Select The Player Who Should Be Added onto the 2014 All-Star Teams below as the HBC AL Final-Man

Select The Player Who Should Be Added onto the 2014 All-Star Teams below as the HBC NL Final-Man

Friday, November 28, 2008

What Am I Thankful For...Another Belated Holiday Post

After the usual turkey coma, and watching Bolt! with the family (kids loved it), I realized that I never got onto the computer to wish all 20 regular readers a Happy Thanksgiving. Now, I was going to try and put a Topps spin on the post, and when i get home tonight, if I can find it, I will put the most appropriate card I have on the topic of Thanksgiving here later.

Anyway, I can rattle on and on about how tough it is nowadays, but everyone already has an idea. For all the bad news out there (and it seems there is plenty), there is so much for me personally to be thankful for.

I am thankful that I have a wonderful family that gives me a reason to be alive. My wife and I have been together for 10 wonderful years, and I look forward to many more with her. Though we may have had our share of disagreements, the good times outweigh all the bad. We constantly talk about how it would be nice if we went to this place, or if we had this car, or whatever, but those are just dreams for the moment. I hope that one day that we get to realize those dreams. But for now, we just have to keep going with what we have. As with many who took this vow of marriage, I promised to be with her for richer or poorer, in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I loved her then, and I love her more so now.

I have two beautiful children who I love with all my heart. I am truly grateful to have them in my life. I may be a little strict with them about their grades in school (oh my gosh, I've become MY OWN FATHER), but to hear them laugh, and to see them show both their mother and me how much they love us makes up for all of that. I love hearing them laugh, and seeing them smile. It is for them that I work as hard as I can. Although there are many nights that I come home and they are already in bed, I make sure to give them my full attention when I am with them in the mornings before going to school. Both their mom and I have a lot of work to do raising them, but it is something that I would never exchange.

I am thankful to have a family to lean on when times are hard. My parents, who have been my support when I have nobody to turn to when I'm having troubles and give me good advice whether I ask or not. My siblings, who keep me grounded as a person (based on whatever they're doing in their lives). Even my in-laws...who help keep my wife in check and make sure that she's doing well.

I am thankful for having a steady job. I've been working at the same place for more than ten years now. Long ago, I was told that the average person lasts two years or less in one job. I have seen many people here come and go in ten years. I am grateful that I still have a place to earn a living through these troubled times.

I am thankful for having a roof over my family's head. Yes, I have to admit it's been rough at times, both financially and physically (and by this, I mean our house is old, and there has been a lot of work that needed to be done with it), and somehow we are able to scrape through another month. A lot of sleepless nights have happened over the last few years. But somehow, we overcome and are able to continue and still have a place to call home. I hope in the future, things will get better.

I am thankful that we have food on our table. We don't eat out as often as before, and we've had to cut back on many luxury items (seafood, steak), but our kids love home-made mac and cheese and those little Vienna sausages (not necessarily together mind you, although that was dinner for them some weeks ago). I'm not saying that we've had to totally give up on good food, but as long as we have the basics (milk, bread, eggs), and we're never out of pasta, I'm happy.

The final thing I am for which I am thankful, is for all intents and purposes, is a reason I am able to keep sane through all the things going on in my life. It is something that many understand, but few will admit relating to it. Many people, no matter what their situation, have at least one. And often times, use it for the same reasons I do. For the goals this one thing accomplishes is not just to give joy to my life, but to give it an escape. An outlet if you will, to a time where I didn't have stress, or have much to worry. This one thing is the reason why I write this humble little blog. I give thanks to the Hobby. Because with everything going on in the world today, second to my family, it is the one thing that gives me comfort.

If this sounds like I'm whining at the same time that I'm being grateful, I apologize as that was not the intent of my writing. There are many people out there who are struggling and somehow surviving on less than what we have. To them I pray that things will get better. It will take some work, but it will get better.

If there is one thing I have forgotten to do above, it's to say thank you to those who have read my blog, left comments, accepted me into this crazy community, and have added to my card collection since I started this blog back in May. I will do my best to fill this blog with information that I continually promise to provide. After all, 2009 Topps Series I won't be out until February, and I don't plan on leaving this site hanging until then.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Packages in the Mail!!! Big Thanks to...

I came home on Monday after hearing how well my children are doing in school to bills, catalogs, junk mail, and three brown envelopes. Guess which of these I decided to open first???

Thanks to dayf, and David Missimer and Dan Rostagno from the Topps Message Boards, I can put a huge dent in the 2008 Topps U & H WalMart and Target sets.

Dayf, the package I have for you is finished, I just need to find an envelope big enough for the cards you're getting.

Dan and Dave, please let me know when the cards I sent to you arrive.

The updated want list is on the side.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Take Me Out to the Ballgame...

I was thinking about mailing this one in...how much in postage is it going to cost me???

It's been one hundred years since a guy who had never even been to a ball game, looked up at an advertisement and began penning what would become one of the most commonly sung tunes in America today. Jack Norworth wrote the words (changed the name of the heroine in the song almost twenty years later), Albert Von Tilzer wrote the music to go with it, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Now even non baseball fans know that at Wrigley Field, since Harry Carey passed away, the Cubs have had guest conductors lead the crowds to sing the chorus of the song. Sometimes, when there are enough fans of the opposing team, it gets really tense before the seventh inning stretch. Only because the conductors normally swing the microphone to the crowd when it's time to name the team (normally "Cubbies"), only to hear the name of the other team chiming in at the same time. It gets even more interesting when the Cubs have the opposing teams' broadcasters lead the crowd. Many will just let the crowd sing the name, a few will say the name of the team he broadcasts for anyway, just to rile up the crowd (you may never hear Marty Brennaman asked to perform this task ever again...)

Now two of the best "conductors" I've ever heard lead the crowd are broadcasters of the Cubs opponents. Vin Scully of the Dodgers sang the song so beautifully, it out rivals many of the performances done by actual singers. And he even "root, root, rooted" for the Cubbies (he didn't swing the microphone to the crowd, but he went along with the traditional Wrigley Field Lyrics.

But the all-time best guest conductor has to be Bob Uecker, long time radio voice of the Milwaukee Brewers. When the Brew Crew comes to Wrigley, many Milwaukee fans make the trip down to Wrigley, and the crowd's loyalties split 50-50. Normally, when it comes time to sing the team, both "Cubbies" and "Brewers" could be heard when the microphone is aimed towards the crowd. Mr. Baseball, however, had other ideas. He sang the song, holding the microphone the whole time, and when it came to the critical lyric, he sang,

"So I'll root, root, root, for the Brewers...You do the same for the Cubs. For it's..."

He may have his loyalties with the team he works for, and he may have sung his team's name, but at least he was respectful enough to the Cub fans singing for them too, asking that Cub fans root for their team in the same fashion he was going to root for his team. Now it has been said that the crowd may have drowned him out to a chorus of boos to the point where he may not have been heard at all at Wrigley. But you could hear him clear as day on the radio, and hearing him sing that one line, showed how classy a human being Uecker is.

Topps included a insert card honoring the 100th birthday of TMOTTB. The US Postal Service commissioned a stamp for the anniversary as well. I think this is the first time these two collectibles are seen together (at least publicly on a blog, someone can prove me wrong of course). Now I just have to find a place for them.

Sincerely

JayBee Anama

P.S. One guest conductor I'll never forget is Jeff Foxworthy. In Chicago for one reason or another, he led the crowd to sing one afternoon. Before the stretch, he was talking with Pat and Ron on WGN radio and his first words to them were, "Thank you for having me here. And thank you very much for Greg Maddux." Took me a second to remember that he's from Atlanta. Even I had to laugh at that one. jba

Saturday, November 22, 2008

If This is His Topps Card, Then What Card is This?: Ryne Sandberg

If I ever decided to become a player collector, the subject of this week's What Card is This? would be the man I'd be following. He was THE star attraction for the Chicago Cubs in the mid 80's and early 90's, although he was humble enough not to show it. He hit for power long before it became cool for middle infielders to hit the long ball, but he never swung for the fences at will. He was the quiet leader on the field and in the clubhouse. He won enough gold gloves to field his own team, and hit well enough to win the silver slugger award seven times. He appeared in 10 ASG's, and was even the MVP of the National League one year. Heck, while Big Daddy Fielder was leading the AL in homers with 51 in 1990, this man quietly led the NL in the same category...with 40. He is a Hall of Famer, and one that the Phillies may have wished they never traded away. He is affectionately known as "Ryno," but the rest of the world knows him as Ryne Sandberg. (insert quiet applause here...leading to a rousing chorus of cheers and a standing ovation!!!)

Words just can't describe how much I loved Ryne Sandberg play. He played the game the way it was supposed to have been played. Even said so himself in his induction speech. With the word Aretha Franklin spelled out in big bold letters, R-E-S-P-E-C-T!!! He never said much off the field, never bragged about that great play he made, or the home run that won the ball game. He let his play do the talking. And his play spoke volumes. Please remember that before his premature "retirement" in 1994, he was the greatest second baseman of his era. And who knows how much more he could have done had he not taken time off.

Anyway, on with the show. Here is his 1990 Topps card:


Awesome picture, and I'm glad that the people putting the cards together decided to include his card with those with the light blue borders. It just looks right. It never looked right to see a Cubs player with the 1990 red, orange, or purple borders. Blue made sense, and this card is perfect. Now on to card number two:


Now this card has him in his home uniform, and I think that maybe the green borders makes the picture look a bit brighter. But Sandberg only had one base card in the 1990 Topps set (he also had an All-Star card, but that's not what this card is). So the question posed for the people who might want to answer this one (anonymously or not)...

What Card is This???

Now 1990 Topps was an extremely over-produced product. Up to this day, there are still boxes upon boxes of unopened product. There may be tons of the first card available everywhere, but you might be hard pressed to find a decent looking copy of card number two...if you knew where to look. I'll leave this open for answers. Good luck.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

UPDATE: Friday, November 28, 2008.

Paul of Paul's Random Stuff chimed in first with the correct answer (followed by friend of the blog the drizz). Yes, this is a box bottom card found underneath boxes of 1990 Topps. This card is found in the third panel (out of four, card L), and many of these cards are prone to wear and tear. For the record, I do have the card in a full panel, I used a bit of MSPaint trickery to make it look like the card was cut and placed in a holder before scanning. That people, is as far as I go in terms of "photoshopping." jba

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Blog Bat Around - Sports Card Bloggers Unite

I don't know if Gellman at the SCU was inspired by the big Blogger's Unite event that happened last week (and there is another one happening on the first of December...I'm debating about joining this time, but am thinking I will anyway...stay tuned), but I think he has the right idea. To see what he wants to accomplish click here. I think it's a good idea to get different opinions from people who share our Hobby in common.

So the topic of discussion is this:

"Most of us classify ourselves as some type of collector in this industry. Player collector, team collector, set collector, auto collector, first world, second world, among thousands of other labels. As you have navigated the hobby, what are the biggest challenges you face as that type of collector or label of hobby enthusiast? What have been your biggest successes/failures? What would you like to see the manufacturers focus on to make your type of collector flourish in the hobby? Feel free to provide blog examples, scans, poems, haikus, bar napkin messages, medical prescriptions, etc as complements to your posts. If you feel your type has been covered on another blog, tell us how you do things the same or differently. If you don't identify yourself as a type, explain why, or explain how you think of yourself. You do not have to answer any or all of the questions asked here."

If you haven't read anything I've written so far on this blog (and why haven't you???! Ego, shut it will you), just based on the title of this blog you can tell that I am a Topps Baseball Card collector. My main focus is on base and traded Topps cards sets. I've never been interested in many of their other brands (Finest, Heritage, Chrome, any Bowman stuff, so forth) nor do I actively pursue other companies products (the dreaded Upper Deck, Donruss, and the like), although I do have their cards from the mass-produced era of 1987-1993.

I am a set collector. I love completing full sets of cards. I love opening huge binders full of cards from the same series and look at all of them together. I have been actively collecting Topps baseball cards since 1988. Since 2001, my collection has grown to the overwhelming size of 42,072 cards in my active collection, from 1976 Topps to 2008 Topps Updates and Highlights, and other sets in between (to see what else I have, check out my first ever post on this humble little blog).

I am a big fan of the Cubs, and my all time favorite player is Ryne Sandberg. But I think the reason why I never became a player collector or a team set collector is that I just couldn't get into the idea of just collecting one team or one player. I blame the fact that every card has a number. And the feeling of not having every card in a set that my favorite team or player was in left me empty...make that incomplete (pardon the pun). I had to have one of every card in a set, regardless if I had never heard of the player, or if he plays for that other team in Chicago (I think they're called the Blue Socks, or the Green Sox, or some other colored piece of clothing, claimed to have won a World Series title recently, let me think...I'm kidding of course).

When I was formally introduced to card collecting by the neighborhood kids, I was just in awe of these pieces of 2½ by 3½ pictures of athletes with the team name in bold letters above, and the person's name on a diagonal banner (if you can't tell I'm talking about 1988 Topps, then something is wrong with you...ego, get away from the computer). I was fascinated by the these piles of cards, and they said I could have them (these were their extras).

From that point on, I was hooked. There must have been at least 300 cards that they said I could have. I sorted each card by the number on the back, and when I noticed that there were large gaps between the numbers, I knew I needed more. It didn't matter if the players were from teams I'd never heard of, or if I'd never seen them on TV before (understand that this was more than 20 years ago, and the only baseball I was exposed to at the time was the Cubs on WGN). I had to get them all. Every card. Period. End of story. It was that feeling of "I MUST have them ALL" that made me become the collector I am.

Back then it was easy. There was one set for me to focus my energies on, and then the Traded set at the end of the year. My life was complete once that last card was put in the binder. Then as the next year came, the chase continued. And that's how I went about collecting the first 12 years in the Hobby. Mind you, as I got older, there were other things going on in my life (college, work, dating). But I never left the Hobby and continued collecting Topps cards and buying packs here and there, still managing to complete that year's Topps set, and anticipating next year's product. That was my attitude about my collection until I met "The World's Greatest Marketplace." And my life has not been the same since.

When I was introduced to the wonderful world of eBay a decade later, I realized that there was more to life than basic Topps cards. In 2001, when I first laid eyes on the 50 card "Through the Years" set, I knew I wanted them. The reason, I said to myself, was that so I had some representation of what the older cards (than 1986) looked like. Thus began my purchasing spree on eBay. I mean, I had these insert cards, and at the time, I thought there was no way to complete them, so I just either gave them away, or left them in a pile that I'd never really look at, and focus on the base set.

Once I acquired the 50 card behemoth, I thought I could try for more. And since then, I've been able to get almost every insert set Topps put out from 1996 to now. Nowadays, I don't consider having a completed series (I, II, U & H) unless I have all the basic insert sets as well as the main eponymous set. I know it's physically, and financially impossible to try for the autographs and relic cards, so I don't worry about those. If I get them, great. If not, I don't lose sleep over it.

Over the course of this blog, I've recounted the successes I have had so far. I could call piecing together the 2001 Topps Archives Future Archives cards my biggest success because not only did I have a full set of cards not too many people have, but one that not too many knew about. Later on, I even spent money on factory sets just to get these bonus "Never See the Light of Day...EVER" cards. Unfortunately, money was diverted to more important matters (bills, kids, mortgage, life in general), so I couldn't continue my binge of factory set buying. Once in a while, I'll but a factory set or two, but not in the quantities I did before, especially now that there are so many different factory sets to buy. So if you happen to have any bonus cards from 2006 Topps onwards, please let me know...

I guess the biggest challenges for me as a set collector is not the product so much, but how much of it I really need. Since they started putting out those the retail exclusive inserts in 2006, I've found that I've spent way too much money on blasters just so I can get my hands on them. I find nothing wrong with blaster boxes. I mean, unless you can find a card shop, and you don't look online, the best way to get cards are to shop at a retailer like WalMart, Target, or KMart. But because Topps started putting different insert sets for different stores, I now have a stockpile full of packs from all three retailers that have been unopened, save for the foil bonus pack that contained the cards I really wanted. The number of products both Topps and UD put out don't bother me so much. I remind myself that I'm only here for the basics. The extra stuff looks nice, but I don't need it. Although that Allen & Ginter set looks really good...

About or six paragraphs ago, I wrote, "It was that feeling of 'I MUST have them ALL' that made me become the collector I am." This way of thinking does come with a caveat that I can never seem to shake. I consider myself a patient person in most aspects of my life. Even with two kids aged 8 and 6, I believe I am a patient human being. Except when it comes to the Hobby. I know I could wait until prices go down. I know that I have a full year to work with. But I find that I have a hard time just sitting there while collector after collector completes their sets before I do. And I find that I have to get everything now. I even bought a full master set (base and inserts) of the last two Topps series just because I thought it was the only way to get the insert sets without having to search for them separately. That Buy it Now feature on eBay is going to be the death of me yet. I hit the button, agree to pay, only to find that down the line, another person (or more frustratingly, the same person) has the same sets at a cheaper BIN price.

Many times I wish that we could go back to the glory days where there was only one or two sets each of the manufacturers put out. But alas, as long as there is a market for them, there will always be those products that I'll admire, but never get for myself. Does that mean that I'll give up? Of course not. As long as the eponymous brand comes out with something, I'll buy it.

Are there things I'd like to see in the flagship product? Absolutely. Bring back the 792 card sets. Or since Topps produces 110 card sheets instead of the 132, how about two series of 440 cards? Put in the players who don't see card action anymore. Those would be the third string catchers and the mop up relievers, the pinch hitters, the 24th man on the roster. There are 25 men on a team. With 30 teams, that's 750 players, and that doesn't even include the players who go on the DL. Bring back the Major League Debut Sets last seen circa 1990-1992. If you have to follow those MLBPA rules, then at least put the players who debuted until the cutoff (what is it, September 1) in the basic set, and make cards of those who debuted after the date (those who would qualify for that Rookie Card Logo the following year) insert cards akin to the Bowman Prospect cards. That would make a set collector like me really, truly happy.

I'm glad that someone stepped up to organize such an undertaking as this. The Blogger Unite thing I did made me feel that I belonged to the blogosph...I mean the blogging community in general. When Gellman (congratulations on getting married. Let me just say that life as you know it is over...take it from someone who's been at it for ten plus years now...I'm kidding of course. I love being married, and I'm sure you will too) thought of getting bloggers together to write about a certain topic, I thought...why not. So here is my take on the subject matter. It may look like random, disorganized thoughts. But I think many will understand what I mean. Until the next one...Sports Card Bloggers Unite!!!

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Introducing the 2008 Topps All-Star Rookie Team!!!


The MLB managers have spoken, and today, Topps has announced the players named to the 50th All-Star Rookie Team!!! (If the player's name is in bold, it means I predicted that they would make the team back in October)

  • 1B: Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds (.294 batting average, 23 HR, 82 RBI, 2008 stats)
  • 2B: Alexei Ramirez, Chicago White Sox (.290, 21, 4 GS new rookie record, 77)
  • 3B: Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay Rays (.274, 27, 85)
  • SS: Mike Aviles, Kansas City Royals (.323, 10, 51)
  • OF: Jay Bruce, Cincinnati Reds (.256, 21, 52)
  • OF: Denard Span, Minnesota Twins (.294, 6, 47)
  • OF: David Murphy, Texas Rangers (.275, 15, 74)
  • C: Geovany Soto, Chicago Cubs (.285, 23, 86)
  • RHP: Brad Ziegler, Oakland Athletics (3-0, 1.06 ERA, 30 K's, 11 saves, record scoreless streak)
  • LHP: John Lannan, Washington Nationals (9-15, 3.91 ERA, 117 K's)

So I guessed 8 out of 10 spots correctly (I guessed Jacoby Ellsbury for the third outfield spot and Glen Perkins for the LHP). Not bad for my first attempt at this. So congratulations to all. Each player will now get the illustrious rookie cup trophy (pictured above) added to their 2009 Topps cards.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

P.S. Dave of Fielder's Choice said he can't wait to see what the Longoria card is going to look like with that rookie cup trophy on it. Dave...wait no more. jba (compliments of Beckett.com). jba

Monday, November 17, 2008

The 2008 Topps U & H Target Checklist is Now Complete!!!

This one took a bit longer, and based on reports from the Topps Message Board, these cards might only be found in packs (no one has yet to confirm these in blasters...if they even have them at all). But in any event, we now have confirmed the final checklist for the fifteen insert cards that are exclusively found in blaster boxes and packs sold only at Target.

  • TCP31-Chipper Jones
  • TCP32-Lance Berkman
  • TCP33-Josh Hamilton
  • TCP34-Evan Longoria
  • TCP35-Kosuke Fukudome
  • TCP36-Dan Uggla
  • TCP37-Edinson Volquez
  • TCP38-Adrian Gonzalez
  • TCP39-Cole Hamels
  • TCP40-Jay Bruce
  • TCP41-Ken Griffey, Jr.
  • TCP42-Hideki Matsui
  • TCP43-Russell Martin
  • TCP44-Francisco Rodriguez
  • TCP45-Johan Santana

Remember, if you buy these at Target, and you don't collect any of the above fifteen players, or you don't plan on collecting the set, but still want to give these insert cards a home, please send me an e-mail and I will be more than happy to take them off your hands.

I have not yet had a chance to thank the following people who have bought and helped compile the checklist for this and the WalMart insert sets:

  • Dennis Lackey (dlackey...please e-mail me with an updated checklist...I could use those cards)
  • Tim Lindgren (aka friend and frequent commenter of the blog tdlindgren...check out his blog appropriately entitled Blogin' Baseball)
  • Dan Grobelny (ArmyDan...comes in at just the right times to lend a hand)
  • Michael Jablonski (millionsforrings...new member whose first three posts really helped get the Target set figured out...welcome to the Topps Message Boards)

Gentlemen, thank you very much.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

A Want List Has Been Posted

New feature to the humble little blog has been added on the right hand side bar. It should be self explanatory. It is a list of the cards I am currently looking for and will be willing to trade for or buy (within reason). It is not a complete list, but I will add more to it when I have a bit more time. There are some links on the list if I had covered it somehow on the blog. If you, or someone you know, has any of the cards I need, please feel free to contact me at bdj610@hotmail.com so we can talk things over.

Thank you very much for your time.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

One 2009 Topps Updates and Highlights Hobby Box Yielded...

Two weeks after finally getting around to sorting the stuff from the Jumbo box of 2008 Topps Updates and Highlights am I finally able to report on what came out of the regular hobby box (36 packs) of same product.

I didn't get a full set of 330, but was impressed with the collation as I did not get any duplicates in this box. The details are as follows:
  • 313 base cards (again, no duplicates)
  • 18 Gold Foil Cards
  • 1 Chrome Refractor (Chris Volstad, third year in a row I get a Marlins player for a Chrome Refractor box topper)
  • 1 All-Star Game Relic (Chase Utley)
  • 7 Topps Gold Cards (Kevin Cash, Andy Phillips, Cancel, DWright AS, Barajas, Aaron Boone, Griffey White Sox card, the card is gone though...someone is getting it in trade)
  • 6 First Couples (Harrison, Tyler, Polk, FDR, Truman, Eisenhower)
  • 4 WBC cards (J Reyes, Peavy, A Jones, J Santana...all extras because I pulled them in the Jumbo box)
  • 2 Ring of Honor cards (Justice and Knight...again)
  • 2 Mets Ring of Honor cards (Howard Johnson and Strawberry...again)
  • 6 Year in Review (Micah Owings, Alex Gordon, Polanco, Cameron, Damon, Carlos Zambrano)

Now that everything is accounted for, let the trading begin!!!

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A Thank You to a Gent from the United Kingdom!!!

I received an e-mail a few weeks ago from a certain John Arnold from the United Kingdom. He is a collector who contributes to the big A Pack A Day blog. You know, that All-Star blog that many of our favorite bloggers contribute to? Anyway, he said that he's read my humble little blog, and likes what he sees, and since I'm such a big Cubs fan, if I'd be interested in a trade of some Cubs cards for Red Sox cards. He said if I agreed that I wouldn't have to send first, but wait until his package arrived before preparing a pile of cards for him. Again, I'm not much of a team collector, but it's the Cubs. I thought, why not. So I agreed.

Well, the package came this past Friday, and needless to say, I've got my work cut out for me. He sent me two full team bags full of Cubs cards from various years and (ahem) various brands too. I guess he's following the Junkie's philosophy, knowing that if he sends a Topps collector other brands of cards that I won't have them at all in my collection. A grand total of 71 Cubs cards are now in my possession. Everything from 2008 Topps (and Upper Deck...gasp), to 1986 Topps (Jim Frey) to 1988 Score, and some Bowman Heritage cards too.

I'll hold on to them until I can find a home more suited for Cubs cards. Until then, I have to find some Red Sox cards...he did say he'll take unopened packs right???

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Saturday, November 15, 2008

If This is His Topps Card, Then What Card is This?: Jason Giambi

On this week's edition of What Card is This, we look back at what could have been. Not that it didn't happen, but that the number one goal of getting this guy was to re-capture the prize. The year before, the team that acquired him snatched victory from the jaws of defeat from this guy's original team just to get to the big dance, and now their star player left them for greener (wait...take that back...more navy) pastures. This week, maybe timely in terms of player selection, we talk about Jason Giambi.

Ah yes, Jason Giambi. Prior to 2002, he was the long haired, bearded, scruffy, team leader and most visible player on the Oakland Athletics. For a team that was considered small market, the A's sure knew how to draft players and have them create an immediate impact. Think of the guys that even were on that 2001 Athletics team. I just have to say their last name, and you know how great a player he is: Dye, Damon, Tejada, Chavez, Hudson, Zito, Mulder, and not one, but two J. Giambi's. The A's had a plethora of future All-Stars on their roster in 2001, and this team could have won their division, had not the Mariners won more than 102 games in the same season. Relegated to being the Wild Card team, they had the daunting task of facing the reigning AL Champion NY Yankees. After winning the first two games at Yankee Stadium, the A's needed just one win in Oakland to move on to the AL Championship round. Sadly, they lost both games at home, and were soundly defeated in game 5. The Yankees moved on, and the A's were left to wonder what could have been.

The big offseason signing before the 2002 season was Jason Giambi to the Yankees. There was a catch though. Not only was he the man who was to help bring the Bombers back to the WS, he was going to be the man to help them win it all. But before he could put on the suit, there was a matter of grooming. You see, the Yankees at this time, had a policy of no facial hair or long hair. Which meant that Jason had to have a shave and a hair cut (which in NY, costs more than two bits). The press conference introducing the new Bronx slugger to the NY media was very memorable. For the first time in probably many years, Jason Giambi had short hair, and he was clean shaven.

Jason played for the Yankees from 2002 to 2008, and needless to say, there were lots of highs and lows in his NY career. He did help them back to the WS, only to lose to Florida in 2003. The team made it into the playoffs for the first five years of his tenure, only to lose series after series. And after the Yankees failed to make the playoffs for the first time since 1996, the Yankees decided to part ways with their Jason. Maybe he'll grow hair back and bring back the beard (the moustache didn't do him any favors...really).

So here we go. His 2002 Topps card somehow featured Jason in his new uniform, getting ready to swing for the fences:


It does look awkward doesn't it? I mean, it looks like he had his hair cut, but I think there's a hint of hair on that upper lip (I can't really tell, even after doing a close up scan). Do the Yankees even wear their Spring Training unis during the regular season? Anyway, on to card #2...


Wait...he's in his A's uniform. And he looks, well, normal for 2001. Now he didn't have two cards in 2002 Topps. The first card appeared in series 2 (#620). So now the question becomes...

What Card Is This???

This could be an easy one...maybe. I'll leave this up and see what happens from here. Good luck to all who want to guess in the comments section.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

UPDATE: Wednesday, November 19, 2008.

To the anonymous poster, who guessed "series 1" in the comments...I'm sorry, that is incorrect. I even mentioned that the first card was the only Giambi card in the entire base set. Unfortunately, he (or she) was also the only person to give it a shot.

The second card was a promo card given to card shops so they had an idea what the 2002 Topps cards were going to look like. The card above was the second of three (the other two cards were of Sammy Sosa and Curt Schilling).

Thanks for playing. jba

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I'm Happy, But Should I Be Concerned???

Either I'm the only person who noticed that the 2009 Topps Series I Sell Sheets came out today, or nobody cared (or the blogosphere decided that I alone should be the first to post the sheets...ego, stop typing!!!).

After going over the specifics, I'm am looking forward to next February (must add a countdown gadget to the blog soon) and getting my hands on the new cards. But in a way, I'm a bit concerned. Because for the first time in recent memory, Topps actually announced that they will shortprinting certain cards into the eponymous Topps set. While this is technically not the first time Topps has shared card numbers with certain players, the fact is that they are forewarning us that they are adding shortprinted variation cards into the Topps set. To be more specific, look below:


"So what?" you say. "Big deal!" you say. If you have not seen the preliminary checklist for 2009 Topps Series 1, let me give you a bit of a preview (and the usual warning, the checklist is subject to change):
  • Card #1 is Alex Rodriguez. The next card is also numbered #1, but it's Babe Ruth.
  • Card #10 is Marlins 2B Dan Uggla. Card #10 is also reserved for Rogers Hornsby.
  • Card #55 is shared between SS's J. J. Hardy and Pee Wee Reese.
  • Justin Morneau and Lou Gehrig share card #90.
  • C. C. Sabathia and Cy Young are both listed as card #170.
  • Chase Utley and Jimmie Foxx are listed as card #200.
  • Miguel Tejada and Honus Wagner are paired together for card #205.
  • Geovany Soto and Roy Campanella hold card #210.
  • Card #215 is listed as Ian Kinsler and Jackie Robinson.
  • Ryan Braun and Mel Ott share card #240.
  • Grady Sizemore and Tris Speaker both lay claim to card #270.
  • Greg Maddux and Walter Johnson get card #287.
  • Card #290 goes to both Albert Pujols and George Sisler.
  • Ichiro Suzuki and Ty Cobb both hold down card #300.
  • Yankee catchers Ivan Rodriguez and Thurman Munson are listed as card #305.
  • Johan Santana and Christy Mathewson share card #310.
  • Finally, Miguel Cabrera and Johnny Mize get card #320.
So what's happening is that the 17 legends are going to have 2009 Topps base cards. But instead of taking out 17 current players who could use the exposure, they are short-printing the legends' cards. The guy at Stale Gum would call this a gimmick, but Topps is making the announcement before hand. At least there is that kind of warning. But how short printed will these cards be? Will they be 1:2 packs, 1:12 packs, 1:36 packs, 1:72 packs...I could go on here...? What would be considered a complete set? A set of 330 cards or a set of 347 cards? What will the factory sets have? Are they going to do this again with series 2?

On one hand, I do like the fact that they paired up legends and current superstars appropriately. It would be awkward if let's say they paired Pujols and Campanella or Maddux and Mize. And I'm sure that the pictures of the legends will look great with that 2009 Topps design. Maybe Topps is making the announcement after the last two years of being slammed about including these "unannounced gimmicks," the ones that the blogosphere so mercilessly slammed them for, to keep critics quiet. Who knows? So I'm excited and yet concerned. I'm sure that by the time the cards show up next year, my worries will be abated. Maybe I'm making too much of a big thing out of it. Until then, I can only speculate...

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

P.S. And yeah, Mickey Mantle comes back as card #7. This time though, there is no current player that gets shortprinted as a variation...YET!!! jba

P.S.2. If you saw the checklist, there are a number of TBD's (for playoff highlights, award winners, etc). I think it's safe to say that Tim Lincecum will get card #78 (NL Cy Young), Evan Longoria gets #134 (AL ROY), and Geovany Soto gets #276 (NL ROY). jba

UPDATED: Wednesday, November 12, 2008.

Stale Gum has reported that the short-printed legends cards will appear 1:6 regular packs, 1:1 HTA jumbo. That softens the blow just a bit. I just hope that this is just a one year (or one-series) thing. jba

UPDATED: Friday, February 06, 2009.

I know that a number of message boards have been linking to this site since the news of the Obama and CC Yankees SP cards came out. The checklist above was based on information taken from the original checklist. This morning, Beckett reported that Topps confirmed that there are 19 SP's inserted into series 1, and included a more accurate checklist. You may find that checklist by clicking the words "the checklist is subject to change" in the original article. jba

2009 Topps Series 1 Sell Sheets are Live!!!

We've already seen what the cards are going to look like. Now take a look at what else is in store for 2009 Topps Baseball:











And now for the heavy stuff:


Okay, so that didn't go according to plan, but it looked much better together than if I seperated it into five sections. Just click on the picture to feel the full effect of how awesome this sell sheet looks.

For product information, please click here. For the initial checklist, please click here.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Topps Insert Set of the Week: 2007 Topps Distinguished Service


As promised all the way back in May, we proudly bring back our Insert Set of the Week segment on the humble little blog. And, the timing couldn't be better since today is Veteran's Day. This week's insert set combines both baseball players and important historical figures who were involved in a very dark time in the world's history. Even though this set is only a year old, it reminds us of a time when even athletes stopped playing the game and bravely served their country. And although stories of professional athletes serving the military today are few and far between, these were very commonplace 60-70 years ago. In honor of Veteran's Day, and all the men and women who served in the Armed Forces, this week's insert set is 2007 Topps Distinguished Service.


Inserted into packs of 2007 Topps Series I (cards 1-20) and Series II (21-30) baseball (1:12 hobby/retail, 1:2 HTA - Home Team Advantage dealers), 2007 Topps Distinguished Service brings together fifteen legendary players whose playing careers were interrupted when Uncle Sam called on them to put on the uniform for the same team (albeit different branches) alongside fifteen other people who were, or who would eventually become, key figures in the World's history. The cards themselves have the appearance of passports or at least a leather book, with each subject picture in a circle frame, and the branch of the military (or position of power in a couple of cases) each person served. Representing the players:

Navy: Duke Snider, Yogi Berra, Bob Feller, Ralph Kiner, Bobby Doerr, Stan Musial.
Army: Monte Irvin, Ernest Valo, Hoyt Wilhelm, Warren Spahn, Red Schoendienst
Air Force: Joe DiMaggio
Marines: Ted Williams
Coast Guard: Hank Sauer, Sibby Sisti

The backs of each card relate the subject’s war record or what roles they played during their time in the service.


As stated repeatedly, this set also includes fifteen historical figures. Presidents Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Charles De Gaulle, listed here as the leader of the Free French Forces, who later Prime Minister of France appear here.

Four of the five appointed Five Star Generals are on the checklist (General George Marshall, General Douglas MacArthur, General Omar Bradley, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, missing is General Henry H. Arnold), as well as Commanding General Mark Clark (fought in both WWII and Korea, became President of the Citadel). Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz represents the Navy. General James Doolittle and Major Richard Bong represent the US Army Air Force. General Curtis LeMay stands for the Air Force.

The last two people in the set that I have not yet mentioned not only served in the US Navy as Lieutenants, they eventually became Presidents of the United States. Lt. (JG) George H. W. Bush (who in his outfit does look like W) was a Naval Aviator, and Lt. John F. Kennedy commanded a Patrol Torpedo boat squadron in WWII.


As a recently produced insert set, there are plenty of singles and sets out there, waiting to be collected and added to the collections of those who seek them. I suggest that if you find a full set, get it immediately. In a few years, this will be a hard set to come across.

Today we remember those brave men and women who defended the freedoms of our country, in the past, in the present, and into the future. Regardless of what your feelings are for the wars being fought today in our name, you have to think of the soldiers out there, risking their lives for us and hope and pray that they make it home.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Monday, November 10, 2008

What Would I Know About Refugees...I Just Write About Baseball Cards!!!


(To those of you who've been reading blog after blog about Raising Awareness for Refugees, blogcatalog.com's effort to unite bloggers from all walks of life to "share your thoughts and be part of the global solution to a global problem," and happened to stumble upon my little essay, I welcome you to my humble little blog. Feel free to read more about what I really write about when you get a chance. Thank you very much. jba)

My regular readers (all 15-20 of them) may be wondering, "So why is a baseball card blogger writing about such a serious topic as refugees?" "What does he know about them?" "Why should I care about this?" "It's a baseball card blog, not a human rights blog!!!" And to an extent they are right. Out of all the bloggers participating in this huge project, I may have the least amount of knowledge about the topic at hand. But I realized that if 15-20 more people were made aware of this subject, who otherwise would have not even thought about it before, then I feel that I did my part.

I have done a bit of research on the subject, specifically about the organization that the blogging community is trying to help, Refugees United. Needless to say, this is very heavy stuff.

The definition of refugee, according to Merriam-Webster's online dictionary, means:

"one that flees; especially: a person that flees to a foreign country or power to escape danger or persecution"

It comes from the French word réfugié, past participle of (se) réfugier to take refuge (it goes further back, click on the link above to see it all). But it seems that this definition is too narrow, especially in the eyes of Refugees United.

According to the U. S. Commission of Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) website, there are 14,047,300 men, women, and children forced to be refugees. Many are due to political reasons. Some may be harmed if they were to still be in their home country. But not all refugees leave for another country by choice. Some are abducted from their homes, others may have been conned by people offering to help but instead forcefully sell them as servants in other countries, in many cases, sending family members to different parts of the world (human trafficking, another issue entirely, but can be related. You'll see in a minute).

It doesn't matter how old a person is, what their gender is, or how healthy he or she is. Many families who plan on leaving their homes and look for a new life in another part of the world wind up in this sad, and very scary situation. Want a good example about it, this is the reason why Refugees United was established. If, after reading it, this story does not make you stop and think how fortunate you are that you have your family with you, no matter how difficult it is sometimes to get along with them, then I can't think of another way to get the point of this organization across.

The whole goal of this organization is to provide the ways and means to reunite families. They may not be physically be able to do it, but just to be able to initiate conversation, just allow the families to know that they are alive can only provide hope for them and keep the dreams alive that they may come back some day (by any means necessary). The story linked in the previous paragraph is only one example of the kind of work they hope to accomplish. But there are more situations like this, not just in Afghanistan and Russia, but in other parts of the world. Not all refugees get to where they've been because they were the victims of evil intent.

They could be the victims of natural disasters, like typhoons, monsoons, and recent tragedies like the Tsunami from 2004-2005 that have torn families apart. Of the many people who survived, there could be parents who to this day still do not know if their children are alive or not. Children wandering the streets still searching for their parents. Husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, any possible situation you can imagine is still out there, even four years after the fact. And who knows what may have happened to them. Could the situation in the story above happened to them? Can you ever imagine this happening to you???

But now you may be saying to yourself that this doesn't happen here in the US. It only happens in third world countries. Really? You think so? Think about this. Many foreigners are lured here to the United States in hopes of a better future (jobs). There are even catalogs for mail order brides where men could pick and choose the bride of their choosing based on a picture and a profile. But once here, they can wind up the victims of human trafficking. They now become refugees too, and unless they are rescued, they may possibly never see their families again.

It's a scary world out there. You watch the local and national news, and you see and hear stories about all the doom and gloom we're currently living through. The number of foreclosures, the rising jobless rates, the economic disaster we're in. But even with all of that staring at us in the face, we know that we here in the United States are still well off than those in other parts of the world. Be thankful for that. But keep in your minds and hearts those who are not as fortunate as you. Think of those that have not seen their families in a long time. Think of those who keep searching. Think of those still hoping that one day, he, she, they, will be reunited with their loved ones, no matter how apart in the world they may be.

Now what can you do? There is plenty. Definitely read more about what Refugees United hope to accomplish. Click on your favorite search engine and type the word "refugee," and click on other links that show more information about this hot button topic. Go to the U. S. Commission of Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) website, learn. But most importantly, be aware that many want to see their families once again. That's why blogcatalog.com asked that November 10 be the day that bloggers from all communities join in and spread the word. That's why I've had that little square ad on the right side of my blog. Because regardless of where they came from, regardless of how they are now, regardless of what their present situation is, they have a human right to know where their loved ones are and what happened to them.

If this all sounds like unorganized gibberish, maybe it is. But the intent was there. After all, what would I know about refugees...I just write about baseball cards.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

For more information, please click onto the links below. There you will find more information about, and the organizations involved in helping, refugees. jba

Sunday, November 9, 2008

If This is His Topps Card, Then What Card is This?: Willie Montañez

We're going back in time for this week's edition of What Card is This? Thirty years ago in fact. It's 1978 all over again!!!

Now I did a review of the 1978 Topps set a few months back. Simple design, cursive Team name on the lower left corner. Position inside a floating baseball. Nothing too fancy, but effective. Today's subject is a player who's career can be described in a similar fashion. The player in question is Willie Montañez, 14 year veteran of the majors. A first baseman who travelled all over the country practicing his craft. From the Angels to the Phillies, Giants, Braves, Mets, Rangers, Padres, Expos, Pirates, and finally back to the Phillies, Montañez was known as a "hot dog" of sorts.

In 1977, as a member of the Atlanta Braves, he was named to the NL All-Star team (his first and only appearance to the midseason classic) thanks in part to 13 home runs, 41 rbi's, and a .313 batting average. His second half was not as strong as the first, but he still had a good year with the Braves. At the end of the year, he was involved in a very complex four-team trade, that saw him and ten other players moved around. By the time the dust settled, he wound up going to the New York Mets. He lasted more than a year and a half with the Mets before being traded to the Rangers, but while there, hit 22 home runs, 143 rbi's, to go along with a .247 batting average.

Now his 1978 Topps card shows him as a member of the Atlanta Braves. Of course, this was normal. Topps sold their cards in one series at this time, and the deal to the Mets came long after the card was printed. So here is his 1978 Topps card #38:


Nice pose, in his powder blue warm up jacket. Until I started going backwards into my card collection, I didn't know that the Braves wore this shade of blue in their uniforms. Here is card number 2:


He's somehow wearing the uniform of his 1978 team, the Mets. Now, wait a minute...there was no Topps Traded set in 1978, and I'm pretty sure that there was only one Montañez card in the regular 1978 Topps set. So the question now becomes...

What Card Is This???

I'll leave this up for a day or two. It's possible that someone can get this right. We'll see though...

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

UPDATE: Wednesday, November 12, 2008.

As the night owl stated, Captain Canuck is right. This was one of five cards that Topps created for Zest Soap featuring five Latino players. Montañez' card was the only one that was a variation of his 1978 Topps card (the other four were Joaquin Andujar, Bert Campaneris, Ed Figueroa, and Manny Mota, each had the same card printed for this special set).

Night Owl, and you too Captain, I have extra Topps/Zest sets sitting at home. If you would like one, please e-mail me your address and I will send one full five-card set out to you just for responding. jba

Babe Ruth Inserts Exclusive at Target!!!

All this time, I've been searching for a checklist for the fifteen cards that are going to be exclusively inserted into blasters and packs of 2008 Topps U & H sold at Target. Just cruising the Bay this evening, and look what I find...



According to the seller, these three cards are called Babe Ruth Cards That Never Were. I have not gone to arget in a while. Could anyone share any information regarding these three cards? I have not yet been at a Target in a while. I may just go down there, but could someone post what these three cards are all about? It would be greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Saturday, November 8, 2008

One 2009 Topps Updates and Highlights Jumbo Box Yielded...

It's been busy at work and at home, so even though we opened both boxes of 2008 Topps Updates and Highlights almost two weeks ago, I have not had a chance to sort out the cards until now.

The good news is that one jumbo boxes did give me a full set of 330 cards. Here is the rest of the damage:
  • 78 duplicates
  • 31 Gold Foil Cards
  • 1 Chrome Refractor (Max Ramirez, Rangers)
  • 2 All-Star Game Relics (Ryan Dempster, Alfonso Soriano)
  • 1 Autograph (Steve Holm, Giants)
  • 1 Stamp (Washington & Lee 10/90)
  • 1 Black Gold card (Jeremy Sowers, Indians)
  • 1 Take Me Out to the Ballgame
  • 10 Topps Gold cards (Luke Scott, Ambres, Affeldt, Hurley, Marte, Marmol, Littleton, Pavano, Ryan Tucker, Bixler)
  • 10 First Couples (Grant, Hayes, Garfield, Arthur, Cleveland, Harrison, Johnson, Bush, Clinton, W. Bush)
  • 10 WBC cards (Iwamura, Utley, J Reyes, Peavy, Paul Bell, Catalanotto, Varitek, A Jones, J Santana, Carlos Lee)
  • 5 Ring of Honor (Cone (without the 'e'), Justice, Cepeda, Sutter, Knight)
  • 5 Mets Ring of Honor (Gooden, Strawberry, Carter, Orosco, Darling)
  • 10 Year in Review (Thomas, Teixeira, A Gonzalez, Varitek, Maddux, Granderson, Lackey, David Price, Cabrera, Maybin)

Needless to say I'm thrilled that I was able to get a full 330 card set from the jumbo box. All items above I will use for trade bait in my quest to get the three retail exclusive sets (WalMart, Target, KMart).

I'm still going to sort through the cards from the regular box that my kids and I opened. I hope it doesn't take me another two weeks to do so though.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Thursday, November 6, 2008

It's Time to Refocus...Why Did I Start This Blog???

I'm a collector of Topps baseball cards. Have been for more than two decades now. In the twenty-one years I have been collecting, I have studied the history of baseball, and more importantly, the history of baseball cards. I have saved many books and magazines, price guides, and checklists over the years and still refer to them from time to time when I need to look for information. I frequent a number of message boards, just to feed and feed off information from people who've been in the Hobby longer than me.

In my opening post, I stated that because I grew up that I somehow lost my way. I needed to "take time and enjoy what I have." That's why I created this blog.

In the beginning, I thought of just posting cards and making comments. But that's already been done and still being done. Nothing wrong with it, and I still plan on doing it. I just need to find what strikes me, use the cards as my muse, and begin typing ideas out.

I wanted to do set reviews for cards from the last 32 years of sets that I have. I still do, there's so much to write about. But that takes time too. Pulling out cards, whether stars or commons, and giving an opinion. Trust me, I'll do my best to bring that back too.

The blog evolved, albeit slowly, into what was on my mind at the time during the baseball season. I love the All-Star Game, so many of my posts in late June and early July focused on it. The Cubs were dominating (the Sox just trying to stay afloat) all summer, but I didn't want to be team-focused blog because I am not a team focused collector.

When certain controversies came out over the summer within the Hobby blogosphere, I chimed in, only because I believed blogs are the forum where anyone can say whatever they want to without repercussions. I'm still new to the game. I feel like I'm the voice not heard, but I feel that because I spoke my mind, I've been accepted in some circles.

When the sell sheets for the products that I look for came out, I wanted to be the first to post that information. I did that for the message boards I frequented, and thought that this was a better forum for that stuff. I never thought that the competition of being first with information was fierce amongst the blogosphere. I just wanted to share what I like, and what I look forward to, and whether it looks like I'm a shill or not, this is what I look forward to every single year.

I am not a Hobby news blog. That was not my intention when I started. There is so much involved, and I am the most ultimate of outsiders when it comes to being made aware. I don't have a degree in journalism, and I don't have the contacts. I have a full time job that ensures that I don't have too much time to investigate any breaking coverage on the Hobby. So I'll leave that to others to do. My only caveat is that if you as a hobby news blogger can't get the information you seek from some sources, don't slam them. There are reasons why they don't want to deal with us. No matter how much you believe it, we are not the Media. If we act that way towards them, they will laugh us off the internet. Maybe the best approach is just to be a collector, not a reporter.

I am not a Hobby rant blog, focusing on what I see to be the negatives of the Hobby and the establishment. I don't like swearing up and down a storm to get my point across. I am not the anti-anything (wait...check that...). I may have said over and over that I don't collect cards from other brands, but I'm not going to preach to you about collecting this or that. I buy and trade for what I like, you can buy and trade for what you like. All is right in the world. I'm not saying that it's all rainbows and unicorns in the Hobby. No sir (or ma'am). You just can't throw your opinions as facts unless you can post the proof of such. Otherwise, all you throw are assumptions and accusations. If you're proven right, you're vindicated and loved. What if you're proven wrong? This humble little blog is not about that. So I'll leave that for others to do too.

There is nothing wrong about either of the two kinds of blogs I described above (and they're going to know who they are as they read this blog...one does for sure, the other, not so much). I read both daily. There is a need for these types of blogs. One of the first comments on this board (and I've said this before) was "if you write something that people disagree with, then you're doing something right." They must be doing something right then. I do know that they have a following among those who blog and those who don't. While I can only wish I had the same number of readers, or get the same amount of hits, I think what I write about only a few will understand. And I can live with that. I'm writing for me. Everyone is invited to follow along and see where my journey goes.

The last sentence in my first post was, "I feel I have some knowledge to pass on to the card collecting world, and it is my hope to share that with you as I finally make the attempts to take time and enjoy my baseball card collection." That's what I should be focusing on more. There is a balance somewhere. I'm going to have to find it if I want to do well in the blogosphere.

I should still be able to write about what I like about this hobby, and there's a whole lot to like. I should still be able to inform the masses about products that come out, but I'll keep it to the few products that I will actually collect (so if you're looking for Bowman news, or information regarding Topps Finest, Co-Signers, Heritage, Triple Threads, etc, you probably won't find me talking about it here).

If something new pops out that even the Hobby Media does not pick up on but is something I like (that eight-card set sold at Target for a Back to School program is a good example of this), I'll give the product the attention it deserves.

If there is something I don't like or I find unfavorable, whether it's within the Hobby, or the Hobby blogosphere, I'll say so tactfully, knowing that there anyone can read what I have to say and the last thing I want to do is litter my post with curses (not saying I don't curse in real life, but let's say I want to keep it clean when I type).

And finally, if I give an opinion that may or may not be widely accepted by the Hobby in general, please remember it is mine and mine alone. I won't shove it down people's throats, but I do want to add another voice in the reader's head, have him or her see my point-of-view without having to force their heads so they can see.

That's what I'm going to write about. I believe I now have my focus. I only ask that if you like what you read, follow along. The journey is long, and the doors are open. So hop in. It's going to be a fun ride.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I Feel Better Already...More News About 2009 Topps Series I


It took a while for me to calm down. That base design is probably one of the best looking ones all decade (I'll have to wait until I see them to decide if they're better than 2004 or 2005).

Anyway, the following information was taken from one of the message boards I frequent:

Regular Boxes:
Product Code: 09TOB1
Configuration: 12 boxes*/36 packs**/10 cards
*Each box contains 1 Autograph or Relic card!
**Each pack contains 9 Topps Baseball cards plus 1 Ticket to Topps Town card!
SRP: $1.99/pack

HTA Jumbo Boxes:
Product Code: 09TOBJ1
Configuration: 6 boxes*/10 packs**/50 cards
* Each box contains 1 Autograph and 2 Relic cards!
** Each pack contains 46 Topps Baseball cards Plus 1 Legends of the Game card, 1 Turkey Red Continuity card, 1 Ring of Honor card and 1 Ticket to ToppsTown.com card!
SRP: $10.00/pack

Releases Wednesday February 4th, 2009

Own the Game with 2009 Topps Baseball Series 1, leading the category for 58 years with: outstanding player selection, complete career statistics, classic photography and time-honored designs!

NEW! 2009 Topps Baseball introduces Legends of the Game commemorating 25 of the greatest players of all time, including Babe Ruth, Jackie Robinson, Mickey Mantle and Lou Gehrig. With autographs, cut signatures, patch cards, and relics, these rare and matchless cards are ONLY available through Topps!

PRODUCT HIGHLIGHTS
  • 1 Autograph or Relic Per Hobby Box!
  • 1 Autograph & 2 Relics Per HTA Box!
  • 1 Numbered* Legends of the Game Nickname Letter Patch in EVERY HTA Jumbo Box!
  • NEW! Legends of the Game with Cut Signatures!
  • World Champion Autographed Relics!
  • Turkey Red Inserts! (2005-2006 design, if you've seen the slide show)
  • Original Artist Sketch Cards!
  • American Legends Cut Signatures!
  • Ticket to Toppstown.com!

So what this means is that as predicted, the CMG exclusives will be a big theme for 2009 Topps. The Turkey Red cards are a going to be used as inserts through all three series (1, 2, and U & H).

No word on a preliminary checklist, although you already know how that goes...

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Finally!!! This Is What 2009 Topps Baseball Will Look Like!!!

If Chris Olds is correct, (and most likely he is), then this should be the 2009 Topps design!


Thank you Chris!!!


These are beautiful!!! Give me a minute, I need to stop hyperventilating!!!

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

And In The End, It's Finally Over!


Congratulations to our new President Barack Obama, and his Vice President Joe Biden. In less than 77 days, the White House, and our Nation, will be in your hands. Good luck to you both. And we'll see you again in our Topps products in another four years.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Before You Read Any More of My (or Anyone Else's) Posts...

GET OUT THERE AND VOTE!!!

I actually had scans of both my Obama and McCain Presidential cards ready for this post, but forgot to get them onto the blog. So to make up for it, here is a scan of what could have been a very interesting product in honor of said election had it not been cancelled:

Good luck. I'm just glad it's finally over. May the best man (I'm not going to specify who I'm for) win.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Monday, November 3, 2008

PUNK'D Edition!!! Introducing the Design for 2009 Topps Baseball!!!

UPDATE: Tuesday, November 4, 2008.

I was PUNK'D!!! In my over-enthusiasm, I was led to believe this was the real thing. And I will admit that I fell for it, hook, line, and sinker. But after reading comments on JT's site last night before turning off the computer, I was beginning to become skeptical. So I made slight adjustments to my post here and on a couple of message boards, ensuring that he gets credit for the piece.

At least my daughter's design still has a shot...(read below to see what I mean). jba

2009 Topps Jay Bruce. Welcome back to 1979 Topps Fans!!!

Thanks to the gentleman over at Writer's Journey and the anonymous poster (you know you've got to tell me who you are so I can thank you publicly for this) who pointed out that JT broke the news.

If the story is true, this design hearkens back to their 1979 effort (funny, that would be 30 years ago when this comes out). What immediately stands out is the amount of space reserved for the picture. It's a simple design. White borders (thank you), player name and team name unobtrusive from the picture. It just screams simple. Don't know if foil printing will come into play (most likely it will somewhere).

Now for those who may say that it looks any kid could have done a better job designing the card for 2009 Topps, rest assured that my eight-year-old daughter was paid lots of money to come up with option number two (see below):

My daughter's 2009 Topps Card design. Looking back now, this actually looks better than the one above!!!

Seriously folks, in a time where every collector wants a nice clean design, you couldn't ask for anything more than this.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

P.S. This is JayBee's daughter. He does not know that I am adding a picture of this necklace that I made to his blog. Don't tell him. Thanks. L. A.

Now how did this get on here...jba

So When Will We Get to See Them???

In our continuing efforts not to glorify the dreaded other company, I'll make this post pretty easy. If anybody from Topps reads this (is there anybody from Topps who reads this?), the other guys have already spilled the beans on their 2009 design.

WHEN WILL WE GET TO SEE WHAT YOU'VE COME UP WITH FOR NEXT YEAR??!

That is all. We now return to your regular scheduled blog reading.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The 2008 Topps U & H WalMart Checklist is Now Complete!!!

2008 Topps U & H WalMart Dick Perez Ryan Braun, Johan Santana, and Josh Hamilton insert cards. Three of ten cards that finish off the 30 card set.

It only took a day, but we now have confirmed the final checklist for the ten insert cards that are exclusively found in blaster boxes and packs sold only at WalMart.
  • WM21-Ryan Braun
  • WM22-Johan Santana
  • WM23-Matt Holliday
  • WM24-Ervin Santana
  • WM25-Daisuke Matsuzaka
  • WM26-Josh Hamilton
  • WM27-Chipper Jones
  • WM28-Lance Berkman
  • WM29-Hanley Ramirez
  • WM30-Mariano Rivera

Remember, if you buy these at Walmart and you don't collect any of the above ten players, or you don't plan on collecting the set, but still want to give these insert cards a home, please send me an e-mail and I will be more than happy to take them off your hands. Thank you very much.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

If This is His Topps Card, Then What Card is This?: Angel Pagan

After a couple of weeks off, it's time to bring this feature back into circulation. This week's subject began his year as the starting left fielder for the New York Mets. Prior to that, he was a backup outfielder for the Chicago Cubs. And even before that, he was a career minor leaguer with the New York Mets. So it took the Mets eight years, mind you two years away from the franchise, but they finally were able to get him onto the major league roster. He has one of the most unique names in the majors because of the possible religious contradiction to it. This week's subject is none other than Mets outfielder Angel Pagan.

In his two years with the Cubs, he hit 9 home runs and drove in 39 rbi's in 148 games played. The highlight of his brief Cubbie career, which was featured in the KMart exclusive 2007 Topps Generation Now Variation set (only Cub to be featured) was hitting two home runs on his birthday (07/02/2006) against the crosstown Chicago White Sox. Traded back to the Mets in January 2008, he only appeared in 31 games in April and May before being placed on the disabled list for the rest of the year.

So anyway, onto the game. Here is his 2008 Topps card, from the just out Updates and Highlights set:



Nice blue jersey, must have been from a spring training game, does not look like there was any photoshopping here. He is pictured here hitting the ball and is on his way to first.

Now here's card number 2:


This card was probably taken during the first week of the season, when the Mets took two out of three against the eventual World Series Champions some time between April 8 - April 10. In this series, he started all three games, and wound up with five hits in 11 at bats and drove in three runs.

So now it's time to ask that all important question...

What Card Is This???

I'll leave this up for a day or so for everyone to ponder. This should be an easy one (if you're a Mets fan anyway). Good luck.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

UPDATE: Thursday, November 6, 2008.

Friend of the blog the drizz was the only person to respond this week. While I don't know what the 2008 Topps Mets exclusive cards look like, I can tell you that this card came from the 55-card 2008 Topps Mets Gift set.

Thanks for playing. We'll shoot for next week. jba

Saturday, November 1, 2008

My Post-Halloween Post

Last year, I took Supergirl and a cowboy while my wife stayed home to wait on trick-or-treaters and cook the traditional Halloween spaghetti dinner. Yesterday, I got to watch my wife, a snow princess, and Batman, go on their annual Trick-or-Treat walk around the neighborhood while I stayed home and cooked. And all that time I realized that I didn't post anything special for Halloween. This hopefully should make up for it.

I'm not too much into the Halloween spirit (no pun intended) since I was in 6th grade. I can probably count on one hand the number of times I dressed up for Halloween since then (and even then, I hated it...not good for a theatre worker in high school). But all the same, stories of ghosts, monsters, and mysteries of the unknown always fascinated me. I don't mean the stories that were made up (okay, few exceptions here), but real stories about ghosts and haunted houses and buildings. I try not to scare easily, but when there is a good real ghost story on the television or a book that I'm reading, I let all of that go, and just get spooked.

While I don't have any Halloween themed baseball cards, here are some cards that could pass, especially with their involvement with the unknown...(cue Inner Sanctum crypt opening music...)


There have been many stories about visitors seeing the ghost of Abraham Lincoln in the White House. While he is probably the most famous ghost residing at the Oval Office, there are others who haunt the Presidential Mansion.


Okay, there were those on the Topps Message Boards who questioned the sanity of the Topps Company when they created this card for the 2007 Topps Allen & Ginter set. Why glorify a murderer was asked a number of times? There wound up even a guy who signed on as Satan (or a reasonable facsimile of) and said that he had an autographed copy of the card. Funny stuff.

The fact is that because Topps was honoring the Allen & Ginter sets of the 1800's, it only made sense to include important events of that time. And sadly, this was one of them. I was going to provide a link that showcases the history of the Ripper Murders, but due to the subject matter, and the fact that the one site I went to goes into really graphic detail on the subject, with pictures, I'm going to pass on doing so.


Whether or not you believe in vampires, you can thank Bram Stoker for giving the world Dracula.


And who knew back then (remember, this is the late 1800's) that a teenaged woman could create one of the most complex and terrifying tales of all time with the classic "The Modern Prometheus." This was just the subtitle to Mary Shelley's classic tale of a mad scientist's quest to give life to the monster known as Frankenstein.


Victor Hugo showed us all that not all "monsters" are bad when he wrote his classic The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

So that ends my little jaunt into Halloween. I promise that next year I'll do better.

(Previewing another What??! of the Week)

Topps, he's been with the Yankees, since the 50's. He's wathced everyone from Mantle and Maris, to Jeter and ARod, and everyone in between.

What were you thinking when you picked THIS picture of the "Voice of God" Bob Sheppard??? He looks like the Crypt Keeper. Wasn't there a better picture to use. This one scared my daughter when I opened the pack in 2004. I know Mr. Sheppard's health is deteriorating (as noted at the All-Star Game this year), but was this the way to include the guy in a set called "All-Time Fan Favorites??!"

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama