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

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Topps 60 Best Cards...#6-10!

So Topps' Top 60 Countdown has finally reached the Top 10. These ten cards received the most votes out of the 100 cards that Topps selected for the collecting public to decide their best of all time. The idea being that the sixty cards would be reprinted and included as an insert set later on in the year. The list of cards that made the cut from #11 to #60 can be found here. So far Topps has announced the cards that earned the sixth through tenth most votes.

Here are card #'s 6-10 on "Topps 60 Greatest Cards of All Time":

  • #10: 1952 Topps #261 Willie Mays

  • #09: 1973 Topps #50 Roberto Clemente


  • #08: 1986 Topps Traded #50T Bo Jackson


  • #07: 1954 Topps #250 Ted Williams


  • #06: 1980 Topps #482 Rickey Henderson


All well deserving of the votes. Of the five, I voted for the Clemente card. Bo Jackson's card would seem to be extremely high on the list. But memories of Bo's exploits on the diamond and his legendary status as a two-sport athlete, are probably reasons why he had lots of supporters. Amazingly, Ted Williams had more cards make it onto the countdown (#47 '56, #34 '55, #25 '57, #07 '54 ) than Topps' Golden Boy, Mickey Mantle (#55 '56, #30 '53). And that's okay. Because unless somebody sabotaged the vote, everyone knows that the Mick will show up on the Top 5, if not among the Top 2.

Six of my ten picks have now made their appearance on the countdown. And there are five more to go. I'm going to go on a hunch and say that at least two more of my picks are going to show up among the top 5. And I have a feeling I know which two they are. But we'll have to wait and see when Topps decides to post the rest.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Topps Letting Toys 'R Us Join the Exclusive Party

This year, Topps is going all out with it's Diamond Anniversary Theme.

You know about the Red Diamond inserts that Topps has in its packs sold at Target:


And you know about the Blue Diamond inserts Topps inserted in packs sold at Walmart:


But did you know that there are Purple Diamond inserts too??

Purple??!

Purple??!


Yes...PURPLE!!!

Found only at Toys 'R Us (can't do the backward "R" thing...does the company even use an apostrophe???), a ten card set has been discovered that can only be found at your TRU store. Eight are in the picture above (the other two apparently are not yet on the Bay, but have been sold recently).

The checklist (all cards start with #PDC...which stands for Purple Diamond...what does the "C" mean??? Card??!):

  • #PDC1 Buster Posey
  • #PDC2 Troy Tulowitzki
  • #PDC3 Evan Longoria
  • #PDC4 Tim Lincecum
  • #PDC5 Alex Rodriguez
  • #PDC6 CC Sabathia
  • #PDC7 Joe Mauer
  • #PDC8 Robinson Cano
  • #PDC9 Starlin Castro
  • #PDC10 Ryan Howard
So run to your nearest TRU store now folks. Just save me a 5 & 10. I'm keeping an eye on the other eight.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Friday, February 25, 2011

Getting the Blogroll Ready for Baseball Season

It's no surprise that the number of baseball card blogs surpass all the other blog categories. That's not a shot against football, basketball, and even hockey blogs and bloggers. But as baseball remains king of the Hobby world, the number of its loyal subjects will remain large.

When it comes to the Sports Card Blogroll, the number of new blogs that sprout will most likely come during these next few months as baseball season begins and runs through it's early stages. But before we prepare for the new entries into the Hobby blogging pool, it is time to remove those who have not been active since the Giants ended the 2010 baseball season with their World Series win.

Before we clean up the roll, let's review the results of last month's cleanup. There were 325 blogs on the active roster. Six were removed, leaving us with 319 blogs. This month, we were able to climb back to 325 blogs as six blogs were added or returned to the active roster. So here now are the blogs that reached the six month threshold of inactivity:
That's fourteen blogs that will be removed. I think this is the record for most number of blogs being removed. This sends the active roster spiraling down to 311 blogs (a loss of -8). I am hoping for a quick turnaround and that the number of blogs increases again. We need more voices and opinions on our Hobby.

I'd be more than happy to add blogs from other sports to the Sports Card Blogroll. Whether it's soccer, rugby, cricket, or even wrestling and mixed-martial arts. If you have a blog, or are a reader of a blog that has blogs about the cards or about collecting cards of these sports, please send me an e-mail. If you have a blog that you'd like to recommend for our regular sports as well, please feel free to do the same. If you're like 26 Cent Summer, which was removed from the blogroll but is now back and active again, and would like to be added back to the SCBR, contact me at bdj610@hotmail.com. The more information we can share with the rest of the Hobby Community, the better our experiences in this hobby will be.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Topps 60 Best Cards...#11-13!

After days of waiting, Topps finally added card #'s 11-13 on their Topps 60 countdown. Making way for them to announce (hopefully soon) their Top 10 cards as voted by the collecting public.

Here are card #'s 11-13 "on Topps 60 Greatest Cards of All Time":


  • #13: 1970 Topps #712 Nolan Ryan
  • #12: 1982 Topps Traded #50T Cal Ripken Jr.
  • #11: 1985 Topps #401 Mark McGwire USA
Thoughts. Well, they couldn't get any higher I guess. I voted for the McGwire card for my ten best. He almost cracked the Top 10. I'm going to go off a limb that it is more about the card than the player as if it was, and I am certainly in the minority of this thinking, he wouldn't have even made the 60 in the first place.

Before we get to the Top 10 (and it looks like the site today has card #'s 10-6 up), I want to review my votes from back in December when this whole thing started. My Topps 10 included (and my reasons behind the selections):


  • 1952 Mantle (if this card isn't number one, then you might as well shut down the legitimacy of the site, the reputation of the company, and the sanity of the collectors/voters who rigged it so that it won't win)
  • 1954 Banks (needed to put a Cub in here)
  • 1957 Aaron (the reverse negative that made even Aaron feel bad about it - he thought he posed incorrectly on purpose)
  • 1973 Clemente (has, sadly, the complete stats of probably the greatest players, if not human beings, on the planet)
  • 1984 Mattingly (when I started collecting in 1987, this card was KING)
  • 1985 McGwire (between the home run chase and my first forays into collecting online, this card was KING)
  • 1987 Bonds (admit it what other reason was there to include this card other than to stir the pot)
  • 2001 Suzuki (one of the most sought after cards in the 21st century...still is ten years later).
  • 2001 Pujols Traded (see Suzuki)
  • 2006 Gordon (gimmicks aside, finding this card was akin to Willy Wonka's Golden Ticket)




It looks like some of the cards I picked will make the Top 10. But how many? Here is the list of cards #60-#11:

  • #60: 1973 Topps #615 Rookie Third Basemen Ron Cey/John Hilton/Mike Schmidt.
  • #59: 1983 Topps #498 Wade Boggs Rookie Card
  • #58: 1974 Topps #456 Dave Winfield Rookie Card
  • #57: 1958 Topps #47 Roger Maris Rookie Card
  • #56: 2007 Topps #40 Derek Jeter (with George W. Bush/Mickey Mantle)
  • #55: 1956 Topps #135 Mickey Mantle
  • #54: 1989 Topps #647 Randy Johnson Rookie Card
  • #53: 1987 Topps Traded #70T Greg Maddux Rookie Card
  • #52: 1992 Topps #156 Manny Ramirez Draft Pick
  • #51: 1959 Topps #514 Bob Gibson Rookie Card
  • #50: 1967 Topps #581 Bill Denehy/Tom Seaver 1967 Mets Rookie Stars
  • #49: 1956 Topps #79 Sandy Koufax
  • #48: 1955 Topps #50 Jackie Robinson
  • #47: 1956 Topps #5 Ted Williams
  • #46: 1953 Topps #244 Willie Mays
  • #45: 1987 Topps #366 Mark McGwire
  • #44: 1957 Topps #302 Sandy Koufax
  • #43: 1978 Topps #36 Eddie Murray
  • #42: 1983 Topps #482 Tony Gwynn
  • #41: 1955 Topps #123 Sandy Koufax
  • #40: 1977 Topps #110 Reggie Jackson
  • #39: 1985 Topps #181 Roger Clemens
  • #38: 1985 Topps #536 Kirby Puckett
  • #37: 2001 Topps Traded & Rookies #T247 Albert Pujols
  • #36: 1960 Topps #148 Carl Yastrzemski
  • #35: 1956 Topps #33 Roberto Clemente
  • #34: 1955 Topps #2 Ted Williams
  • #33: 1955 Topps #164 Roberto Clemente
  • #32: 1985 Topps #3 Dwight Gooden Record Breaker
  • #31: 1969 Topps #260 Reggie Jackson
  • #30: 1953 Topps #82 Mickey Mantle
  • #29: 1963 Topps #537 1963 Rookie Stars Pedro Gonzalez/Ken McMullen/Pete Rose/Al Weis
  • #28: 1982 Topps #21 Baltimore Orioles Future Stars Bob Bonner/Cal Ripken/Jeff Schneider
  • #27: 1954 Topps #94 Ernie Banks
  • #26: 1979 Topps #116 Ozzie Smith
  • #25: 1957 Topps #1 Ted Williams
  • #24: 1953 Topps #1 Jackie Robinson
  • #23: 1971 Topps #5 Thurman Munson
  • #22: 1954 Topps #90 Willie Mays
  • #21: 1984 Topps #182 Darryl Strawberry
  • #20: 1993 Topps #98 Derek Jeter
  • #19: 1984 Topps #8 Don Mattingly
  • #18: 1975 Topps #228 George Brett
  • #17: 1987 Topps #320 Barry Bonds
  • #16: 1964 Topps #125 Pete Rose
  • #15: 1953 Topps #220 Satchel Paige (Satchell)
  • #14: 1957 Topps #20 Hank Aaron (Reverse Negative)
  • #13: 1970 Topps #712 Nolan Ryan
  • #12: 1982 Topps Traded #50T Cal Ripken Jr.
  • #11: 1985 Topps #401 Mark McGwire USA

Reviewing the list, and knowing that almost all his cards were among the 100 card nominees, it is very strange, but not surprising, to see that only two of Mickey Mantle's cards made the list of fifty so far, with one card for sure getting into the top ten. I'm wondering if Topps actually thought that all of his cards would have somehow made the countdown...

So six of my ten choices cracked the Top 60. The other four have a shot at making the Top 10 (Mantle, Clemente, Ichiro, Alex Gordon). Whose cards made the Topps 10? Stay tuned.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

If You Want to See All 60 Sparkly Cards in Series 1 Together...

This is Ryan Braun's Sparkle card (2011 Topps #1). Want to know where to see the rest?

Give thanks to friend of the blog, eBay rival, and all around good guy Craig Parker. Because he took time out of his busy day to put together images of all 60 cards that have those lovely sparkles that I mentioned on this post late last week.

Because I have not asked formal permission to use his images, I highly recommend going to Craig's website http://www.mytoppscards.com/sparkles. Not only are there images of the 60 cards for your perusal, but he also circles where the sparkly thing is on each card. So that when you're searching through your cards (yes, it turns out that these things can be found in retail packs...although I didn't get any in my packs), you will know exactly where to look. Many can be found rather easily. Others, not so much.

Thank you Craig for doing this. Somehow, I wouldn't be surprised if you managed to win them all.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Saturday, February 19, 2011

To the Winners of the All-Star Rookie Contest

Just a heads up to the eight winners of my All-Star Rookie Team contest that I didn't forget you guys and that after finding a card shop that was STILL OPEN (Dean's Dugout...you will be missed), I was finally able to acquire and mail out your prizes.

Not only will there be the hobby packs of 2010 Topps Update series like I promised, but also packs of 2011 Topps Series 1 included (one pack of each out your way).

I'm sorry it took this long, but I was in a bit of shock when I drove to the closest shop by me only to find the place empty. So thanks to Jim at Sports & Gaming Cards at Golf Mill Center in Niles, IL, for the packs and the latest scoop on the local hobby scene.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Friday, February 18, 2011

Figures. Sixty Sparkle Cards in Topps Series 1

After feverishly checking eBay auctions and social media outlets, message boards and other checklist sites have been compiling lists of confirmed 2011 Topps cards with a certain twinkle to them. A couple of places had found sixty and remained steady for some time.

On Topps' Facebook page, it has just been confirmed that in fact there are 60 cards within series 1 that sparkle somewhere on the card. The checklist:

1 Ryan Braun
3 Jon Lester
5 Joey Votto
15 David Wright
20 Hanley Ramirez
23 Jaime Garcia
25 Carl Crawford
35 Shin-Soo Choo
40 Justin Upton
42 Mariano Rivera
44 Martin Prado
50 Alex Rodriguez
60 Andrew McCutchen
61 David Price
67 Vladimir Guerrero
70 Kyle Drabek
75 Jered Weaver
78 Mike Stanton
80 Desmond Jennings
100 Albert Pujols
102 CC Sabathia
108 Zack Greinke
110 Aroldis Chapman
120 Mat Latos
128 Manny Ramirez
140 Brett Anderson
150 Miguel Cabrera
165 Jeremy Hellickson
166 Josh Johnson
169 Chipper Jones
174 Roy Oswalt
177 Brian Matusz
195 Nick Markakis
200 Ichiro
208 Clay Buchholz
209 Carlos Santana
210 Brian Wilson
214 Chase Utley
216 Jose Bautista
218 Victor Martinez
236 Nelson Cruz
240 Andre Ethier
241 Wandy Rodriguez
247 Starlin Castro
250 Carlos Gonzalez
255 Torii Hunter
269 Stephen Drew
270 Ubaldo Jimenez
271 Adam Dunn
275 Clayton Kershaw
290 Ike Davis
293 Justin Morneau
294 Luke Scott
299 Chris Carpenter
300 Roy Halladay
307 Alex Rios
315 David Ortiz
320 Michael Young
322 Brent Morel
330 Derek Jeter

I had originally thought that all 330 cards were involved. But at least now we know that the number of cards is much smaller. Still, doesn't make them any easier to find. And for all the naysayers and "gimmick" callers, give Topps some credit. They've finally succeeded in making us look at base cards again.

Now if they could only confirm that there are 24 legends variation cards instead of the originally planned 25. This doesn't include either Crawford and Gonzalez Red Sox variations...

Or this monstrosity supposedly found at some card convention in Atlanta (thanks to Bill Kearney on bringing this to my attention yesterday). More on this card after I do a bit of digging about Brian Wilson and The Machine.



Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Did Anybody Mention that the Diamond Giveaway is Now Up and Running?



So I missed it when it was announced in many places in the Hobby Blogosphere that Topps' new Website http://diamond.toppscards.com/ is now up and running. So since I opened 20 packs (and two rack packs), I thought I'd take anybody who's interested on a virtual tour of their new site.

You know, to see what you're supposed to do here as to what we had to experience last year.

Okay, so entering http://diamond.topps.com/ (somehow, it shows up as diamond.toppscards.com) will bring you to this screen:


Now, if you played with the Million Card Giveaway site last year, you don't need to reregister. Enter your code in the field provided and hit go.


The screen will pop up with the card you've redeemed (figure my luck, I get a 1987 Topps card...and it's a manager). If it makes you feel any better, my second card was a 1988 Topps Rich Gossage. At least it's of a HOF.


After you redeem your card, you are invited to dig a plot in a virtual baseball field to find a ring (there are 250 plots if you're counting). There are 60 different virtual rings to find. Get all 60, and you can win one of the Topps 60th Anniversary rings (see prize counter on the left side of the screen). Now it's not asking you to redeem any 60 rings...you need to find ALL 60 DIFFERENT RINGS!!!






And go figure, I wind up with not one...


But TWO New York Yankees rings.


You are able to trade cards AND rings...but the option to do so is not yet available.

I have five more diamond cards to redeem, so hopefully I get something decent. Here's hoping. Hope you enjoyed the tour. Now, if you'd like, you can click on the link at the beginning to see a video on how it all works.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

P.S. The other five cards redeemed: 1990 Walt Terrell, 2001 Todd Hollandsworth, 1992 Geronimo Peña, 1997 Willie Adams, 1975 Duffy Dyer. And away we go. jba

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

2011 MLB.com Fantasy Preview...Sponsored by 1983 Topps Baseball...Sort of...

Last year, Philip Melita sent me an e-mail telling me that MLB.com's fantasy preview website is using the 1987 Topps Baseball design to feature all the players. And on my post last year at this time on this subject, we reviewed the website's past fantasy previews (from as far back as 2005 anyway as that was the furthest that was available in their archives). To review, check out these scans (this is if you didn't click on the link to last year's article):


This is from 2010. MLB.com used the 1987 design for the fantasy preview.


The great 1984 Topps design was used in 2009.


The 2008 preview featured the 1980 Topps design.


And so did the preview from 2007. But notice how the cards are "aged?" The bent corners and the weather worn borders?


For 2006, it's the 1985 design. When I was digging around for the site last year, it showed the design, but no picture (guess you should use your imagination). Upon hitting the link this year, it hasn't changed.


And here is the preview snapshot for 2005. They brought us all the way back to 1976 with this one. What's cool is that when you click on the position, the drawing of the player on the bottom left of the card appears above the position list.

So for the seventh year of MLB.com's fantasy preview, once again, the picture profile for each player utilizes a Topps card design. Sort of...

Here is a snapshot of what you will see when you click on this year's analysis:


At first glance, the baseball card design being used is Topps' 1983 effort. But something just doesn't look right. And I don't mean the lack of a Topps logo on the card.


That's what's amiss. The Topps design used a circle frame for the small picture. What's being used on the preview? That's right...a square.

What??!

You'd like to think that if Topps is the exclusive MLB card that there would be no problem with MLB using their designs. But if that isn't the case, you sure could have fooled us.

I have said recently that baseball cards were the fantasy preview magazines BEFORE there were such things. The cards had stats, a brief bio, a clear picture of the player (in many cases anyway), and it was all contained in a portable 2½" x 3½" piece of cardboard. Of course, thanks to magazines and the Internet, the cards are no longer used as a primary resource. But they're still around, and thanks to MLB.com, baseball cards still serve a purpose.

Play ball.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Blog Bat Around - Yes Mr. Eisner, I'd Love the Job. But This is What I Would Have Done...

After a long hiatus, the Blog Bat Around has made it's dramatic comeback in 2011. And of course the blogger responsible is Mr. Stale Gum himself, Chris Harris. But before we begin with his topic of choice, let's go over previous Bat Arounds (or is it Bats Around???)

The Blog Bat Around was started by Gellman as a way to unite the Hobby Bloggers into writing about a common topic. It proved wildly successful. So successful in fact that he also hosted the second one. The baton was passed to Dave of Fielder's Choice for Fiesta #3, Patricia of Dinged Corners took the next turn for #4 (welcome back Patricia, we missed you!!!), and dayf the Cardboard Junkie grabbed the reins for #5. The sixth one was came back home to Gellman, the seventh bat around was hosted by Thorzul Will Rule, but there weren't too many takers who responded to it (or so it seemed). In fear that the BBA was left for dead, Gellman brought it home once again, and while participation rebounded, there hasn't been once since (that I'm aware of anyway. Please take this time to click on all the links and then remember to come back here to see what I actually wrote).

So back to the new topic at hand. The ever cynical, always entertaining Mr. Harris (yes, I did vote in the Gummies) posted this query on his site:

Michael Eisner has just fired the entire Topps Product Development staff and chose to hire you to take their place. Mr. Eisner has given you carté blánche to do whatever you want with Topps Baseball -- as long as you keep it under $2/pack.

If you were in charge of Topps, and based upon what you've seen of 2011 Topps Baseball Series One, what (if anything) would you have done differently?

Now why doesn't it surprise me that he'd chose this as a topic? Especially since he's been railing against Topps gimmicks and efforts for the last few years. And while I probably will be the LEAST CREDIBLE of the bloggers responding (uh, didn't you check the name of this blog???), there are some things I would have loved to kill off this year's product, and probably other things I would have added. While I'm not going to go into the extremes that someone else wrote (which was pretty much bring back everything and party like it's 1991...nothing wrong with that of course), after ripping the 20 packs or so that I purchased last week, and while waiting for my series 1 master set to arrive (yes, I sent the payment out...please let me know when you get it), I have a lot of things to say about this set. Let's just call this my set review.

Yes, Mr. Eisner, I'd love the job. Let's start with what I would have gotten rid off in series 1.

First, I have to agree that over the last two years, there have been way to many insert sets. You did a Topps retrospective last year (with your wildly successful Cards Your Mother Threw Out set), why do it again? And come to think of it, why the heck are there two different versions of this set (one with a background that featured Leaf and Ultra cards by the way) and the regular card back? If you're going to do a reprint set, reprint the cards with the regular backs as well (see my favorite insert set 2001 Topps Through the Years. Yes each card had the "50 Years" logo on them, and there were a few errors (Ted William...really??!), but you showed what the card backs looked like. I would have loved to see the card backs instead of a boring blurb about the card or the set. The writing on the back of many of the cards appeared forced and uninspiring. And shortprinting the cards with the actual backs not nice. To see it done this year now makes it seem like it's been done to death. So, as much as I love insert sets utilizing Topps catalog of designs, I'm cutting it off to one series, with the original card backs reprinted. No more blurbs.

While we're on the subject, I like the "Lost Cards" concept. But again, did we really need the two different sets (one with a blurb and one with the imagined card back)??? I could have done without the blurbs again. Especially since I think a majority of the cards within said set are of Stan Musial (nothing wrong with that of course, but there had to be other subjects you could have used here...right)?

As I mentioned before, there are way too many insert sets being included in 2011. So many in fact, that I highly doubt that a person can complete a basic 330 card set by opening a box of jumbos (10 packs, 50 cards). Not including the Reprints and the Lost Cards, here are the rest of the inserts and whether or not I think they should have been left off or could be kept:
  • Topps 60. Keep as there should be a theme to your insert sets. Sixty years is a milestone to celebrate. So cards of players from the last 60 Years (the Topps Era) should be utilized.
  • Before there Was Topps. Gone. Now don't get me wrong, I like the concept of retro cards (pre-Bowman). And I know we have to use that CMG licensees somehow. But if we're going to honor ourselves, why are we featuring cards that we didn't create? Are we trying to gauge the market or test which cards we can easily produce for our next retro product? And do we really have to expose our base set collectors to these cards? These should have been saved for the Hobby Store giveaway.
  • The Topps Story. Love it. What better way to show our history by including a 10-card set about us?
  • Kimball Champions. I understand the reasoning (Turkey Red the last two years, the Trading Card History the year before), but mini cards? We probably were better off making a Kimball Champions set separately as a retro product instead of making this a continuity insert.
  • Diamond Duos. Gone. Didn't we just do a dual-player insert set last year?
  • ToppsTown. Keep. Yes, we want to bring in the kids. This has proven to be a big hit. Topps Attax cards were great too.
I don't collect autos or relics (the real or manufactured variety), so I don't have much of an opinion of them. But if we're going to include them in packs, specifically sold at places where the cards are susceptible to pack feelers, can we at least create a package or add cards to them that would prohibit them from being "felt"? The Hobby Masters sets, Ring Masters, and All-World Team sets from 2002 were great as they were thick cards and appeared to throw pack-feelers off. I understand the need for stickers, but cards are more attractive signed by hand than affixed with a sticker. More people are coming around though, so let's keep them. But if we can get cards hand-signed, they should be.

As I stated in last year's Round Table Discussion, as much as I understand and appreciate how much he meant to Topps, now that I'm running things around here, I am hereby removing Mickey Mantle off our base product. Card #7 will now be of an active player. It's bad enough that we are limiting the number of cards in our eponymous product to 660, but to waste one card on a player who hasn't played since 1968, and hasn't been relevant to baseball since 1996, the Mick no longer deserves to have a base card in our modern day sets. He just takes up space that a present-day player could occupy. ENOUGH WITH THE MICKEY MANTLE LOVEFEST!!!

Also, I love the short-printed variations of the legends. And I'm not writing this because I'm so far behind with my hunt for the SP legends. But if we're going to utilize our CMG license, and also use modern day legends in cards as well, we will just have to create a separate set for them. Just like Topps Retired in 2003-2005 (remember those???), we could save ourselves the hassle and confusion and just create a box set of these legends in our present year's design...AND THEY WON'T COUNT AGAINST OUR CARD PRODUCT QUOTA. So no more short printed legends mixed in with our regular set.

I always believed that baseball cards were like yearbook pictures. They reviewed how the particular player did the previous year. They also served as the Baseball preview magazines before they even were developed. So I don't understand why we have this need of trying to put these players who switched teams with their new uniforms right away? The fiasco of the Albert Soriano/Daryle Ward should have taught us that we shouldn't jump the gun until we can get actual pictures of the players in their new uniforms. Isn't that why we have a traded/rookies/update set in the first place??? If a player was a Padre last year and now plays for the Red Sox, I want to see him in his Padres uniform, and we don't need to stop the presses just because the Red Sox sign his paychecks. Same with the Yankees. Whatever rule we have that dictates that every Yankee and Red Sox player gets a card, even if it means that we only have 9 Pirates cards or 7 Astros cards in our 330 card set total, should stop...NOW!!!

I understand the need for parallels in our product. The Gold cards have served us well over the last decade and should continue. The black borders too. And yes, the seeding the platinum diamond cards is great. But isn't three parallel sets enough? It should. None of this canary diamond stuff, orange borders, or whatever other rainbow bordered parallel sets. These take up space in the packs that could be better utilized for regular cards to help those people TRYING TO COMPLETE THEIR BASE SET. And if we do need to create special parallel sets for our two main retail customers (Walmart and Target), let's go back to how successful 2009 was by creating blasters specifically and exclusively including these parallel sets. They have been wildly successful and set collectors would appreciate these more if they were sold in our 10-pack blaster boxes instead of being two-pack throw-ins. For the exclusive inserts, I'd like to package them in rack packs only, just like in the 80's (and as recently as 2007). So that we can see what they look like on the outside and can easily determine what packs collectors need to complete these store-exclusive sets.

Finally, as I mentioned at last year's roundtable, I will increase the number of cards of our base brand 792, or if we must have 110 cards per sheet, 880. Let's keep the series format at two series per year, so we have 440 cards per series. There are now 30 MLB teams, meaning that there are at least 750 players on MLB rosters on any given day (not including those on the DL) during the season. Even the team's third string catcher and the mop up reliever deserve a card if they played that year. When I started collecting, it was fun sorting the cards by team, knowing that you had enough to build an actual 25 man roster, and still have room for the manager, a few key rookies and prospects, the All-Stars, league leaders, and any other random subsets. I got to know the players on EVERY team that way. There are 28 other teams out there than the Yankees and Red Sox; and it seems that unless a middle relief pitcher or benchwarmer plays for either of these two teams, they're not getting a card. The cards were the precursor to the annual baseball preview magazines, the rotoplayer's guides, etc. They should continue to serve that purpose.

I'd like to re-brand our Update Series and rename it Topps Traded and Rookies. The name itself is to-the-point, and our customer will know exactly what will be included in our end-of-the-year product. The product can be kept at 330 cards, but subsets like the Home Run Derby participants and the All-Star Game players (which has been steady at 60 cards, even though there are more players being chosen now) have to go. If we do need an All-Star subset, let's keep the starting lineups, the MVP, and two team cards with the rosters of both teams, as well as their corresponding card numbers within the base set (or traded set) so those who like to collect the All-Stars of that year can do so with the correct teams they represented.

As we're only focusing on the base brand (the products that are sold under $2.00/pack), I would keep the Opening Day line, but use new pictures instead of the same ones we use for our base set.

Mr. Eisner, the above is what I would have done differently for our eponymous brand. I understand that the logistics and the costs to implement all of these recommendations could be too much change in one fell swoop. But I'm sure if we can take these changes and gradually add them to our product line going forward, that the product will only become more of a hit with our customers; and in turn, our product will become a hit with their customers, the collectors who drive the popularity of our product.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Happy Birthday, Mr. President!!!

My daughter informed me last night that today would be Abraham Lincoln's 202nd birthday!!!


Now, I carry Lincoln's mini card with me at work. It sits behind my ID badge. Sometimes, the badge flips over and the card shows up instead of my picture (frankly, I'd rather people see the card than my picture). Why? I'm not entirely sure. I tell people that it keeps me "honest" (get it???).

But in honor of our nation's 16th president, I thought it appropriate to post this, especially since the Land of Lincoln is still digging out from the blizzard that brought Chicago to its knees. And what better way to remind those of us still waiting for 2011 Topps that we all should take a close look at the cards we collect than a four-spot of one of the biggest gimmicks of the year, the Abe Lincoln Cub Variations (courtesy of Trader Crack):








Enjoy! And Happy Birthday, Mr. President!

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Ten Packs + Two Rack Packs...And Stuff from 2006 & 2007.

So yesterday, I decided to take a chance and sojourn out to the local WalMart to see if I can get more packs of the latest product (we all know what that is...don't we???). It's freezing cold outside, but along the way, I noticed that there was a lot of construction on the road heading to the big box store (trucks fixing light poles or the road...hey, we have to spend those tax dollars somehow). So changing my mind, I went to the next best place...

Meijer.

Yes, Meijer sells cards. And in many past trips to Meijer, I noticed that they also get the same packs that WalMart gets. So hoping to get some of those Blue Diamond cards, upon entering the store, I immediately went to one of the two shelves by the checkout counters and grabbed ten packs of cards (talk about impulse shopping). Although I did see blaster boxes, and even series 2 and Updates of last year's product, I had a feeling that there was more. So the search began.

I found my way to the toy section, and sure enough, there it was. An entire shelf full of sports cards. I heard angels singing (not to be dramatic, but studies show that long exposure to the muzak at a store leads to hallucinations and/or more items in your shopping cart). There was a lot of stuff on the shelf. Everything from the high demand 2011 Topps, to factory sets from 2006, and 2007 and deep discounts ($10-15 off). Blasters from past years, even that bonus box that Walmart was selling of 2010 Series 2 (with the Allen & Ginter pack plus a couple of Million Card Giveaway codes). There were cards from all sports, including a complete 36-pack box of '06-'07 Basketball cards from that other card company. But something else caught my eye.

Among the blister packs of Yu-gi-oh! and Magic, were 2-pack blister packs of 2006 and 2007 Topps. The packages themselves were beaten up, but the packs inside were as clean as the day they were packed out. And at 50% off, I couldn't argue with the price. so along with my ten packs from the checkout counter, and two rack packs from the shelf, I grabbed one blister each of Topps 1, 2007 Topps 1, 2, and U & H.

So far, I've opened five of the regular packs. Some of the hits include platinum diamond cards of Omar Vizquel, Brent Morel (two White Sox cards in a row???), James Loney (great, a Dodgers card to Hong-Chin Kuo), and David Price.

And a Topps gold card of Stephen Strasburg.

"Stras-Jo!!!"

Eventually, I will compare the hauls from the Target run last Saturday and yesterday's Meijer's trip to see which group of packs yielded the better round of inserts. Of course, the base cards are important, and let me just say what has probably been said in other blogs. The pictures on these cards are fantastic!!! If the cards were borderless (and no, I like borders on my basic Topps cards), these would be Stadium Club quality cards.

Speaking of which, I heard flying rumors that Stale Gum is bringing up the Blog Bat Around. Something about if Eisner fired the staff and hired you, and only you, to run the cards division, what would you do? I'll have to read more into it later. You can tell I'm already pretty happy with this year's production and presentation. But all isn't necessarily unicorns and rainbows. There are certain things I could have done without with this year's product. I will get my thoughts together on this topic soon.

Finally, rumor has it that scans of the 17-card team sets are on the Internet somewhere. As tradition on this humble, little blog, I will find and post scans and checklists of these retail exclusive wonders and will now begin the process of saving up the money to buy all 30 team sets (unless somebody wants to be kind and send the money my way, of course).

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Ten Packs Plus Two Rack Packs = I Now Have 2011 Topps.

After days stuck because of the blizzard, and showing lots of patience, I was able to go to Target and buy some packs of the product everybody has been ogling over...2011 Topps.

I opened four packs last night. My first card of 2011? Ted Lilly. Any highlights from the four packs? A Hong-Chin Kuo Platinum Diamond card (pretty pretty shiny shiny) and an Aroldis Chapman Kimball's Chapman card.

I love the card backs. Easy to read text, numbers are big, and if nobody's pointed it out, along the right side of the players' card backs mentions which player shared that same card number from a previous Topps set. Hopefully, when I get a full set, we can cover which cards were mentioned.

I have 2 packs and a rack pack on me right now, but it's time to go. Will discuss pack breaks later.

On some unrelated notes, congrats to Richard Dent, Marshall Faulk, Shannon Sharpe & Deion Sanders, along with NFL Films Ed Sabol, Chris Hanburger and Ed Richter, who were announced last night as the 2011 class for enshrinement into the Football Hall of Fame.

Enjoy the Super Bowl. This may be the first time I'm not actively caring as to who wins, but I know my kids are rooting for Pittsburgh. The jambalaya is on the slow cooker for the party, so we're ready for a good football game. I will probably break open the rest of the cards at the party. Baseball can't get here fast enough.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Friday, February 4, 2011

Topps 60 Best Cards...#14-22!

After more than a week, the Topps 60 Countdown not only continues, but finally breaks through the Top 20 stratosphere.

Here are card #'s 14-22 "on Topps 60 Greatest Cards of All Time":

  • #22: 1954 Topps #90 Willie Mays
  • #21: 1984 Topps #182 Darryl Strawberry
  • #20: 1993 Topps #98 Derek Jeter
  • #19: 1984 Topps #8 Don Mattingly
  • #18: 1975 Topps #228 George Brett
  • #17: 1987 Topps #320 Barry Bonds
  • #16: 1964 Topps #125 Pete Rose
  • #15: 1953 Topps #220 Satchel Paige (Satchell)
  • #14: 1957 Topps #20 Hank Aaron (Reverse Negative)

Thoughts: I can't really argue with many of the picks as you can really only have ten "Top 10" cards. Many, like the the Mattingly card, and maybe the Bonds I would have thought would have been in the Top 10. And with both of his cards in the Top 60, how in the world is Topps going to be able to create "reprint" cards of the Pete Rose, when he's banned from baseball? Of course, there is no problem giving away his actual cards, but they haven't made a "new" card of Pete Rose since 1989 (and I'm not counting the 1991 Topps Babe Ruth movie where he had a card playing Ty Cobb).

We're getting closer and closer to the Top 10. So here's hope that card #13 on the countdown will be announced maybe tomorrow, maybe on Monday, someday soon...

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Rest of the Legends Shortprints. Twenty-Four and Counting.

Perusing the Bay earlier this week, I found 19 of the SP's. Here is the checklist that I posted on Wednesday:

  • #5 Lou Gehrig
  • #20 Honus Wagner
  • #25 Carl Yastrzemski
  • #44 Rogers Hornsby
  • #80 Jackie Robinson
  • #90 Yogi Berra
  • #93 Frank Thomas
  • #100 Stan Musial
  • #102 Christy Mathewson
  • #135 Dale Murphy
  • #198 Johnny Bench
  • #200 Ty Cobb
  • #209 Roy Campanella
  • #219 Thurman Munson
  • #247 Ernie Banks
  • #250 Mel Ott
  • #271 Babe Ruth
  • #315 Jimmie Foxx
  • #330 Phil Rizzuto
Here are some more you can add to the pile:
  • #50 Mike Schimidt
  • #150 Hank Greenberg
  • #199 Ozzie Smith
  • #293 Harmon Killebrew
  • #300 Walter Johnson




Wait...that's 24. So what's the 25th SP card?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

And Don't Forget...Target and WalMart Have Exclusive Insert Sets Too.

In 2006, Topps exclusively inserted a set of 54 cards featuring players from Topps designs from 1952-2005 in blasters and packs sold at Walmart.

In 2007, Walmart again had a 54 card set, this time featuring designs from previous companies and years (a preview of the successful Baseball Card History). Topps exclusively inserted a set of 36 cards honoring Ted Williams' chase of .400 (in series 1 and 2) and a "Life of Mickey Mantle set" with the Updates and Highlights series. Topps also gave KMart their own exclusive set, capitalizing on the year's Generation Now theme with a 54 card set of "variation cards"

In 2008, Walmart, Target, and KMart found themselves the exclusive homes for Dick Perez cards (Walmart), Topps 205 cards (Target), and Rookie Variation cards (KMart).

In 2009, with KMart no longer in the mix, Walmart and Target were the exclusive stores to find Gold and Silver variation cards from the Legendary Lineage set (an extension of the regular set, these featured gold and silver borders).

In 2010, Topps included mini cards honoring their classic 1951 cards (Blue and Red Backs) in packs, with Walmart handling the Blue team and Target the Red set.

So what has Topps unleashed upon the masses for 2011 at your favorit big box stores?


Walmart gets Blue Diamond cards (45 in all, 15 in the first set)

And Target gets Red Diamond cards (same deal).

Don't you just love it when new cards come out???

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

The Legends SP's are Starting to Appear on the Bay!

I love this time of year. Yes, I'm still snowbound (did a lot of shoveling though), so I've taken some time today to peruse the Bay and yes, Virginia, there are legends in the SP's this year.

So far, here is what has been found. Remember, there are supposed to be 25 of these cards (not including the Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez Red Sox cards):

  • #5 Lou Gehrig
  • #20 Honus Wagner
  • #25 Carl Yastrzemski
  • #44 Rogers Hornsby
  • #80 Jackie Robinson
  • #90 Yogi Berra
  • #93 Frank Thomas
  • #100 Stan Musial
  • #102 Christy Mathewson
  • #135 Dale Murphy
  • #198 Johnny Bench
  • #200 Ty Cobb
  • #209 Roy Campanella
  • #219 Thurman Munson
  • #247 Ernie Banks
  • #250 Mel Ott
  • #271 Babe Ruth
  • #315 Jimmie Foxx
  • #330 Phil Rizzuto
This is just a partial list (19 cards found so far). When I find the full list (and some better pictures), I will add them to the post. In the meantime, enjoy a few pictures:







Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

The Unannounced Super Short Prints This Year!!!

Pretty. Sparkly. What??!

So last year, we got Pied in the Face. From the Yankees in series 1, to five random guys in both series 2 and the Update series. This year's SSP's (super short prints) might not necessarily be akin to the PITF's (or the Abe variations), but it seems that every card might have a variation that has a sparkle to it.

That's right.

This year, it gets a bit...sparkly.










After reviewing a few auctions from the 'Bay (and taking a tip from the girls from A Cardboard Problem), I am going to speculate that while these appear to be super short printed, they are not going to be akin from last year's stealth variations. Instead, these may very well appear to be another parallel set that is extremely short printed.

Further information as it develops.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Let it Snow. Let it Snow. Let it...MAKE IT STOP PLEASE!!!

(It's Wednesday, February 2, 2011. Guess what day it is???)

(Sonny and Cher's "I Got You Babe" plays as the radio alarm clock turns on at 6:00 AM).

D.J. #1: Okay, campers, rise and shine, and don't forget your booties 'cause it's cooooold out there today.
D.J. #2: It's coooold out there every day. What is this, Miami Beach?
D.J. #1: Not hardly. And you know, you can expect hazardous travel later today with that, you know, that, uh, that blizzard thing.
D.J. #2: [mockingly] That blizzard - thing. That blizzard - thing. Oh, well, here's the report! The National Weather Service is calling for a "big blizzard thing!"
D.J. #1: Yessss, they are. But you know, there's another reason why today is especially exciting.
D.J. #2: Especially cold!
D.J. #1: Especially cold, okay, but the big question on everybody's lips...
D.J. #2: - On their chapped lips...
D.J. #1: - On their chapped lips, right: Do ya think Phil is gonna come out and see his shadow?
D.J. #2: Punxsutawney Phil!
D.J. #1: That's right, woodchuck-chuckers - it's...
D.J. #1, D.J. #2: [in unison] GROUNDHOG DAY!


Here in the Chicagoland area, we received at least 2 feet of snow, survived 50 MPH winds, pure whiteout conditions, and we can't even see across the street. This is probably the worst snowstorm I've ever experienced in my lifetime.

The last time it snowed this much was in 1999. But it was fun then. It happened on a weekend, New Year's weekend no less. And my wife and I entertained ourselves in our THIRD STORY APARTMENT watching people try and drive in 18-20 inches of snow.

So Phil, are we stuck for six more weeks of winter? The groundhog in Chicago didn't see his shadow (or is it a her...I didn't quite catch that part) yesterday (the Brookfield Zoo ran their Groundhog Day ceremony a day early because of the impending blizzard).

Knowing that the 2011 Topps cards were already at Target, I was tempted to make a run for the store before heading home...DURING THE STORM. If I was about 12 years younger, I would have taken my chances. But the adult in me (Yikes!!!) told me to hold off and head home. "The cards can wait," my conscience said. And I agreed. It took twice as long as it normally does, but I made it safely home from work.

Most likely, I won't be at work today...well, maybe after the snow breaks and I can shovel my way out of the driveway. For those who are experiencing this blizzard (not just in IL, but from Oklahoma through Michigan, then on to the east coast), please be careful when heading out, whether it's to work, school, or even your local card shop or big box store. Make sure you thank the brave souls who were out last night driving through treacherous conditions to salt and shovel the snow off the roads. I know I will.

I'm just hoping for a slow thaw. That way the river doesn't flood over.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

2011 Topps Series 1 is on the Bay!!!

It looks like even though the street release for the newest product isn't until this Wednesday (and if you're in the midwest, good luck getting to your local card shop...or anywhere for that matter), a few of the eBay case busters have already received their product and have begun posting auctions of product online!!!

Here are some pictures (not linking to the auctions):


Feast your eyes on these boys and girls!


And after a year of that gaudy silver ASRT cup, they brought back the gold. Thank goodness!


Somebody went to Target! At least we get to see what the back of the card looks like.


If anybody calls this a shortprint, they're lying!!!


This is a set I'm looking forward to acquiring.

More will be coming soon. Here's hoping to get that master set quickly and at a good price.

Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines!!!

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama