David Cone Kansas City Royals
F40-14 Roger Clemens Houston Astros
F40-15 Ivan Rodriguez Florida Marlins

FIRST PITCH INSERT
FP-01 Jeff Bridges Los Angeles Dodgers
FP-02 Jack White Detroit Tigers
FP-03 McKayla Maroney Chicago White Sox
FP-04 Eddie Vedder Chicago Cubs
FP-05 Biz Markie Oakland Athletics
FP-06 Agnes McKee San Diego Padres
FP-07 Austin Mahone Atlanta Braves
FP-08 Jermaine Jones Los Angeles Dodgers
FP-09 Tom Willis Kansas City Royals
FP-10 Graham Elliot Chicago Cubs
FP-11 Tom Morello Chicago Cubs
FP-12 Macklemore Seattle Mariners
FP-13 Suzy Los Angeles Dodgers
FP-14 50 Cent New York Mets
FP-15 Meb Keflezighi Boston Red Sox

RETAIL EXCLUSIVE

ROBBED
R-1 Dustin Ackley Seattle Mariners
R-2 Alexi Amarista San Diego Padres
R-3 Jacoby Ellsbury New York Yankees
R-4 Carlos Gomez Milwaukee Brewers
R-5 Josh Hamilton Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
R-6 Jason Heyward Atlanta Braves
R-7 Ryan Ludwick Cincinnati Reds
R-8 Michael Morse San Francisco Giants
R-9 Yasiel Puig Los Angeles Dodgers
R-10 Colby Rasmus Toronto Blue Jays
R-11 Ben Revere Philadelphia Phillies
R-12 George Springer Houston Astros
R-13 Giancarlo Stanton Miami Marlins
R-14 Mike Trout Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
R-15 Mookie Betts Boston Red Sox

FIRST HOME RUN
FHR-01 Jorge Soler Chicago Cubs
FHR-02 Andrew McCutchen Pittsburgh Pirates
FHR-03 David Wright New York Mets
FHR-04 Robinson Cano New York Yankees
FHR-05 Derek Jeter New York Yankees
FHR-06 Bryce Harper Washington Nationals
FHR-07 Mike Moustakas Kansas City Royals
FHR-08 Eric Hosmer Kansas City Royals
FHR-09 Matt Carpenter St. Louis Cardinals
FHR-10 Chipper Jones Atlanta Braves
FHR-11 Anthony Rizzo San Diego Padres
FHR-12 Jason Heyward Atlanta Braves
FHR-13 Javier Baez Chicago Cubs
FHR-14 Yasiel Puig Los Angeles Dodgers
FHR-15 Alex Rodriguez Seattle Mariners
FHR-16 Matt Adams St. Louis Cardinals
FHR-17 Adam Dunn Cincinnati Reds
FHR-18 Buster Posey San Francisco Giants
FHR-19 Paul Konerko Los Angeles Dodgers
FHR-20 Adrian Gonzalez Texas Rangers
FHR-21 Jose Bautista Pittsburgh Pirates
FHR-22 Josh Hamilton Cincinnati Reds
FHR-23 Chase Utley Philadelphia Phillies
FHR-24 Ryan Howard Philadelphia Phillies
FHR-25 Joey Votto Cincinnati Reds
FHR-26 Adam Jones Seattle Mariners
FHR-27 Chris Davis Texas Rangers
FHR-28 Don Mattingly New York Yankees
FHR-29 Joe Mauer Minnesota Twins
FHR-30 Jose Abreu Chicago White Sox
FHR-31 Yoenis Cespedes Oakland Athletics
FHR-32 Paul Goldschmidt Arizona Diamondbacks
FHR-33 Freddie Freeman Atlanta Braves
FHR-34 Mike Trout Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
FHR-35 Evan Longoria Tampa Bay Rays
FHR-36 Victor Martinez Cleveland Indians
FHR-37 Mike Piazza Los Angeles Dodgers
FHR-38 Troy Tulowitzki Colorado Rockies
FHR-39 Dustin Pedroia Boston Red Sox
FHR-40 Deion Sanders New York Yankees

THE JACKIE ROBINSON STORY
JR-1 Two-Sport College Star
JR-2 Serving his country
JR-3 .387 with Kansas City
JR-4 Robinson Signs with the Dodgers
JR-5 Robinson Travels North
JR-6 Breaking the MLB Color Barrier
JR-7 NL MVP in 1949
JR-8 World Series Title in 1955
JR-9 Call to The Hall
JR-10 Number 42 Retired across MLB

THE BABE RUTH STORY
BR-1 St. Mary's Industrial School Student
BR-2 Hometown Hero Baltimore
BR-3 Red Sox Double Threat Boston Red Sox
BR-4 Postseason Pitching Phenom Boston Red Sox
BR-5 From Hurler to Hitter Boston Red Sox
BR-6 The Home Run King New York Yankees
BR-7 MVP in '23 New York Yankees
BR-8 Murderer's Row Member New York Yankees
BR-9 The Called Shot New York Yankees
BR-10 The Babe becomes a media star New York Yankees

Notes:

It hasn't been announced how the retail sets are split. I highly doubt both Walmart and Target would be willing to share exclusives. So one store should get the Babe Ruth story, the other Jackie Robinson.

The First Home Run and Robbed inserts look to be blaster exclusives. The First Home Run set, at 40 cards, that's a bit too big for one store to carry in one series.

I would have preferred the First Pitch set to be a retail set as well. The subjects chosen, all unique: mostly musicians, a Olympic gymnast, and some people I've never heard of. So let's review:
  • Jeff Bridges, actor, "The Dude"
  • Jack White, White Stripes
  • McKayla Maroney, Olympic Gold Winning Gymnast
  • Eddie Vedder, Pearl Jam
  • Biz Markie, more than "Just a Friend"
  • Agnes McKee, 105-year old from Indiana who threw out a first pitch in San Diego honoring the Veterans
  • Austin Mahone, a singer...I guess...my daughter probably has heard of him
  • Jermaine Jones, New England Revolution midfielder
  • Tom Willis, whose goal is to throw out a first pitch at all 30 stadiums...did I mention he doesn't have arms?
  • Graham Elliot, Chicago chef who hangs out with Gordon Ramsey making and breaking kids' hearts on MasterChef Junior (and MasterChef)
  • Tom Morello, Rage Against the Machine
  • Macklemore, rapper, frequent "Thrift Shop" customer
  • Suzy, a K-POP (that would be Korean) singer
  • 50 Cent, rapper, entrepreneur, worst first pitch EVER
  • Meb Keflezighi, Eritrean-born American marathon runner who recently won the 2014 Boston Marathon
I can't wait for February 4, when these cards go live. Must save for a master set.

It's time to get closer to the game. You ready??!

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Monday, January 19, 2015

A Long Overdue Update to the Sports Card Blogroll.

It's been too long since I last did this, and I feel really bad for letting things get this bad at the Sports Card Blogroll. But it's about time I clean it up and remove the blogs that haven't been posting for the last six months or more (I think I saw one that hasn't done anything in a year...A YEAR!!).

It pains me to do this because it means that the number of blogs on the active site may go down to under 300, and that's not a good thing. We need more voices to add to the Hobby Blogging Community, and I'm hoping that the number goes back up. Now, because I wasn't consistent in my blogroll maintenance, I'll compare where the roll was a year ago to where it is now.

After maintenance in January, 2014, there were 315 blogs on the active roster of blogs. I have since added 42 blogs during the year, and removed at least 28, so we ended the year at 329 blogs. Including Royal Card Review, before the purge, there are 330 blogs on the active roster. The following blogs are now going to be removed after being inactive for more than six months:
Pardon me while I count the damage...33.

That's 33 blogs that will now be removed from the active roster. Not counting Royal Card Review (again, added him before the pileup), we are now down to 296 blogs on the active roster. A number that has not been seen in a very long time.

Now, I put a comment next to the 83F Project. This blog was started back on June 2, 2006 by a gentleman named Scott Mortimer. His goal was to collect autographed cards of every player who appeared in the 660-card 1983 Fleer Baseball card set. Of the 678 possible subjects (meaning some cards had more than one player), he was able to obtain 631 autographs, a bit more than 93% of the set. His blog had no words to it, just a picture of the autographed card and a link to the player's baseball-reference page. His prizes include autographed 1983 Fleer cards of Hall of Famers (Cal Ripken, Robin Yount, Carlton Fisk, Reggie Jackson, Ryne Sandberg to name a few), to players have already passed on (most recently Tony Gwynn and Bob Welch). He has another website that mentions that he's also trying for the 1990 Topps Traded set, but now word on how that is progressing.

I'm adding the 83F Project to the Retired but Relevant section of the blogroll. It doesn't look he's added anything for the last ten months, but it would be a shame to have the site vanish into obscurity.

As it stands right now, the blogroll now contains 297 active blogs, and more coming soon (have to dig up emails for some of them). It's time to start looking for new blogs to add. Maybe I'll sneak a peek into Night Owl's reading list. He always seems to find new blogs. Nachos Grande had a big hit on his hands with his "Get to Know a Blogger" series. I think there were a couple that I didn't know of before.

If you, or someone you know, has a blog that is not on the big Sports Card Blogroll, drop me a line at bdj610@hotmail.com, or send me a note on twitter @bdj610 and let me know all about it. If your blog has been inactive for a long time and you plan on making a comeback, let me know that as well so I can add you back onto the active roll.

In the six-plus years that I have been a part of the Hobby Blogging Community, I have made contact with a number of writers and readers who share the same passion about the Hobby, if not more so, than me. Over time, established media and even the card companies have acknowledged the influence bloggers have in this industry. Lately, a number of bloggers have gone on to other social media sites to maintain their online presence. But it's blogging about the Hobby that got them their start, and it's in blogging that I hope will find passionate voices, new points of view, and hopefully, a rebound in the population of the Sports Card Blogroll in 2015.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Sunday, January 18, 2015

I've Lost Count of How Many Cards I Own!!! Time for a Card Census!!!



I am a very proud Topps Baseball Card Collector. (If you've heard me spew out the resumé, bear with me please).

I own every base and traded Topps baseball card from 1976 through 2014 Topps Update Series. I also own many assorted sets, including:
  • 1983-1990 Topps All-Star Glossy Send-in Sets
  • 1984-1991 Topps All-Star Glossy Sets
  • 1984-1991 Topps All-Star Glossy Rookie Sets
  • 1984-1986 Topps Super
  • 1986-1990 Topps Mini Leaders
  • 1988-1990 Topps Big
  • 1990-1992 Topps Major League Debut
  • 1995 Topps D3
  • 1997 Topps Screenplays
  • 2001 Topps Archives
  • 2002 Topps Archives: The Best Years
  • 2003 Topps Shoebox Collection
  • 2003-2005 Topps All-Time Fan Favorites
  • 2001-2002 Topps 206 (Series 1-3)
  • 2002-2003 Topps 205 (Series 1-2)
  • 2003 Topps Cracker Jack
  • 2004 Topps Cracker Jack
  • 2005 Topps Hot Button
  • 2005 Topps Rookie Cup
  • 2005-2006 Topps Turkey Red
  • 2006-2014 Topps Allen & Ginter's
  • 2006-2014 Topps Retail Team Sets (all 30 sets from 2006, 32 since 2011)
  • 2007 Topps Turkey Red
  • 2009-2010 Topps 206
  • 2010 Topps National Chicle
  • 2010-2014 Topps Pro Debut
  • 2011-2014 Topps Gypsy Queen
  • 2012-2013 Topps Archives
I also am the proud owner of many complete insert sets that were included with Topps eponymous baseball card sets. Now, inserts have been around forever, but they really began to take prominence after the strike in 1994. I have most, if not all, of the insert sets from 1996 through 2014, and those I do not have complete cards of, I am or will be working on soon, like the
  • 2014 Topps All-Star Access
  • 2014 Topps Future Stars that Never Were
  • 2010 Blue Backs
  • 2003 Topps Nolan Ryan No Hitter Record Breakers
  • 2005 Topps Barry Bonds MVP
  • 2010-2011 Topps Legends Short-prints
  • see the want lists on the right-hand side for more
Now I have a problem.

I used to have a spreadsheet that kept track of the number of cards I have in my collection.

I have now lost that spreadsheet. I don't know why, I don't know how, but all I know is that it is lost, and I can't find it.

So there is only one thing left to do:  Start the count from scratch.

Which actually may be a good thing. Why?

Because since I started the new job, I have not really spent time in the basement where my collection is. Now forget the fact that I didn't really put much time into the blog in 2014 because of the new gig, but my collection seemed to have been ignored.

Not anymore.

I am re-setting the official count of my collection to ZERO, and am going to spend 2015 not only increasing my ever growing collection, but I'm going to take a count of the number of cards I have and, more specifically, WHAT cards I actually have.

Now, this total won't count the cards that are in boxes that I would like to use to trade, sell, give away, etc. This is for the cards that I consider a part of my collection.

I'll probably go down the line, album by album and take a headcount. And on the way, we'll know for sure exactly what I have in my collection. I don't plan on taking all year to do this, hopefully a couple of months (when I have some free time). I'll post updated numbers on the blog.

So let's set the number of cards at zero...

And let's get to work.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Black and Gold, Black and Gold

I am reminded about one of the songs my daughter and her dance troupe performed to at either a competition or a recital a few years ago. It's a song by some guy named Sam Sparro called Black and Gold.

It's one of those songs that as a parent I have to tolerate if only because I had to listen to it again and again every time the girls (and the one guy...there is always one guy in a dance troupe that's full of girls for some reason...nothing wrong with that, of course), went out to perform. As much as I'd love to torture my dwindling subscribership, I'm going to save us all our sanity by NOT linking the music video of the song (but, hey, feel free to do so after you're done reading this).

Why do I bring this up?

It has something to do with Topps' week-long preview of 2015 Topps Series 1 cards.

Yesterday, Topps posted a picture of a sheet of Topps Gold cards:


And here's an example of the finished product...so you know how the cards are going to look like after it goes through the cutter.


Well today, Topps showed off a sheet of the black parallels:


A couple of thoughts.

I don't really focus on parallel cards, but these look nice. Looking at the finished Kazmir card, I can see now where the cards are going to be cut on the sheet (look at the three rows of dots on the bottom left and compare it to the sheet. It looks like there will be a bit of wiggle room when it comes to borders (in the event of the inevitable miscut cards).

One design element that I'm starting to like but did not notice on the regular cards are the diamonds that are on either side of the picture (you can see it on the black, but more pronounced on the gold).

Final word:

Thank you for picking Cubs' players as the subject for both pictures. Jorge Soler looks like the featured player on the gold sheet, while Anthony Rizzo looks great in black.

Thanks Topps. Oh, and could you do me a favor? Could you at least show us what the BACK OF THE CARDS LOOK LIKE??! Is that too much to ask??!

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Let the Countdown Commence!!!

According to Topps' Facebook page (and probably on Twitter, I haven't checked), 2015 Topps Series 1 goes live on February 4.

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 4, 2015!!!

And to whet the appetites of the curious (and to show that they're not kidding around...feast your eyes on this:


And if the picture doesn't excite you (and if that is the case, something is horribly wrong with you), the official checklist will be revealed next Tuesday (that's in one week folks)!!! Once it goes live, I'll make sure to post it here (at least the cards that matter to me).

Are you ready??! T-minus 22 days, and counting...

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Thursday, January 8, 2015

This Blog Is Still Relevant...And I Have Proof!!!

On the twitterverse today (you can still follow me @bdj610), former Beckett employee, current Topps employee, and Sports Card Blogroll Hall of Famer Sooz (@yanxchick, you might want to follow her as well) wrote:


Once again, it's nothing new. Chris, when he was more active on his blog Stale Gum than he was on Twitter, did these all the time. And other bloggers have done their own Best Blogger of the Year Awards as well. Many times, Night Owl seems to win everyone's award for Best Blog.

And rightly so. Greg's such an incredible writer, and his posts are very entertaining. He and his blog have become the standard that many in the Hobby Blogging Community look up to for inspiration to get their creative juices flowing and add their voices and opinions to the growing pool.

Back to the point.

So Sooz, who now has the job many of us have probably have dreamed about (working for The Topps Company), wants to hold a blogging award contest. Lots of topics she has in mind include:
  • Best blog
  • Best new blog
  • Most informative
  • Best trader
Others have been contributing ideas. Dayf, the Cardboard Junkie wanted to throw in:
  • laziest blogger
  • most cluttered design
  • largest fall from grace
  • most gratuitous use of cartoon horses
  • best depiction of Mark Lemke
Now for the first three, he must have been thinking about this one-trick-pony of a blog. I can't imagine who he's referring to with the other two...

But then I see this tweet from Bob d'Angelo, a sportswriter who writes articles online about the Hobby from time to time for the Tampa Tribune, sent this response to Sooz' original tweet:


Excuse me for a minute. I just need to stare at Mr. d'Angelo's tweet for about twenty minutes...

I have been writing this humble, little blog for six years now, and will reach the 7th year some time in May. This is probably the biggest and best compliment I have ever received about my blog. And the fact that it comes from a guy who writes for a major newspaper just blows my mind. Now, my first conversation with Mr. d'Angelo took place a few years ago, when I wrote about MLB Network's special about baseball cards. He wrote about it on his blog (which I can't find the link to anymore, but here is a screen capture thanks to the Wayback Machine:


My curiosity about whose card MLB Network used to provide the background to the logo of the show, and my search to find out (you can read the original article here) got his attention.

Thank you so much for the compliment Mr. d'Angelo. I really do appreciate it.

You all can say that I'm making a big deal out of this. After all, it's just a tweet.

Well, that may be true. I try so hard not to toot my own horn around here. There are so many people who do this blogging thing way better than I do. There are many people who write a heck of a lot better than I do. But to see a professional writer say something positive about my blog just makes me want to write more. More about this Hobby that we all love. More about whatever it is that comes to mind. And definitely write more than 115 posts that I put out in 2014.

For those of you who probably want to get in on this "2014 Blog Award" thing that Sooz is doing, you may want to catch up to all of your favorites, or even find a few new ones, at The Sports Card Blogroll. I'll update the site soon (lots to add and remove). I'm THAT inspired.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama