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

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Random Topps Card of the Day: 1988 Topps #264 Les Straker

Thanks to the Topps Card Randomizer, introducing the Random Topps Card of the Day for Saturday, July 31, 2010:


  • Official Card Set Name and Card Number: 1988 Topps #264.
  • Player Name, position, team: Les Straker, pitcher, Minnesota Twins.
  • Major League Debut: April 11, 1987.
  • Last Line of Statistics: 1987 stats (Twins): 31 G, 154.1 IP, 8-10, 79 R, 75 ER, 76 SO, 59 BB, 26 GS, 1 CG, 0 SHO, 0 SV, 4.37 ERA.
  • Any special information about players: Signed with the Reds as a Free Agent 02/10/1977. Signed with the Twins as a Free Agent 01/10/1985. Bats: right, Throws: right.
  • Any special information about this specific card: Straker's second regular Topps (total includes regular and traded cards only). The 1988 Topps set was so iconic that there was a blog totally dedicated to it. In fact, when the blog finished spotlighting all 792 cards in the regular set plus all 132 cards in the traded set, and there was nothing left to write about the set, it became the first blog to be added to the Hall-of-Fame Hobby blogs in the Sports Card Blogroll. Les Straker is lucky to have been playing during this time in Topps' history. Why? Because a player like him, unless he was a Yankee or Red Sox player, would not appear in a set today. This was the time where Topps managed to fit every player on a 25-man roster onto their 792-card behemoth. But not anymore. If he was lucky, he'd probably appear in the Update set after being snubbed in the regular 660-card product. Okay, rant over. As this was Straker's first year in the bigs, and with Topps' rule of showing minor league stats, you can see where Les played before hitting the big time with the twins. He kicked off his professional career in 1977 in Eugene, then Billings, Greensboro, Cedar Rapids, Waterbury, Tampa, back to Waterbury, then to Albany, Orlando, and Toledo. He spent one season in each city, not moving up or down the ladder during the year. The back of his card also mentions that Les earned his first MLB win on April 21, and his first complete game as a big leaguer was on June 29. What the card doesn't tell you is that the complete game in question was a rain shortened affair, with Straker pitching only 4.1 innings. However, the Twins starter, with a 2-0 lead against the Royals, allowed 3 runs to score before the rain became too much for the umpires to bear. And since the Royals were the home team, and now had the lead, it was called a complete game. He did start two games in the 1987 World Series, not earning a decision in either game played. I was hoping to find more information on Straker to write about, Somehow, Andy, the guy that created the 88 Topps Blog, really couldn't find much to write about Straker either.
  • Lo-Hi Beckett value: $0.01-$0.05.
  • How many cards of each player do I own?: 4 cards.
Tomorrow is Retro Sunday, the one day of the week that we feature a card from 1951-1975. The card we will feature tomorrow is: 1963 Topps #291. Come back at 1:00 PM CST to see who (or what) it is.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Friday, July 30, 2010

Random Topps Card of the Day: 2004 Topps #410 Mike Sweeney

Thanks to the Topps Card Randomizer, introducing the Random Topps Card of the Day for Friday, July 30, 2010:

  • Official Card Set Name and Card Number: 2004 Topps #410.
  • Player Name, position, team: Mike Sweeney, first baseman, Kansas City Royals.
  • Major League Debut: September 4, 1995.
  • Last Line of Statistics: 2003 stats (Royals): 108 G, 392 AB, 62 R, 115 H, 18 2B, 1 3B. 16 HR, 83 RBI, 3 SB, 64 SB, 56 SO, .467 SLG, .858 OPS, 293 AVG.
  • Any special information about player: Drafted by the Royals #10th, June 1991. Bats: right, Throws: right.
  • Any special information about this specific card: Sweeney's seventh regular Topps card (total includes regular and traded cards only). Pretty soon, I'll have to put up a poll or two. In 1990, Topps Magazine ran a survey for their readers to vote for their favorite sets of their first four decades. The 1952 set won the 50's decade, 1960 took the 60's, 1975 won for the 70's, and 1986 took the gold for the 80's. And I'm sure if Topps still produced their magazine (it was a sad day when they stopped...for me anyway), they would have polls for the 90's and the 2000's. If they did run a survey, then the 2004 set would have my vote...then the 2009 set came along and...that's a different issue entirely. Sweeney was the face of the Royals during the first part of the decade. Already a 4-time all-star and a 3-time MVP candidate, he was the Royals' captain, heart and soul (so says the back of his card). By this time, his .307 was the team's franchise record, even higher than George Brett's. However, after the 2005 season, injuries started to take its toll on the Royals' star. And by 2007, he was allowed to file for free agency. He played for the Athletics for 42 games, and has spent the last two seasons with the Mariners. I actually thought that he had called it quits after the one year in Oakland, but it seems that he is still plugging along. He will always remain a bright star during a dark time (one still going mind you), in Kansas City.
  • Beckett value: $0.07-$0.20.
  • How many cards of this player do I own?: 32 cards.
Tomorrow's card will be: 1988 Topps #264. Post will arrive at 1:00 PM CST. Flash back with the blog tomorrow.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

For Those Wondering Where I've Been...

I've been on vacation, and apparently did not set the Random Card of the Day posts properly while I've been out. That will be rectified this weekend. Hopefully.

When things go back to normal, here are a couple of the things I want to discuss on this humble, little blog:
  • I went to the Schaumburg Flyers/Andre Dawson & Friends Celebrity Softball game on Wednesday, and have a number of pictures to post (have to sort through the blurry ones though). While I didn't get any autographs (lines were too long, and I don't really go for that kind of thing anyway), it was fun, and I want to share some comments about it when I get back.
  • There seems to be a lot of Hobby related hatred lately. Why is that? Mike Mader, who runs the Topps Company's twitter account was hit with some criticism after he had suggested that there be some kind of forum at the National. The hatred (maybe the word is too harsh, but it's almost 3:00 in the morning, and I can't think straight right now) I've witnessed has been going on for a long time now, and it makes me wonder if there are people who really don't like what's happening in the Hobby, why even be in it??? I might be a bit naïve (okay, a lot naïve) when it comes to certain things related to the Hobby, but isn't what Mader is trying to suggest a good thing???
  • And to continue with the "Hobby hatred," it seems that the blogosphere is all a-twitter (get it...) with the latest box break from the number one source of the hobby...to the point that it got pretty heated (from my vantage point) on the old "140 character" site. That will be discussed as well.
  • Writing this blog has been a journey, and I received two e-mails from readers this week that I would like to share on here. Very positive stuff, not about what I write on this humble little blog, but about realizing what makes this Hobby of collecting great in general and the memories that the cards bring to people (which is kind of the point about collecting the stuff we do, isn't it???).
My vacation runs through the weekend and into the middle of next week, so I am sorry for the lack of posts lately. A lot of things have been going on (not bad at all...good things...) personally, so I've been focusing on that. Again, when life gets back to normal (depending on your definition of normal), I'll be posting again on a regular basis.

In the mean time, if you want to see the cards that the Topps Card Randomizer picked for this week, here you go:


The pictures have already been saved, it's just a matter of getting the posts in. I'll try and catch up during the vacation (which actually started last Saturday...) and be back with abandon by the middle of next week. Take care all.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Random Topps Card of the Day: 1997 Topps #242 Mike Grace

Thanks to the Topps Card Randomizer, introducing the Random Topps Card of the Day for Thursday, July 29, 2010:

  • Official Card Set Name and Card Number: 1997 Topps #242.
  • Player Name, position, team: Mike Grace, pitcher, Philadelphia Phillies.
  • Major League Debut: September 1, 1995.
  • Last Line of Statistics: 1996 stats (Philless): 12 G, 80 IP, 7-2, 33 R, 31 ER, 49 SO, 16 BB, 12 GS, 1 CG, 1 SHO, 0 SV, 3.49 ERA.
  • Any special information about player: Drafted by the Phillies #10th June, 1991. Bats: right, Throws: right.
  • Any special information about this specific card: Grace's first and only Topps card (regular cards are just his base and traded cards only). The 1997 Topps set made it easy to distinguish which players played for which league. All National League players had green frames superimposed over the player's picture, while the American League players had red frames. The pictures themselves were glossy, while frames and borders surrounding left unglossed, a matte finish if you will. Grace played for five years in the majors, all with the Phillies. His 1996 season was his best one, with his 7-2 record in twelve appearances his career best. The blurb on the back reads that Grace had arm problems which held him out for the majority of the season. But when he was health, "he made some noise. On May 12th, he shut out the Braves on four hits, beating Greg Maddux..." which if you think about it, in the mid-1990's, that would have been the only way to do it! He would pitch for three more seasons, finishing with an even career record (16-16) and a 4.96 ERA.
  • Beckett value: $0.07-$0.20.
  • How many cards of this player do I own?: 1 card.
Tomorrow's card will be: 2004 Topps #410. Post will arrive at 1:00 PM CST. Until tomorrow everybody.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Random Topps Card of the Day: 1992 Topps #396 Lee Smith NL All-Star Relief Pitcher

Thanks to the Topps Card Randomizer, introducing the Random Topps Card of the Day for Wednesday, July 28, 2010:


  • Official Card Set Name and Card Number: 1992 Topps #396.
  • Player Name, position, team: Lee Smith, All-Star Relief Pitcher, National League.
  • Any special information about this specific card: Since 1991 was seen as one of Lee Smith's best season in the majors, Smith's 1992 Topps All-Star card reflects his dominance as a closer for the Cardinals. The back of the card is split into two sections. The section on the right mentions that his 46th save of the year (he finished with 47) broke Bruce Sutter's NL save record. The section on the left lists the 1991 NL League Leaders in Saves, with Smith's 47 good enough to lead the league (just behind him were Rob Dibble (31), John Franco & Mitch Williams (30), and Dave Righetti (24)). As Sutter is now in the Hall of Fame, and as recent Hall of Famer Andre Dawson said in his induction speech, Smith should be in the Hall as well. Today being the 28th, I'm taking my family to see Andre Dawson and Friends (including the aforementioned Lee Smith and Bruce Sutter) in a celebrity softball game at Alexian Fields in Schaumburg. It should be fun. I hope to have pictures and notes on the game up on the blog soon.
  • Lo-Hi Beckett value: $0.01-$0.05.
Tomorrow's card will be: Thursday: 1997 Topps #242. Post will arrive at 1:00 PM CST. Hope you will be too.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Random Topps Card of the Day: 2007 Topps #263 Kevin Kouzmanoff

Thanks to the Topps Card Randomizer, introducing the Random Topps Card of the Day for Tuesday, July 27, 2010:

  • Official Card Set Name and Card Number: 2007 Topps #263.
  • Player Name, position, team: Kevin Kouzmanoff, third baseman, San Diego Padres.
  • Major League Debut: September 2, 2006.
  • Last Line of Statistics: 2006 stats (Akron-Buffalo): 94 G, 346 AB, 68 R, 131 H, 28 2B, 1 3B, 22 HR, 75 RBI, 4 SB, 33 BB, 46 SO, .656 SLG, 1.093 OPS, .379 AVG.
  • Any special information about player: Drafted by the Indians #6th, June 2003. Traded by the Indians to the Padres 11/08/2006. Bats: right, Throws: right.
  • Any special information about this specific card: Kouzmanoff's first Topps card (total includes regular and traded cards only) This card is marked as a "rookie card" by the 2006 MLB Properties standard. He does, however show up as a bonus card in one of the Topps' factory sets in 2004 (in the hobby sets, he was card #5). He made a big impact in his major league debut. Facing the Reds' Edinson Volquez in the first inning, with the bases loaded, Kouzmanoff hit the first pitch he saw into the stands, becoming the third player ever to hit a grand slam in his MLB debut, and the first to do so on the first pitch. The blurb on the back not only mentions this big event, but also that "Kouz" won the Lou Boudreau Award as the top position player in the Indians' organization. Although he was traded to the Padres after the 2006 season, it would have been nice to see the guy in an Indians uniform as that's where he finished his season. One of the things I don't like about what Topps has been doing the last few years is "photoshopping" the uniform of a player's new team BEFORE the season even starts. But, who am I to be critical???
  • Lo-Hi Beckett value: $0.20-$0.50.
  • How many cards of this player do I own?: 13 cards.
Tomorrow's card will be: 1992 Topps #396. Post will arrive at 1:00 PM CST. We're looking back at a card from 1992 here on the blog tomorrow.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Monday, July 26, 2010

Random Topps Card of the Day: 1987 Topps #432 Jim Slaton

We reset the Topps Card Randomizer to come up with seven new cards to present for this week. Introducing the Random Topps Card of the Day for Monday, July 26, 2010:

  • Official Card Set Name and Card Number: 1987 Topps #432.
  • Player Name, position, team: Jim Slaton, pitcher, Detroit Tigers.
  • Major League Debut: April 14, 1971.
  • Last Line of Statistics: 1986 stats (Tigers): 22 G, 40 IP, 0-0, 18 R, 18 ER, 12 SO, 11 BB, 0 GS, 0 CG, 0 SHO, 2 SV, 4.05 ERA.
  • Any special information about players: Drafted by the Pilots #15th, June 1969. Signed with the Tigers as a Free Agent 07/14/1986. Bats: right, Throws: right.
  • Any special information about this specific card: Slaton's seventeenth regular (and final) total includes regular and traded cards only). What else can be said about the 1987 Topps set that has not already been said? It was the first Topps product I was introduced to, and it seems to have been the starting point for many collectors. Sadly, Topps made so much of it, that it can be said that you can actually build a house using the cards, and not because of the wood-grained design. There was just too much of it. Topps even sold them as complete sets in uncut sheets. But still, you wouldn't see use of the team logo incorporated into the design on a Topps card (not counting team-trademarked lettering) until 1996. Slaton holds a unique distinction as a player drafted by the Seattle Pilots in 1969. In fact, of the 47 men who can claim to have been selected by the Pilots (not the Brewers), only nine men made it to the majors (key names include Gorman Thomas, Duane Kuiper, and Rick Auerbach, who was drafted as a pitcher before converting to an infielder). Now, the baseball card says that he was selected in the 17th round of the 1969 draft, but according to baseball-reference, he was selected in the 15th round (the 17th round pick was outfielder Bob Coluccio), making this card an ERROR CARD!!! As 1986 was the final year of Slaton's long career, the final career stats on the back are complete. He was a pitching coach to a number of minor league teams, and even coached in the majors with the Mariners and the Dodgers.
  • Lo-Hi Beckett value: $0.01-$0.05.
  • How many cards of each player do I own?: 13 cards.
Tomorrow's card will be: 2007 Topps #263. Post will arrive at 1:00 PM CST. See you then.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Random Topps Card of the Day: 1963 Topps #291 Don Rudolph

It's Retro Sunday!!! Thanks to the Topps Card Randomizer, introducing the Random Topps Card of the Day for Sunday, July 25, 2010:

  • Official Card Set Name and Card Number: 1963 Topps #291.
  • Player Name, position, team: Don Rudolph, pitcher, Washington Senators.
  • Major League Debut: September 21, 1957.
  • Last Line of Statistics: 1963 stats (Indians-Senators): 35 G, 177 IP, 8-10, .444 PCT, 68 SO, 42 BB, 3.61 ERA.
  • Any special information about player: Signed with the White Sox before the 1952 season. Traded by the Indians to the Senators 05/03/1962. Bats: left, Throws: left.
  • Any special information about this specific card: Rudolph's fourth regular Topps card. Here is the pioneer...the set I always mention almost every time a 1983 or 2003 Topps card shows up on the randomizer. The famous 1963 Topps set. Featuring two pictures, one main large on, and the second a smaller picture in a frame. If Topps continues this 20-year pattern, the next time a design similar will appear will be in 2023. Don Rudolph, based on the back of this particular Topps card, must have been some heck of a pitcher in the minors. The cartoon above the stats says that he won 28 games in the minors in 1951. The bio on the back reads that the "Indians drafted Don from the PCL (or at least the Reds' minor leage team) in 1961 after he posted the best ERA in the league." Sadly, Don died on September 12, 1968 in a truck accident. But he did leave his mark in cardboard history. On the back of his 1959 Topps card, there is a cartoon drawing of a baseball player at a restaurant table watching a dancer high-stepping. The caption read "Don's wife is a professional dancer." How odd would that have been to the youth of 1959 America to see that little blurb. His wife was dancer Patti Wiggin, and I do recall reading somewhere about this interesting tidbit and something about a book being written about it. I can't find it anywhere. If anybody knows what I'm talking about, please lead me to it. Thanks.
  • Lo-Hi Beckett value: $2.00-$5.00.
  • How many cards of this player do I own?: 0 cards.
In case you're actually wondering, I don't own this card, but was able to get a crystal clean copy of the image from the from the Baseball Card Cyber Museum. So thank you Joe McAnally and the folks at the BCCM.

Well, it's back to normal on Monday. Tomorrow's card will be: 1987 Topps #432. Post will arrive at 1:00 PM CST. Come on back then to see what the Topps Card Randomizer gets us to look at then.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Random Topps Card of the Day: 1983 Topps #414 Julio Cruz

Thanks to the Topps Card Randomizer, introducing the Random Topps Card of the Day for Saturday, July 24, 2010:

  • Official Card Set Name and Card Number: 1983 Topps #414.
  • Player Name, position, team: Julio Cruz, second baseman, Seattle Mariners.
  • Major League Debut: July 4, 1977.
  • Last Line of Statistics: 1982 stats (Mariners): 154 G, 549 AB, 83 R, 133 H, 22 2B, 5 3B, 8 HR, 49 RBI, 46 SB, .344 SLG, 57 B, 71 SO, .242 AVG.
  • Any special information about players: Signed with the Angels as a Free Agent 05/07/1974. Drafted by the Mariners in the Expansion Draft #52nd, 11/05/1976. Bats: both, Throws: right.
  • Any special information about this specific card: Cruz' sixth regular Topps (total includes regular and traded cards only). One of the original Mariners (from the expansion draft), Julio Cruz was the M's regular second baseman during the team's early years. He was traded to the White Sox in the middle of the 1983 season. Before we continue with the commentary, please take a look at the card. It looks like he's standing in front of a painted background. You really can't make out anybody in the stands behind him. Now I know that in many pictures, the players are in focus while the background is not, but this is ridiculous. Was he even at the game that day? Did Topps manage to convince him to step into their offices for the snapshot (like Old Judge cards from a bygone era)? And while you can definitely see blue and yellow trim on the uniform, Topps chose yellow and pink for the border colors of this card. Way to go, guys. Anyway, Cruz went on to have his best season in 1983, helping the White Sox to their first AL West title. He was even considered an MVP candidate that year (24th in the voting). The back of his card has a few highlights that Topps thought was noteworthy from the 1982 season: May 15: drove in winning run in the ninth inning vs. Orioles; June 4: went 3-4 with two stolen bases at Detroit; June 16: belted a 3-run homer for game winning RBI in 7-2 win over the Rangers.
  • Lo-Hi Beckett value: $0.05-$0.15.
  • How many cards of each player do I own?: 11 cards.
Tomorrow is Retro Sunday, the one day of the week that we feature a card from 1951-1975. The card we will feature tomorrow is: 1963 Topps #291. Come back at 1:00 PM CST to see who (or what) it is.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Friday, July 23, 2010

Random Topps Card of the Day: 1994 Topps #464 Bill Wegman

Thanks to the Topps Card Randomizer, introducing the Random Topps Card of the Day for Friday, July 23, 2010:


  • Official Card Set Name and Card Number: 1994 Topps #464.
  • Player Name, position, team: Bill Wegman, pitcher, Milwaukee Brewers.
  • Major League Debut: September 14, 1985.
  • Last Line of Statistics: 1993 stats (Brewers): 20 G, 120.2 IP, 4-14, 70 R, 60 ER, 50 SO, 34 BB, 18 GS, 5 CG, 0 SHO, 0 SV, 4.48 ERA.
  • Any special information about player: Drafted by the Brewers #5th, June 1981. Bats: right, Throws: right.
  • Any special information about this specific card: Wegman's ninth regular Topps card (total includes regular and traded cards only). The 1994 Topps set was the last one to consist of 792 cards. While the 2001 Topps set came close with 790 cards (while the last card of that set ended at #791, there was no #7), no set since then has come close to meeting or exceeding that number of cards since then. Within the 1994 Topps' home plate designed frame comes a picture of Wegman ready to send the next pitch home. Wegman spent his entire big league career in Milwaukee, and was a mainstay in the Brew Crew's starting rotation for more than ten seasons. In 1995, he was relegated to the bullpen, but didn't find as much success as he did as a starter. He was granted free agency after the 1995 season, but, not finding a team to sign him, retired from baseball. The back of his card states that Wegman "won the Brewers' Hutch Award in 1991 for his courageous comeback from injury." The Hutch Award is named after former baseball player and manager Fred Hutchinson, who passed away from cancer at the age of 45.
  • Beckett value: $0.02-$0.10.
  • How many cards of this player do I own?: 12 cards.
Tomorrow's card will be: 1983 Topps #414. Post will arrive at 1:00 PM CST. Flash back with the blog tomorrow.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Summer Cleaning of the Blogroll.

I'm on the road tonight, at my parents for another round of Thursday night dinner. While nobody is using their computer, I thought I'd use this time to do the monthly cleanup of the big Sports Card Blogroll.

Going into tonight's post, the number of blogs on the blogroll was at 311. Here are the blogs that reached six months of inactivity, and thus will be removed from the roster:
So we gained three blogs within the past month, and are removing nine. That's our first net loss (-6), and brings our roster down to 302 blogs.

If any of these above blogs are yours, and you plan on starting up again, (NeedMoMorneau is a good example of a blog that was removed and is now back), please send me an e-mail at bdj610@hotmail.com.

And if you have a blog that isn't listed here on the big blog roll, let me know about it, and I'll be more than happy to add it to the list.

The more voices we have online in this Hobby, the more information can be shared. Unique perspectives allow us to think about aspects of our Hobby that we may not have thought about before. Until next month...

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Random Topps Card of the Day: 1984 Topps Traded #74T Jerry Martin

Thanks to the Topps Card Randomizer, introducing the Random Topps Card of the Day for Thursday, July 22, 2010:

  • Official Card Set Name and Card Number: 2003 Topps #257
  • Player Name, position, team: Jerry Martin, outfielder, New York Mets.
  • Major League Debut: September 7, 1974.
  • Last Line of Statistics: 1983 stats (Royals): 13 G, 44 AB, 4 R, 14 H, 2 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 13 RBI, 1 SB, .500 SLG, 1 BB, 7 SO, .318 AVG..
  • Any special information about player: Signed with the Phillies as a Free Agent 07/17/1971. Signed with the Mets as a Free Agent 03/16/1984. Bats: right, Throws: right.
  • Any special information about this specific card: Martin's eleventh regular Topps card (regular cards are just his base and traded cards only). The 1984 Topps Traded set was printed on "white" card-stock, not the kind we see now, but something a bit brighter than what was used for the regular sets . You can actually see the blue text on the pink background. Martin's spent his last season in the majors as a part-time player with the Mets, getting in only 51 games that season. He spent most of his career with the Phillies, before being sent playing for the Cubs, Giants, and Royals. And although he only played in 13 games the year before (as a Royal), he made the most of his appearances. The blurb below the stats recalls the Royals vs. Brewers game on 04/09/1983, where he went 3-4, drove in two runs, and even hit an inside-the-park home run.
  • Beckett value: $0.15-$0.40.
  • How many cards of this player do I own?: 12 cards.
Tomorrow's card will be: 1994 Topps #464. Post will arrive at 1:00 PM CST. Until tomorrow everybody.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Random Topps Card of the Day: 2007 Topps Updates & Highlights #UH17 Jason Ellison

Thanks to the Topps Card Randomizer, introducing the Random Topps Card of the Day for Wednesday, July 21, 2010:

  • Official Card Set Name and Card Number: 2007 Topps Updates & Highlights #UH17.
  • Player Name, position, team: Jason Ellison, outfielder, Seattle Mariners.
  • Major League Debut: May 9, 2003.
  • Last Line of Statistics: 2006 stats (Giants): 84 G, 81 AB, 14 R, 18 H, 5 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 2 SB, 5 BB, 14 SO, .383 SLG, .656 OPS, .222 AVG.
  • Any special information about players: Drafted by the Giants #22nd, June 2000. Traded by the Giants to the Mariners 04/01/2007. Bats: right, Throws: right.
  • Any special information about this specific card: Ellison's first (and presently, only) regular Topps (total includes regular and traded cards only). The 2007 Topps set was the first to feature an all black border since the famous 1971. And just like it's 36-year-old sibling, the borders can easily chip, and any corner flaws, edging marks, and on and on, can be easily seen on the cards, so please be careful when handling. As mentioned in the first sentence of this description, this is Ellison's only Topps card, and it's a Traded/Update/End of the Year card at that. Apparently playing in 131 games as a Giant wasn't enough to even earn him cardboard love in the 2006 Topps set. However, Topps was nice enough to include him in the Giants team baseball card giveaway set (sponsored by Emerald...and I still want the 2008, and 2009 versions of this set). The back of the card states that the Mariners traded for Ellison just as the season started, and used him as a spare outfielder/pinch hitter. He didn't start a game until the middle of May. The big highlight for Ellison, in Topps' opinion, was a game against the Athletics on July 8, in which he went 4-4 with a stolen base and a run scored. However, his run as a Mariner was short lived, as he was claimed on the waiver wire by the Cincinnati Reds. Which leads me to question if Topps couldn't get a picture of him with the Reds in time for the end of the year set? While I'm sure M's fans weren't complaining (hey, we got another guy in the set), I'm sure people were wondering why a guy who didn't even finish with the team that year, is being pictured as such. I'm sure there are other examples of this...but I can't think of any at the moment. Ellison was last seen in the majors in 2008, playing for the Texas Rangers for a nine-game stretch. In 2009, he played in the Phillies' minor league system, with the AAA Lehigh Valley IronPigs (gotta love that name).
  • Lo-Hi Beckett value: $0.12-$0.30.
  • How many cards of each player do I own?: 2 cards.
Tomorrow's card will be: Thursday: 1984 Topps Traded#76T. Post will arrive at 1:00 PM CST. Hope you will be too.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Random Topps Card of the Day: 1985 Topps #298 Marty Barrett

Thanks to the Topps Card Randomizer, introducing the Random Topps Card of the Day for Tuesday, July 20, 2010:


  • Official Card Set Name and Card Number: 1985 Topps #298.
  • Player Name, position, team: Marty Barrett, second baseman, Boston Red Sox.
  • Major League Debut: September 6, 1982.
  • Last Line of Statistics: 1984 stats (Red Sox): 139 G, 475 AB, 56 R, 144 H, 23 2B, 3 3B, 3 HR, 45 RBI, 4 SB, .383 SLG, 42 BB, 25 SO, .303 AVG.
  • Any special information about player: Drafted by the Red Sox #1st (Secondary), June 1979. Bats: right, Throws: right.
  • Any special information about this specific card: Barrett's second Topps card (total includes regular and traded cards only). Before I begin, yes...my card is that off-center. I'm surprised that you don't see anything from the next card over. This will be one card I'll plan on upgrading (if I ever remember to do so). Barrett's first full year with the Red Sox saw him establish himself as the team's second baseman. His best season would be the 1986 season, in which his hitting (24-60 between the ALCS and World Series), kept the BoSox in hunt for that elusive World Series. The green background of the card backs printed on gray card stock, along with red (or pink) text, makes it a bit hard to read what's on the back of the cards. Below the stats is a Baseball Trivia question. The question on Barrett's card: Who won the only game for the Padres in the 1984 World Series? The answer.
  • Lo-Hi Beckett value: $0.05-$0.15.
  • How many cards of this player do I own?: 12 cards.
Tomorrow's card will be: 2007 Topps Updates & Highlights #UH17. Post will arrive at 1:00 PM CST. We're looking back at a card from 2007 here on the blog tomorrow.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Monday, July 19, 2010

He's Done It Again. Nick Jacoby (and Friends) Cracked the Ginter Code!!!


If you're thinking of doing this now, I'm sorry to say this, but you're too late!!!

Okay, so once again, I haven't bought any of this year's edition of Topps' Allen & Ginter product yet. I will still wait and buy a full set of Allen & Ginter off the Bay, SP's and all. And looking at the prices that these sets are commanding this year, I don't think I'll have a problem buying one soon.

Especially, since the code has been cracked.

What??!

The Ginter Code has been cracked.

Please repeat?


Exactly...it's a repeat. Nick Jacoby of Cardboard Overload, the guy who was featured in this year's A & G set now has a place reserved in next year's set. Why??? Because..

THE GINTER CODE HAS BEEN CRACKED!!!

What was first announced as a possibility on the Freedom Cardboard (to the shock, dismay, and disbelief of the members of said board), has now become a reality. Jacoby, with the help of some friends, cracked this year's Ginter code. Amazing, considering that there were no cards that would (initially) help in cracking the code. And you had to take some initiative just to get the code in the first place.

Topps really set the bar high for this one, and even though he initially thought he wasn't going to be the first to send in his answer (happy birthday to Shin-Soo Choo by the way), he was notified over the weekend that indeed, he was the first to send his response.

Congratulations once again Nick. When I do get my set, I will ask for an extra Jacoby card so I can have you sign it.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Random Topps Card of the Day: 1996 Topps #70 Ron Gant

We reset the Topps Card Randomizer to come up with seven new cards to present for this week. Introducing the Random Topps Card of the Day for Monday, July 19, 2010:

  • Official Card Set Name and Card Number: 1996 Topps #70.
  • Player Name, position, team: Ron Gant, outfielder, Cincinnati Reds.
  • Major League Debut: September 6, 1987.
  • Last Line of Statistics: 1995 stats (Reds): 119 G, 410 AB, 79 R, 113 H, 19 2B, 4 3B, 29 HR, 88 RBI, 23 SB, .554 SLG, 74 BB, 108 SO, .276 AVG.
  • Any special information about players: Drafted by the Braves #4th June, 1983. Signed with the Reds as a Free Agent 06/21/1994. Bats: right, Throws: left.
  • Any special information about this specific card: Gant's tenth regular Topps card (total includes regular and traded cards only). The well-traveled Gant made his way to the Reds in 1994. He was on the DL that year due to injuries suffered in a dirt bike accident (something highlighted on the back of his Topps card...translation, be careful kids). But he was back in a big way in 1995, leading the Reds to a Central Division title. He became an all-star once again, and even hit three extra-inning home runs that year. His efforts were rewarded at the end of the season when he was named the NL Comeback Player of the Year. His 1996 Topps card shows him at beautiful Wrigley Field, taking aim at the bleachers in left. He only played that one year with the Reds. He would go on for another eight seasons, traveling all over the majors to play for Cardinals, Phillies, Angels, Rockies, Athletics, and Padres. But the 1995 season was sweet redemption for a man whose career was almost cut short.
  • Lo-Hi Beckett value: $0.07-$0.20.
  • How many cards of each player do I own?: 30 cards.
Tomorrow's card will be: 1985 Topps #298. Post will arrive at 1:00 PM CST. See you then.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The People Say...

that Topps should call their end-of-the-year set Topps Series 3. And while that's the majority vote, I have a problem with that...and I'll explain it after going over the poll results.

A record 152 readers decided that to participate in the latest poll (up from 128 from the last time I ran one of these things), and 56 of them (or 36% of the voters) believed that Topps should call their end-of-the-year set Topps Series 3. The rest of the results:

  • 27 voters (17%) thought that the set should be called Topps Stephen Strasburg and 329 Other Guys (with Strasburg as a bonus card and also in the set, and with people planning on buying the set because of said athlete, they might as well have called it that and gotten it over with),
  • 22 voters (14%) liked the new product name of Update Series,
  • 19 voters (12%) wanted Topps to go back to what the product was originally called, Topps Traded,
  • 12 voters (7%) couldn't care less what Topps called the product,
  • 9 voters (5%) preferred that Topps just continued to call it Topps Updates & Highlights,
  • 5 voters (3%) would have liked to see blasters and packs of Topps End-of-the-Year Electric Boogaloo, and
  • 2 voters believes that the product should be named Topps Traded and Rookies again.
Now, while the majority would like the product be called Series 3 (as it is indeed the third series of the eponymous Topps flagship product), I have a problem with that. Because the end-of-the-year set basically features a number of players who changed teams during the course of the year...AND had cards in the base set, it's hard to call it "Series 3." The only way I'd agree to a "Series 3" name is if Topps put in all the players they MISSED in the first two series. You know, the relief pitchers (you do know that All-Stars like Evan Meek, Arthur Rhodes, Matt Thornton don't have cards right???), the unheralded utility player (like Omar Infante, another All-Star this year), the third string catchers, the 25th man on the team. Of course, mix in the superstars and rookies as well. Bring back the subsets like the All-Star cards (use the starters of the game if you must for series 3, and leave room for the rest of the All-Star rosters in the EOY set so that you can get everybody this year...including those injured & ineligible to participate, you should have 81 players on both sides). I have a hard enough time liking the idea that Topps photoshop new uniforms on players who changed teams in series 2. I'd probably scream "WHAT??!" if it continued in a product called "Series 3."

Personally, I like the term Traded, but it's almost outdated don't you think? Sure, teams still trade players all the time, but there are also players who change teams by other means (free agency being the big one), so maybe they should stop calling it Topps Traded.

And then there are the rookies, those young players who make it to the bigs and because nobody expected them to get in, or because of the new RC rules (are the five-year-old RC rules still considered "new?"), Topps would add them to their final set. But Rookies do not an end-of-the-year product make (unless the name of the product begins with the words Bowman). So Topps Traded and Rookies no longer seems relevant.

I liked the name Updates and Highlights because this product truly is an Update set, and it had highlights of major events that happened during the course of the year. But I also felt that because of the set breakdown, there just (on average, there are 180 players, about 55 rookies, 60 all-stars, 8 home run derby competitors, 10 season highlights, 5 combos, 12 postseason or other random cards) that people were still missed, and other highlights were not included. I know you can't squeeze everything into a 330 card set, but the name of the product made the most sense here.

So do we like the name Topps Update Series? Ehhh...maybe. The name really fits the purpose of the set (it updates the regular set). The numbering is going to look a lot weirder (#US1, #US2...sounds like they're trying the patriotic theme here don't you think???), but whatever sells right? They can call it whatever they want though...people will still think of it as either Topps Series 3 or Topps Traded.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Random Topps Card of the Day: 1975 Topps #627 Tom Walker

It's Retro Sunday!!! Thanks to the Topps Card Randomizer, introducing the Random Topps Card of the Day for Sunday, July 18, 2010:

  • Official Card Set Name and Card Number: 1975 Topps #627.
  • Player Name, position, team: Tom Walker, pitcher, Montréal Expos.
  • Major League Debut: April 23, 1972.
  • Last Line of Statistics: 1974 stats (Memphis-AAA): 5 G, 40 IP, 5-0, 37 SO, 7 BB, 1.35 ERA.
  • Any special information about player: Drafted by the Orioles #1st, June 1968. Drafted by the Expos via the Rule 5 Draft, 11/29/1971. Bats: right, Throws: right.
  • Any special information about this specific card: Walker's third regular Topps card. The reason why Walker's minor league stats are used for the "Last Line of Statistics," it's because Topps put his minor league numbers on last, and his MLB numbers above it. In 1974 with les Expos, Walker's numbers were: 33 G, 92 IP, 4-5, 70 SO, 28, BB, and a 3.02 ERA. The back of his card mentions that Tom "has distinction of never having a season where he lost more games than won." Well, if they were counting only MLB, then this isn't true (he did go 4-5 with les Expos), but combined, he would be 9-5. In a bit of updating, it does say at the end of the sentence that he was traded to the Tigers on 12/04/1974. If there was a Topps Traded set to go with this one, then he'd definitely be part of that set.
  • Lo-Hi Beckett value: $0.20-$0.50.
  • How many cards of this player do I own?: 2 cards.
In case you're actually wondering, I don't own this card, but was able to get a crystal clean copy of the image from the from the Baseball Card Cyber Museum. So thank you Joe McAnally and the folks at the BCCM.

Well, it's back to normal on Monday. Tomorrow's card will be: 1996 Topps #70. Post will arrive at 1:00 PM CST. Come on back then to see what the Topps Card Randomizer gets us to look at then.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Random Topps Card of the Day: 2004 Topps Traded & Rookies #T38 Hee Seop Choi

Thanks to the Topps Card Randomizer, introducing the Random Topps Card of the Day for Saturday, July 17, 2010:

  • Official Card Set Name and Card Number: 2004 Topps Traded & Rookies #T38.
  • Player Name, position, team: Hee Seop Choi, first baseman, Los Angeles Dodgers.
  • Major League Debut: September 3, 2002.
  • Last Line of Statistics: 2003 stats (Cubs): 80 G, 202 AB, 31 R, 44 H, 17 2B, 0 3B, 8 HR, 28 RBI, 1 SB, 37 BB, 71 SO, .421 SLG, .771 OPS, .218 AVG.
  • Any special information about players: Signed with the Cubs as a Free Agent 03/04/1999. Drafted by the Orioles #3rd, June 1975. Traded by the Marlins to the Dodgers 07/30/2004. Bats: left, Throws: left.
  • Any special information about this specific card: Choi's fifth regular Topps (total includes regular and traded cards only). We already talked about the great design aspects of the 2004 Topps set earlier this week, so we'll talk about the player here. Hee Seop Choi is the first Korean-born position player in the major leagues. He was to be the future first baseman for the Cubs. However, thanks to a collision with Kerry Wood during a game with the Yankees (one that saw him taken off by an ambulance during the game), he was never the same. He was traded to the Marlins after the 2003 season for the man who would become the Cubs first baseman, one who would be the face of the franchise during the second half of the 2000's, Derrek Lee. Traded during the 2004 season (so there are no Topps cards of Choi as a Marlin) to the Dodgers, his new team staged "a special welcome for him in the teeming Koreatown section of Los Angeles." The team was on the road at the time, so this became his "homecoming" or sorts. He participated in the 2005 Home Run Derby, representing Korea (as the competition was by country). He was last seen in the minor league system of the Red Sox (2006), and has returned to Korea to play for the Kia Tigers of the Korean Baseball Organization. After a long slump, he finally rebounded with career highs in every major offensive category.
  • Lo-Hi Beckett value: $0.07-$0.20.
  • How many cards of each player do I own?: 10 cards.
Tomorrow is Retro Sunday, the one day of the week that we feature a card from 1951-1975. The card we will feature tomorrow is: 1975 Topps #627. Come back at 1:00 PM CST to see who (or what) it is.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Friday, July 16, 2010

Random Topps Card of the Day: 1978 Topps #379 Skip Lockwood

Thanks to the Topps Card Randomizer, introducing the Random Topps Card of the Day for Friday, July 16, 2010:




  • Official Card Set Name and Card Number: 1978 Topps #379.
  • Player Name, position, team: Skip Lockwood, pitcher, New York Mets.
  • Major League Debut: April 23, 1965; (as a pitcher) August 27, 1969.
  • Last Line of Statistics: 1977 stats (Mets): 63 G, 104 IP, 4-8, 40, 39 ER, 84 SO, 31 BB, 3.38 ERA.
  • Any special information about player: Signed with the Athletics as a Free Agent 06/10/1964. Contract purchased by the Mets 07/28/1975. Bats: right, Throws: right.
  • Any special information about this specific card: Lockwood's tenth regular Topps card (total includes regular and traded cards only). The classic 1978 Topps set features a large picture, a floating baseball showing the player's position, the team name in a unique script font (which is the main focal point of the set's design), and the player's name to its right. Simplicity redefined, it is one of the more plain designs Topps came up with during the late 70's. Claude "Skip" Lockwood was originally an infielder who only saw limited action as a pinch hitter, pinch runner, and a couple of games at 3rd base for the Kansas City Athletics. After two seasons in the minors (which saw him drafted via the Rule 5 draft, only to be returned to the A's), the A's decided to convert him to a pitcher. He was selected in the expansion draft by the Seattle Pilots, and made his MLB pitching debut with the team in the Pilots' only season. Lockwood was the de facto closer for the NY Mets, leading the bullpen with 20 saves that year. With 4 relief wins, he finished 8th in the NL Fireman Derby (the precursor to the Rolaids Fireman Award). As with most 1978 Topps cards, there is a "Play Ball" game that can be played, with a specific play below the section. Drawing Lockwood's card gets you a fly out.
  • Beckett value: $0.10-$0.25.
  • How many cards of this player do I own?: 6 cards.
Tomorrow's card will be: 2004 Topps Traded and Rookies #T38. Post will arrive at 1:00 PM CST. Flash back with the blog tomorrow.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Thursday, July 15, 2010

This is the Ginter Code???

I've read numerous boards that are trying to crack this year's Ginter Code. I know Nick Jacoby of Cardboard Overload (you know him, he's the guy that won it last year and has a card in this year's A & G set to show for it) has said that he believes he has cracked it, but isn't sure that he was the first to respond back to do so.

With that in mind, and realizing that I have no shot in heck to win this year, I read on a board that there are no obvious code cards in this year's set. So even though people have been scrutinizing over sailor cards, or celestial cards, or the zodiac, or even the boxes themselves, apparently, none are going to help crack the code.

What I also read that if you follow the instructions on the actual code contest card (which is e-mailing code@topps.com), you'll get an automated response, whether or not you actually solved it.

Okay, so I e-mailed them and look what I got back in return...

Subject: RE: code
Date: Thu, 15 Jul 2010 16:45:42 -0400
From: code@topps.com
To: bdj610@hotmail.com

,pliww0oD,iskrsmdcohG!eomatyOreedoaoo2ec
omaytt.glsndf.urnenarahmatt,bcrdKibn;-e1
suhrTrysheeotektoh.adyEp9hleijoBe!d-,ycb
,scwuah,gtpoeah.aoTsuneMohw!ioe?cbro.oey
dsrk!ohdkrlriioshoeoauehKosGhwd4,oirbt?e
naUu,nelpeeteH,WhpuiiaforTrhdsr.voc,.atk
l"Let,eiIluenylrdytthes,r20Cg0A.wAmd?eoG
P,g.e.Ferh"tswosaelsmiearrsisns'brhesirn
ecwcahtnoistetdsaneoispytdepasdSCfty!.gL
dwy.treupiconfjg4sT?gE!2ukdGhqpsrqkAdne6c

The Codemaster
P.O. Box 785
Pittston, PA 18640

Figured it out yet???

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Random Topps Card of the Day: 2003 Topps #257 Elmer Dessens

Thanks to the Topps Card Randomizer, introducing the Random Topps Card of the Day for Thursday, July 15, 2010:

  • Official Card Set Name and Card Number: 2003 Topps #257
  • Player Name, position, team: Elmer Dessens, pitcher, Cincinnati Reds.
  • Major League Debut: June 24, 1996.
  • Last Line of Statistics: 2002 stats (Reds): 30 G, 178 IP, 7-8, 70 R, 60 ER, 93 SO, 49 BB, 30 GS, 0 CG, 0 SHO, 0 SV, 3.03 ERA.
  • Any special information about player: Signed with the Pirates as a Free Agent 01/27/1993. Signed with the Reds as a Free Agent 12/13/1999. Bats: right, Throws: right.
  • Any special information about this specific card: Dessens' first regular Topps card (regular cards are just his base and traded cards only). You know what I think of the 2003 Topps design (easy to chip blue borders, large main picture, smaller second picture in a baseball diamond/infield shape, beautiful shade of blue, gold foil), so we'll go straight to discussing the player. This is what frustrates me about Topps. Now as you probably know, I collect cards because I love baseball, and I use the cards to keep track of who's in the game presently. Now Elmer Dessens is a pitcher who began his major league career as a reliever, and became a starting pitcher for a three-year stretch before going back to the bullpen. He has played literally everywhere: Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Arizona, Los Angeles (NL), Kansas City, LA (again), Milwaukee, Colorado, Pittsburgh (again), Atlanta, and New York (NL). Talk about your journeyman pitcher. In fact, and I didn't know this until I looked it up on the old Baseball-Reference website, but he's still with the Mets in 2010. Do you want to know how many regular Topps cards Mr. Dessens has (and I mean the Topps eponymous regular or traded sets)? A grand total...OF FOUR CARDS!!! FOUR CARDS!!! The number one source in the hobby says that he has 151 cards...TOTAL!!! Derek Jeter gets that many in half the baseball card season, and Dessens only has 151 total!!! He last appeared on a Topps card in 2006 (Topps Updates and Highlights). In fact, the last time the Topps Company included him in a set was the Bowman Chrome Draft World Baseball Classics insert set because he played for Team Mexico. Otherwise, did you know that he was still around??? I may not pay that close attention to all 750 active players on the 30 rosters on a daily basis, but for this man to only have four regular Topps cards and not one since 2006 is a crying shame. And to probably throw more kerosene in the fire, Topps, who normally tries to put a positive spin on a player who had a sub par season, their summary of Dessens' career (up to that point in 2002 anyway) doesn't do him any favors. "Elmer Dessens must feel as much frustration as Elmer Fudd trying to catch that wascally wabbit. Long considered to own premier stuff, he had trouble 'putting it all together.' Then in 2002, pitching the best ball of his life, he couldn't buy a run of support...he failed to get the 'W' in six starts in which he allowed two or fewer runs." It didn't help that at this time, he was playing for some pretty lousy Reds teams. Which could explain the 7-8 record while maintaining a 3.03 ERA. But come on Topps. He may be a relief pitcher with the Mets, but doesn't he deserve his picture on cardboard? I'm sure if he was playing for the other NY team, it wouldn't even be an issue. Rant over.
  • Beckett value: $0.07-$0.20.
  • How many cards of this player do I own?: 4 cards.
Tomorrow's card will be: 1978 Topps #378. Post will arrive at 1:00 PM CST. Until tomorrow everybody.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

And the 2010 Topps Red Hot Rookie #4 Card Goes To…‏


Those holding those Red Hot Rookie Redemption cards better get them logged in to Topps quickly as it has just been announced that card #4 belongs to none other than Mike Stanton of the Florida Marlins.

Stanton made his major league debut on June 8 against the Philadelphia Phillies. Batting seventh as the RF for the Marlins, he went 3-5 with two runs scored. As of Wednesday, July 14, he is hitting .231 (25-108), with five home runs, 20 RBI's, an OPS of .711, and stolen three bases. He should be in contention for NL Rookie of the Year along with a candidate for Topps 2010 All-Star Rookie Team.

Although it's not an autographed card, Marlins fans will want to add this card to their collections. Ladies and Gentlemen, START REDEEMING!!!

The updated checklist now includes:
Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Random Topps Card of the Day: 2004 Topps #191 John Lackey

Thanks to the Topps Card Randomizer, introducing the Random Topps Card of the Day for Wednesday, July 14, 2010:


  • Official Card Set Name and Card Number: 2004 Topps #191.
  • Player Name, position, team: John Lackey, pitcher, Anaheim Angels.
  • Major League Debut: June 24, 2002 .
  • Last Line of Statistics: 2003 stats (Angels): 33 G, 204 IP, 10-16, 117 R, 105 ER, 151 SO, 66 BB, 33 GS, 2 CG, 2 SHO, 0 SV, 1.42 WHIP, 4.63 ERA.
  • Any special information about players: Drafted by the Angels #2nd, June 1999. Bats: right, Throws: right.
  • Any special information about this specific card: Lackey's second regular Topps (total includes regular and traded cards only). The 2004 Topps set is the first set to include OPS (on base percentage + slugging percentage) and WHIP (Walks + Hits / Innings Pitched), two stats used heavily by rotisserie baseball enthusiasts? These stats are supposed to give a more accurate picture of what kind of player one is. And it gives Topps 14 statistics that they have to include on the back of the players' cards. The silhouette on the bottom left corner of the cards are supposed to represent the player and is actually a perfect copy of the player and how he appears in the main picture of the card. Now that's totally cool. Lackey, who would go on to become an All-Star caliber pitcher, was the first rookie starter in 93 years to win a game 7 in the World Series.
  • Lo-Hi Beckett value: $0.07-$0.20.
  • How many cards of each player do I own?: 23 cards.
Tomorrow's card will be: Thursday: 2003 Topps #257. Post will arrive at 1:00 PM CST. Hope you will be too.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

And the 2010 Topps Red Hot Rookie #3 Card Goes To…‏


Those holding those Red Hot Rookie Redemption cards better get them logged in to Topps quickly as it has just been announced that card #3 belongs to none other than Brennan Boesch of the Detroit Tigers.

Boesch made his major league debut on April 23 against the Texas Rangers. Batting fifth as the DH for the Tigers, he went 2-4 with a double. As of Wednesday, July 14, he is hitting .342 (83-267), with twelve home runs, 49 RBI's, an OPS of .990, and stolen two bases. Many fans were clamoring he should have been an All-Star, and these numbers speak for themselves. He should be in contention for AL Rookie of the Year along with a candidate for Topps 2010 All-Star Rookie Team.

Although it's not an autographed card, Tigers fans will want to add this card to their collections. Ladies and Gentlemen, START REDEEMING!!!

The updated checklist now includes:
Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Okay, Now That I've Calmed Down...

Finally!!!

Finally!!!

Finally!!!

Finally!!! The National League has won an All-Star Game!!!

As a Cubs fan, it's been brutal to watch the American League win all these years. I guess it's revenge for all the times when the NL would clobber the AL in these competitions. But I wasn't around then, so the AL's streak really started to bother me. I'm just glad it's over.

Some notes and observations:

½. I just reviewed the videos of the player introductions. Which by the way, are my favorite part of the entire thing. Loudest cheers, obviously went to Jered Weaver and Torii Hunter (MGR Mike Scioscia got lots of cheers too). But next to the Halos pair was Alex Rodriguez, and even he knew what was coming next. So from the loudest cheers to the loudest boos, ARod goes out after being recognized, and just smiles as he steps away from the line. At least he wasn't ashamed of it. He knew what was coming. Give him credit for that and for showing he can take the heat. Although you have to figure that somewhere, Dallas Braden's grandmother is screaming "Stick It ARod" at her television set. Boos went to everybody: Red Sox, Rangers (except for Vladdy...the fans cheered him), Yankees, Dodgers. Dead silence when they introduced Athletics pitchers Andrew Bailey and Trevor Cahill. I guess the fans got tired booing five Yankees.

1. The starting pitchers really set the tone for this game. Both Ubaldo Jimenez and David Price were just utterly dominant. That Josh Johnson can throw it too. Jeez. It was probably smart to have JJ throw two innings. Runs were going to be at a premium.

2. Hong-Chih Kuo!!! What was that???

3. Again, it was good to see relievers get in the game early, or at least finish off an inning for somebody else (see Roy Halladay for Matt Capps).

4. That Valverde guy can bring it too. He made everybody look bad swinging. No wonder the Tigers are going to win the division. I don't think any team can figure him out, not the way he's throwing anyway.

5. No home runs for the second year in a row. Wow, it really is the year of the pitcher.

6. You had to feel bad for many of the hitters. Yeah, it was probably hard to see with the sun setting and the twilight and all, but if I was a hitter, I'd probably not want to go out there if I knew that I'd have to face Jimenez one inning, Johnson the next (see Derek Jeter), or any other fireballer tonight. I think they said that one pitch Price threw was at 100 mph.

7. Great outfield defense from Ichiro, Braun, and Byrd. Not so much from Matt Holliday. You could have had that one!!! Bet Adam Wainwright would have been ticked at his own teammate if that run would have scored?


8. Thank you Brian McCann!!!

8½. Thank you Marlon Byrd!!!

9. Nice to see Chris Young, Michael Bourn, and Byrd celebrating in the outfield the way the Cubs outfielders do after a game.

That's it for now. I have to get to sleep.

Until tomorrow everyone.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

To the White Sox Fans That I Work With...(All 2 of You)...


You know how I said, "Wouldn't it be funny if Marlon Byrd, the only Cub on the NL team, hits a home run off Matt Thornton, the (at the time) only White Sox on the AL team?"

So with two on, Thornton comes in to replace Phil Hughes. And after getting Chris Young (wasn't he one of your prospects too) to pop out, guess who came to the plate? Marlon Byrd. And yes, the commentators had to mention the Cubs and their difficulties (fortunately, not so much...they focused on Byrd and his career more), Byrd battled Thornton to a walk. And...you know the rest.
On the box score tomorrow, you'll see that Thornton was responsible for one run...Byrd's. Okay, so Byrd didn't hit a home run off your pitcher...he still scored off him.

Look, I know the Cubs are 9.5 games out while your Sox are clinging to a .5 game lead in the Central. And you can gloat all you want the rest of the season if (and it's a big IF) the White Sox somehow manage to win the AL Central (good luck with that...). But tonight, if just for one night, on national TV, you have to admit that the Cubs (albeit one guy) got the better of the White Sox in this game.

I would promise not to grin from ear to ear when I show up for work tomorrow, but then again, I hate breaking promises. Then when the season starts up again, the trash talking can commence...and I promise to have my earphones on when you pass by my little cubicle area when you "loudly and boorishly" talk about that team on the south side of Chicago and their slim to none chances of winning the division, let alone the whole enchilada.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The National League Wins 3-1!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That is all...

(not really, more to come later. I'm still on a high!!!)

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Random Topps Card of the Day: 2009 Topps #488 Ozzie Guillen

Thanks to the Topps Card Randomizer, introducing the Random Topps Card of the Day for Tuesday, July 13, 2010:

  • Official Card Set Name and Card Number: 2009 Topps #488.
  • Player Name, position, team: Ozzie Guillen, manager, Chicago White Sox.
  • Major League Debut: April 9, 1985. Managerial Debut: April 05, 2004.
  • Last Line of Statistics: 2008 stats (White Sox): 89-74 managerial record.
  • Any special information about manager: Hired as Manager 11/03/2003.
  • Any special information about this specific card: Guillen's twenty-second regular Topps card, sixth as a manager (total includes both Topps and Topps Traded cards). I love the 2009 Topps set. And have mentioned it many times before. The design is clean, design elements unobtrusive to the picture, silver foil matches cleanly with the black nameplate. The home plate design with the team logo eerily similar to that other card company's effort back in 1991...I spoke too much. Ozzie Guillen was the shot in the arm that White Sox needed for a manager. He was one of the team's all-time greats as a player (AL Rookie of the Year in 1985, three time All-Star, Silver Slugger), and his no-nonsense attitude on and off the field has carried over to the players he presently manages. With him at the helm, the White Sox finally brought a World Series home to Chicago in 2005, the team's first championship since 1917, and their first trip to the Fall Classic since 1959.
  • Lo-Hi Beckett value: $0.15-$0.40.
  • How many cards of this player do I own?: 33 cards.
Tomorrow's card will be: 2004 Topps #191. Post will arrive at 1:00 PM CST. We're looking back at a card from 2004 here on the blog tomorrow.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

And Now, Your Starting Lineups...

As announced yesterday:

For the National League:


1. Hanley Ramirez, FLA, ss
2. Martin Prado, ATL, 2b
3. Albert Pujols, STL, 1b
4. Ryan Howard, PHI dh
5. David Wright, NYM, 3b
6. Ryan Braun, MIL, lf
7. Andre Ethier, LAD, cf
8. Corey Hart, MIL, rf
9. Yadier Molina, STL, c

And the American League:


1. Ichiro Suzuki, SEA, rf
2. Derek Jeter, NYY, ss
3. Miguel Cabrera, DET, 1b
4. Josh Hamilton, TEX, cf
5. Vladimir Guerrero, TEX, dh
6. Evan Longoria, TBR, 3b
7. Joe Mauer, MIN, c
8. Robinson Cano, NYY, 2b
9. Carl Crawford, TBR, lf


The starting pitchers for the 81st ASG are Ubaldo Jimenez of the Rockies and David Price of the Rays.

As we all know, Prado replaces Chase Utley at second, Corey Hart replaces Jason Heyward in right for the NL, and Cabrera is at first, filling in for Justin Morneau.

Ladies and Gentlemen, enjoy the game. May the best league win.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

The Boss Has Died. Long Live the Boss.

In what has been already a sad week for the Yankees organization and their fans with the passing of Bob Sheppard, the team's legendary stadium announcer, comes word that this morning, George Steinbrenner, the owner of the team, has passed away this morning from a heart attack at the age of 80 at a Tampa hospital.

Mr. Steinbrenner was always a controversial figure, and there will be many who today will pay tribute to his exploits, good and bad. But if it weren't for the fact that he actually cared about his team and their fans, he wouldn't have invested enough on them to witness the Bronx Bombers win seven World Series Championships, eleven AL pennants, and 19 playoff appearances.

Our condolences once again go out to the Steinbrenner family, the New York Yankees organization, Major League Baseball, and fans of the New York Yankees.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Monday, July 12, 2010

Random Topps Card of the Day: 2007 Topps #572 Alex Escobar

We reset the Topps Card Randomizer to come up with seven new cards to present for this week. Introducing the Random Topps Card of the Day for Monday, July 12, 2010:

  • Official Card Set Name and Card Number: 2007 Topps #572.
  • Player Name, position, team: Alex Escobar, outfielder, Washington Nationals.
  • Major League Debut: May 8, 2001.
  • Last Line of Statistics: 2006 stats (Nationals): 33 G, 87 AB, 14 R., 31 H, 3 2B, 2 3B, 4 HR, 18 HR, 2 SB, 8 BB, 18 SO, .575 SLG, .969 OPS, .356 AVG.
  • Any special information about players: Signed with the Mets as a Free Agent 07/01/1995. Traded by the White Sox to the Nationals 02/13/2005. Bats: right, Throws: left.
  • Any special information about this specific card: Escobar's sixth (and as of now, his final) regular Topps card (total includes regular and traded cards only). The 2007 Topps set has been discussed ad nauseum on this humble little board. The black borders, not used since 1971, makes its presence known immediately. The solid black, along with the silver foil and the four squares at the top and bottom of each of the cards, makes these cards look like you're looking at a roll of film. The pictures were top-notch, and although the facsimile autographs were not necessary, they return after a long hiatus. How unlucky can one guy be? That is the theme of the back of Escobar's card (and for that matter, his entire career). Injury after injury, two completely missed seasons due to injury, parts of all the other years out due to injury. But when he was active, he showed lots of potential. His .356 average in 2006 was the highest among players with 30 games. The final sentence on the blurb reads that at "just 28, he still has time to make an impact." He has not played in the majors since 2006, and was last seen toiling in the Nationals' minor league system until 2008.
  • Lo-Hi Beckett value: $0.07-$0.20.
  • How many cards of each player do I own?: 8 cards.
Tomorrow's card will be: 2009 Topps #488. Post will arrive at 1:00 PM CST. See you then.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Get Those Gloves Out...It's Derby Time!!!


Tonight, eight All-Stars battle it out in one of the biggest spectacles in baseball. Yes boys and girls, it's Home Run Derby night.

Above are the eight competitors who will be swinging for the fences in a battle to see who is the most prolific home run hitter of the derby. For the National League, we have a power hitting lineup, with one SS and 3 OF's participating. For the American League, it's one DH and 3 OF"s participating.

Let's review the HR totals this year shall we? For the National League:
  • Corey Hart, the Brewers' slugger, has 21 going into the competition,
  • Matt Holliday of the Cardinals joins with 16,
  • Chris Young, the young D-Back, enters the derby with 15 home runs
  • Hanley Ramirez, the power hitting Marlin, currently has 13 home runs.

The sluggers the AL will send include:

  • Miguel Cabrera, the Tigers leading masher, leads the AL with 22 home runs,
  • Vernon Wells of the Blue Jays follows with 19,
  • David Ortiz, the Red Sox DH, is next with 18
  • Nick Swisher, Final Man Winner, comes in with 15 homers.
Many first timers among the eight this evening. And it's possible that the Big Papi, due to experience, is favored to win this year. But anything can, and has happened in these events where the least likely participant winds up winning it all.

May the best man win. And oh yes, expect these eight guys to have Home Run Derby cards in this year's 2010 Topps Updates and Highlights set.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sabathia and Cahill Out of the ASG, Weaver(*), Verlander, and Bailey Named Replacements.

These new roster rules are getting to be more and more complicated. Here we go.

The new rule states that any starting pitcher who pitches on the Sunday before the All-Star Game becomes ineligible to participate in the game. Meaning, while both are still going to the ASG festivities, and both will get whatever bonuses may come for being named to the All-Star Team, neither one is going to play in the game. Meaning, AL manager Joe Girardi has to name replacements. Here goes.


To clarify the original clarification, Jered Weaver IS going to be named as an All-Star, replacing Sabathia. However, (and this is where it gets messy), Weaver started today's ballgame as well, taking a loss in their game against...Cahill's Athletics (Cahill got the win here). So Weaver joins Hunter as the lone Angels hosting the game. So Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers has been named as Weaver's replacement and will join fellow Tigers Miguel Cabrera and Jose Valverde at Anaheim.


Cahill's replacement is Athletics' closer Andrew Bailey. Bailey is now a 2-time All-Star, being named to the team last year (the only rookie and the first 2009 debutant to be named onto the squad). Both Cahill and Bailey will take part in the festivities, but Bailey will be added to the active roster.

Break out your 2010 Topps binders and take out Verlander's #615 or DET12 cards, along with Bailey's #186 or OAK8 cards, and add them to your All-Star binder.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Bob Sheppard, Voice of the Yankees, Passes Away at 99.

This morning I read that Bob Sheppard, the legendary public address announcer for the New York Yankees, passed away this morning at the age of 99 years old.

In 2004, Topps included Sheppard in it's All-Time Fan Favorites set. While I'm sure there had to have been better pictures the Topps Company could have used for the "Voice of God", this is what they came up with.


The man had been with the Yankees organization since 1951 (April 17, 1951 was his big league debut), and was there in time to see legendary outfielder Joe DiMaggio pass the outfield baton to a young Oklahoman named Mickey Mantle. He made it through the Mantle and Maris days, Munson, Jackson and the rest of Billy Martin's boys of the 70's, Mattingly, Winfield, and the Bombers of the 80's, and the resurgence led by Jeter, Posada, Rivera, and the rest in the 1990's and 2000's. Along with the Yankees success in the playoffs, he was the stadium announcer for 13 of the Bombers' 27 titles.

He is survived by his wife, Mary, sons Paul and Christopher, daughters Barbara and Mary, four grandchildren and at least nine great-grandchildren.

Our condolences to the Sheppard Family, the New York Yankees organization, and Baseball Fans everywhere.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Random Topps Card of the Day: 1958 Topps #22 Hal Naragon

It's Retro Sunday!!! Thanks to the Topps Card Randomizer, introducing the Random Topps Card of the Day for Sunday, July 11, 2010:


  • Official Card Set Name and Card Number: 1958 Topps #22.
  • Player Name, position, team: Hal Naragon, catcher, Cleveland Indians.
  • Major League Debut: September 23, 1951.
  • Last Line of Statistics: 1957 stats (Indians): 57 G, 121 AB, 12 R, 31 H, 1 2B, 1 3B, 0 HR, 8 RBI, .256 AVG, 179 PO, 14 A, 2 E, .990 F. AVG.
  • Any special information about player: Signed by the Indians as a Free Agent before the 1947 season. Bats: left, Throws: right.
  • Any special information about this specific card: Naragon's third regular Topps card. The 1958 set was not necessarily unique with the use of cropped photography, but in the way that it was presented. Whereas the 1957 Topps set showcased the entire photograph, the 1958 set design cropped the entire background, leaving just the picture of the featured player in a colored background (whether it be red, blue, yellow, green, etc). Now cropping the photo may not be new to Topps (see 1954 Topps), but this kind of work could lead to missing elbows, bats, hands (as was the case on some 1958 Topps cards). But I digress. Hal Naragon was the Tribe's back up catcher (to Jim Hegan in the 1950's). And he was a rather decent catcher who could have caught on with other teams. But as he was a native Ohioan (from Barberton, OH, roughly 30 miles or so south of Cleveland), he stayed with the local club. Now the back of his card shows only two lines of stats (his previous year and lifetime stats) to make way for large cartoon snapshots of Naragon's career. Now for a role player who never played more than 57 games a season at the time, Topps really had to get creative to make Naragon look good to the many kids opening packs of 1958 Topps Series 1 cards and never heard of the guy. To wit: one cartoon depicts a really large batter hitting one out, and the caption reads "In 1955, Hal had a big year with a lusty .323 average." What it doesn't mention is that this was accomplished with him seeing 57 games worth of action, with 41 hits in 127 at bats. The second cartoon shows a catcher nose to nose to his pitcher with the words, "He's a fine fielder who knows how to handle hurlers." No arguments there. A career .991 fielding average shows that he's excellent with the glove. Hal went on to coach for the Twins and then the Tigers in the 1960's. And 50 years later, appeared in Topps' salute to the 1959 and 1960 Topps sets with an autograph cards inserted into both products.
  • Lo-Hi Beckett value: $6.00-$12.00.
  • How many cards of this player do I own?: 0 cards.
In case you're actually wondering, I don't own this card, but was able to get a crystal clean copy of the image from the from the Baseball Card Cyber Museum. So thank you Joe McAnally and the folks at the BCCM.

Well, it's back to normal on Monday. Tomorrow's card will be: 2007 Topps #572. Post will arrive at 1:00 PM CST. Come on back then to see what the Topps Card Randomizer gets us to look at then.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Reyes, Heyward, and Morneau out of the ASG, Furcal, Kuo, and Konerko Named Replacements.

As we get closer and closer to the All-Star Game, there are more and more roster updates to report.


Jose Reyes of the Mets, named to the All-Star team as the replacement for Troy Tulowitzki of the Rockies, was put on the DL this weekend. Rafael Furcal of the Dodgers will now be taking his spot on the NL Roster. He is now a two-time All-Star, last appearing in the ASG for the 2003 classic.


Jason Heyward, who was on the DL at the time and was going to be a last minute decision as to whether or not he'd make the game, has now taken himself off the roster. Corey Hart of the Brewers will now start in Heyward's place, and Hong-Chih Kuo, a relief pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers, has been added to the roster in his place. Originally, Charlie Manuel offered the invitation to Braves closer Billy Wagner, but Wagner, a final man candidate, declined. Furcal and Kuo, the first Taiwanese-born player to be named an All-Star, join Jonathan Broxton and Andre Ethier as the Dodgers contingent on the NL squad.


Finally, Justin Morneau is taking himself out of the game because of concussion related issues. Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers will take over at first base as the starter, and Paul Konerko of the Chicago White Sox, another Final Man Candidate, will now join the AL roster as a reserve. He joins fellow Pale Hoser Matt Thornton on the AL side.

If you're going to add Furcal, Kuo, and Konerko's 2010 Topps cards to your All-Star binder (I'm doing this, I can't be the only one), Furcal's cards are #491 and LAD12, Kuo is LAD16 (he doesn't have a regular Topps card this year, maybe he'll be added to Topps' Update Series), and Konerko comes in as #638 and CWS13.

More roster changes (if any) to come soon.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Random Topps Card of the Day: 1986 Topps #588 Steve Lake

Thanks to the Topps Card Randomizer, introducing the Random Topps Card of the Day for Saturday, July 10, 2010:

  • Official Card Set Name and Card Number: 1986 Topps #588.
  • Player Name, position, team: Steve Lake, catcher, Chicago Cubs.
  • Major League Debut: April 9, 1983.
  • Last Line of Statistics: 1985 stats (Cubs): 58 G, 119 AB, 5 R, 18 H, 2 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 11 RBI, 1 SB, .193 SLG. 3 BB, 21 SO, .151 AVG.
  • Any special information about players: Drafted by the Orioles #3rd, June 1975. Traded by the Brewers to the Cubs 04/01/1983. Bats: right, Throws: right.
  • Any special information about this specific card: Lake's third regular Topps (total includes regular and traded cards only). This is the first time that the randomizer chose two cards from the same year on consecutive days. Granted, we went from the Traded set to the regular set, but that's how it works. Lake was the premier back-up catcher for the Cubs, Cardinals, and Phillies, never appearing in more than 75 games in his 11 seasons in the majors. He would be one of the players who would not have a Topps card because he was the third string catcher. The back of his card mentions that Lake hit his first career home run on 4/26/1983.
  • Lo-Hi Beckett value: $0.02-$0.10.
  • How many cards of each player do I own?: 11 cards.
Tomorrow is Retro Sunday, the one day of the week that we feature a card from 1951-1975. The card we will feature tomorrow is: 1958 Topps #22 . Come back at 1:00 PM CST to see who (or what) it is.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama