Saturday, January 24, 2009

If This is His Topps Card, Then What Card is This?: Billy Butler

After a two week break, (I swear I have to be more consistent with this), we bring back everyone's favorite segment...What Card is This??? And this time, I think I have one that will stump all but my long time (ahem...eight months plus does not equal long time) readers. This week's player is one of the keys to the future of the Kansas City Royals. In their ever continuing attempt to rebuild the franchise, it seems that KC has finally found the right group of young players that can potentially compete within the mediocre AL Central division. After all, if the Tampa Bay Rays can finally overcome the Red Sox and Yankees, who's to say that the Royals can't outplay the Twins, White Sox, Indians, and Tigers? This week's subject is the current Royals First Baseman/Designated Hitter, Billy Butler.

Billy Butler made his major league debut with the Royals on May 1, 2007, and has shown himself to be one of the key players that can potentially put the Royals back on top in the AL Central. When you are surrounded by young stars like Joakim Soria, Alex Gordon, David DeJesus, Luke Hochevar, and Mark Teahan, how can you not like KC's chances? Back to the point. The Royals' 1st round draft pick in 2004, Butler made an impression on the Royals faithful by hitting 11 home runs, driving home 52, and hitting at a .295 clip in his rookie year. He was named the July AL Rookie of the Month by hitting .341 with 3 home runs and 24 rbi's in 24 games. In 2008, his average dropped, but he did hit 11 home runs and 55 rbi's on a team that didn't show a lot of power in the lineup. His second year numbers may have been down, but what do you expect, the kid's only 22 years old??? Give him a season with 162 games, and let's see what he can do.

In any event, Billy Butler initially did not have any cards in 2007 Topps baseball. In a year where the Topps Company messed up by putting the same five guys in both series I and II (Gary Sheffield, Mike Rabelo, Michael Barrett, Elizardo Ramirez, and Bengie Molina), there was no room to add his card to the set...or was there? While Butler's "Rookie Card Logo" cards were never found in packs (his actual rookie cards appeared in 2005 Topps...thank you Gerald for correcting me...shows how much attention I've been paying nowadays...), he did show up in every 2007 Topps factory set as card #636 (replacing Mike Rabelo's series 2 card). The thing is, unless you actually read the checklist, you wouldn't even know he was in there. Heck, even the Number One leading publication in the Hobby doesn't even acknowledge that this card (which can be numbered as #636b) exists. So why do I and every other person with a factory set have one?

And then to top it all off, they included a card of Butler as one of the ten Holiday Factory bonus rookie cards. The rookies chosen as exclusives for the 2007 Topps Holiday sets were some of the bigger names in the 2007 season: Ryan Braun, Joba Chamberlain, Jarrod Saltalamacchia (literally bigger names). And in amongst the two five-card packs was a card of Billy Butler.

Now the reason why I'm actually telling you what sets these cards are from is because instead of asking the usual question, I want to know if you the reader can figure out which card belongs to which set. Below is a scan of both cards. Can you figure out which card is the "regular" 2007 Topps card and which is the "bonus" card? Consider this a baseball card version of "To Tell the Truth" For your viewing pleasure, may I introduce the 2007 Topps Billy Butler cards:

"I am the 2007 Topps Billy Butler card." "I am the 2007 Topps Billy Butler card."

So the question is now...

What Cards are These???

Which one of these two cards is the base card #636? Which card is the bonus card #15 of 20? Will the real 2007 Topps Billy Butler card please stand up? The answers will come later in the week. Good luck.


JayBee Anama

UPDATE: Sunday, February 2, 2009.

RWH's pretty sure guess was absolutely correct. Yes, the card of Butler flashing the leather on the left is part of the Holiday bonus rookie set. The card on the right is the Topps card that is included in every Topps factory set replacing Mike Rabelo. So now the question remains, why doesn't anyone over at the Number One leading publication in the Hobby adding this (and the Buck card) to their checklist database??? jba


RWH said...

I'm pretty sure the card where Billy is fielding is the Holiday Set Bonus Card, while the swinging card is the one taken from the factory set.

Gerald said...

Butler was not in 2004 Topps Traded. His first card was 2005 Topps.