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

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Random Topps Card of the Day: 1984 Topps #60 Paul Molitor

Thanks to the Topps Card Randomizer, introducing the Random Topps Card of the Day for Thursday, January 31, 2013:


  • Official Card Set Name and Card Number: 1984 Topps #60.
  • Player Name, position, team: Paul Molitor, third baseman, Milwaukee Brewers.
  • Major League Debut: April 7, 1978.
  • Last Line of Statistics: 1983 stats (Brewers): 153 G, 613 AB, 96 R, 167 H, 29 2B, 6 3B, 15 HR, 47 RBI, .413 SLG, 59 BB, 74 SO, .272 AVG. (Please note that the AB, H, and AVG numbers are incorrect. They should be 608, 164, and .270 respectively).
  • Any special information about player: Drafted by Brewers #1st, June 1977. Bats: right. Throws: right.
  • Number of regular Topps Cards (includes regular and traded cards only): 22. This is his seventh Topps card.
  • Blurb on the back: "Went 5-for-5 with 4 Runs in 13-9 win, 7-27-83."
  • Commentary: Paul Molitor's 1988 Topps card was a previous Random Card of the Day subject (all the way back in April, 2010). At the time, I had 56 of his cards. Because somebody questioned why I had 56 of his cards (I think he or she thought I had 56 of the same card), I had to clarify that I had 56 different cards of his in my collection, and I even listed them all. Since then, my Molitor collection has grown by 23 cards. Paul's 1984 season was marred by a right elbow injury (his throwing arm). Limited to DH duty, he did appear in 14 games, but the pain was so much that the Brewers shut him down for the year and Molitor underwent Tommy John surgery. He returned in 1985 and had a good season, hitting .297 with 10 homers and 48 rbi's. He was named to his first All-Star team that year. Molitor remained a Brewer until after the 1992 season, signing with the Blue Jays as a Free Agent. During his fifteen years in Milwaukee, Paul appeared in 1856 games, hit for a .303 average (2281 hits in 7520 at-bats), with 160 home runs, 790 rbi's, an OPS of .811. He helped his new team win their second consecutive World Series in 1993, and after three seasons with Toronto, the native Minnesotan signed on with his hometown team where he finished his career, along with getting his 3,000th hit. He was the second player to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame wearing a Brewer's cap.  The back of many of the player's cards also had a "Dateline" section, featuring highlights of that player's season.  For Paul, Topps included his games on April 12, when he "Had 3 Hits and Game-Winning RBI" and June 6, when he "Went 4-for-4 with Homer & 2 Doubles in Win." The SABR Player Biography Project has a page for Paul Molitor.
  • Beckett value: $0.08-$0.25.
  • How many cards of this player do I own?: 79 cards.
Tomorrow's card will be: 1994 Topps #211. Post will arrive at 1:00 PM CST. Until tomorrow everybody.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Random Topps Team Set of the Week: 2006 Topps San Francisco Giants

Thanks to the Topps Card Randomizer, introducing the Random Topps Team Set of the Week:


The checklist consists of the following players:
The cards in order from the set (the checklist at the end was cut from the back of the package. What, you don't do that?):



Key differences between the team set and 2006 Topps eponymous set:
  • Steve Finley played for the Angels in 2005, and was traded to the Giants in December of that year. So his eponymous 2006 card shows him wearing the red of the Angels, and the retail set uses the same picture.  Finley was not included in the 2006 Topps Updates and Highlights set.  So if you want a Giants card with the 2006 Topps design of Steve Finley, the retail set is the only place you can get it.:

  • Matt Morris plied his trade with the Cardinals in 2005, and signed with the Giants as a Free Agent. As with Finley, his 2006 Topps card properly depicts him in the red of the Cardinals, and the retail set...uses the same shot. And as with Finley, Morris does not appear in the 2006 Topps U&H set.  Want a Giants card of Matt Morris from 2006 Topps?  You'll only find it here:

  • Matt Cain's card uses the same picture, but the retail set does not have the "rookie card" logo that the MLB Properties insisted that they use:

  • Noah Lowry appears in the regular set too, but the picture used is different than what we see in the retail set:

So of the 14 players included in this set, two cards feature players photoshopped from the base set, and only one card feature a picture of a player that you will only find in the retail set.

Next week's featured set will be the 2010 Toronto Blue Jays. Hope you'll be here when we compare the cards from the retail set to their counterparts found in Topps and Topps Update Series.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Rest of the Lot...and a Quick Note Regarding the Cut to the Chase Insert Set

It's been a busy day here. Although I want to buy more packs (and probably will), I still have to pay bills. So if there is any money left, after I take care of important matters (like food, gas, etc.), I will buy more. Until then, I'm enjoying looking at the rest of my cards. I have a few of the code cards (and am so glad that there aren't ten different fronts for these cards...I'll just need one for my master set.

Just a quick note, thanks to Craig in Texas. Ebayers are selling sets like crazy now that the product is out. Friend of the blog Craig in Texas has been feverishly trying to keep track of all the data he can about this product. From twitter to eBay, he's been on top of what's been going on with the product. That's why when I saw this tweet, I was puzzled:

C & D Sportscards ‏@parker94ttu
@toppscards Topps, was there a production error on the Cut to the Chase cards? Seems two are missing. Please let me know. Thank you.

Uh oh.

Topps was kind enough to respond.

Topps Company ‏@toppscards
@parker94ttu 1and 24 will be picked up in Series 2

After searching for auctions for complete sets of the Cut to the Chase insert cards, sellers have had to change their descriptions from 25 cards to 23. Card numbers 1 and 24 were not inserted into series 1. Which now explains why neither card was listed onto the final checklist that was released earlier this month. So apparently, this was not a typo on Topps' part.  They really did not have either card available for the checklist.  So don't panic set collectors.  There will only be 23 cards from the die-cut set distributed in series 1:


CTC-2 Ken Griffey Jr. Seattle Mariners
CTC-3 Derek Jeter New York Yankees
CTC-4 Babe Ruth New York Yankees
CTC-5 Paul Molitor Milwaukee Brewers
CTC-6 Carlos Gonzalez Colorado Rockies
CTC-7 Stan Musial St. Louis Cardinals
CTC-8 Ryan Braun Milwaukee Brewers
CTC-9 Ted Williams Boston Red Sox
CTC-10 Adam Jones Baltimore Orioles
CTC-11 Yu Darvish Texas Rangers
CTC-12 Lance Berkman St. Louis Cardinals
CTC-13 Brett Lawrie Toronto Blue Jays
CTC-14 David Price Tampa Bay Rays
CTC-15 Dustin Pedroia Boston Red Sox
CTC-16 Nelson Cruz Texas Rangers
CTC-17 Matt Cain San Francisco Giants
CTC-18 Tony Gwynn San Diego Padres
CTC-19 Mike Schmidt Philadelphia Phillies
CTC-20 Roberto Clemente Pittsburgh Pirates
CTC-21 Andrew McCutchen Pittsburgh Pirates
CTC-22 Ryne Sandberg Chicago Cubs
CTC-23 Willie Mays San Francisco Giants
CTC-25 Josh Hamilton Texas Rangers


Thanks Craig.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Now That I've Calmed Down...You Want to Know What I Got?

I finally got around to breaking open the packs that I bought this morning.  I'm liking the cards and the design specifically now that I have them in hand.  Many of the shots are really up close, and you can see what many of these players really look like.  I do like many of the action shots, although it seems that Topps has resorted to using companies like Getty Images to get their pictures.  If they've had to lay off some of their photographers, you have to find other ways to get shots, I guess.

So first of all, ladies and gentlemen, here is the first card from the first pack that I opened for the 2013 Topps Baseball Card Season:

(drumroll please)

2013 Topps #328 Jayson Werth
The big free agent signing of the Nationals in 2011 is the subject of the first card of the year.  Let's look at the card back, something that I would like to request Topps to include when they put their previews out onto the Internet:


I love the backs.  It incorporates the curved home plate (I still like to think of it as a spaceship), bright colors, easily readable text, and look, they've even incorporated the big theme of 2013, the Chase.  Every player card I've seen includes a "Career Chase" line.  In the case of Werth, "With 145 home runs, Werth is 617 away from Barry Bonds' all-time record of 762."  Other "Career Chase" lines include:

  • Hank Aaron's all-time record of 2,297 rbi's
  • Hank Aaron's all-time record of 1,477 extra-base hits
  • Tris Speaker's all-time record of 792 doubles
  • Sam Crawford's all-time record of 309 triples
  • Barry Bonds' all-time record of 762 home runs
  • Rickey Henderson's all-time record of 2,295 runs
  • Rickey Henderson's all-time record of 1,406 stolen bases
  • Ivan Rodriguez' all-time record of 2,428 games caught
  • Jesse Orosco's all-time record of 1,252 games pitched
  • Cy Young's all-time record of 511 wins
  • Nolan Ryan's all-time record of 5,714 strikeouts
  • Mariano Rivera's all-time record of 608 saves (which is still active...should he decide to pitch in 2013)
  • an all-time record of 4,256 hits (which does not name the player who holds this record)
So it's funny to read that "With 1 hit, Melky Mesa is 4,255 away from the all-time record of 4,256."

The rest of the cards in the first pack:
  • #257 Mike Minor, Atlanta Braves
  • #62 Tommy Hunter, Baltimore Orioles
  • #157 Carter Capps, Seattle Mariners
  • #254 Sean Burnett, Washington Nationals
  • #171 Brock Holt, Pittsburgh Pirates
  • #173 Tyler Skaggs, Arizona Diamondbacks
  • #CH-5 Yogi Berra, New York Yankees, Chasing History
  • #CC-15 Albert Pujols, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Callig Card
  • #195 Chris Heisey, Cincinnati Reds
  • #291 Ryan Sweeney, Boston Red Sox
  • #139 Bobby Parnell, New York Mets
  • #96 Edward Mujica, St. Louis Cardinals
Wait, including the Werth card, that's (one...two...) thirteen cards.  I got an extra card in my first pack.  Yay!!!

I opened the other four regular, two jumbo, and one box.  I will tell you now that none included any relics, autographs, or those wonderful short-printed "Out of Bounds" inserts (I think...will have to double check).

I hope you're finding 2013 Topps in your neck of the woods.  In the meantime, I am going to start checking on the Bay for master sets.  

Let the "Chase" begin!!! (Yes, I know people are tired of that phrase now...can't help it).

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Random Topps Card of the Day: 1985 Topps Traded #59T LaMarr Hoyt

Thanks to the Topps Card Randomizer, introducing the Random Topps Card of the Day for Wednesday, January 30, 2013:


  • Official Card Set Name and Card Number: 1985 Topps Traded #59T.
  • Player Name, position, team: LaMarr Hoyt, pitcher, San Diego Padres.
  • Major League Debut: September 14, 1979.
  • Last Line of Statistics: 1984 stats (White Sox): 34 G, 235.2 IP, 13-18, 127 R, 117 ER, 126 SO, 43 BB, 34 GS, 11 CG, 1 SHO, 0 SV, 4.47 ERA.
  • Any special information about player: Drafted by the Yankees #5th, June 1973. Traded by the White Sox to the Padres 12/06/1984. Bats: right. Throws: right.
  • Number of regular Topps Cards (includes regular and traded cards only): 8. This is his sixth Topps card.
  • Blurb on the back: "Hit 34 Homers in 20 games as a Little Leaguer."
  • Commentary: When LaMarr Hoyt first appeared as a Random Card of the Day subject, I flippantly wrote, "if we want to know how well he did in 1983, we'd have to wait for his 1984 cards to come." Nowadays, I'm actually writing what happened during the year this card came out on these commentaries. I don't know who actually takes the time to read them, but I'd like to think people do. Anyway, to update that mess from two years ago, Hoyt won the Cy Young Award in 1983, on the strength of a 24-10 record, 148 strikeouts, and a 3.66 ERA. It also helps that Hoyt and the 1983 White Sox won the AL West division that year (which is why the 2013 White Sox will be wearing that team's jerseys on home Sundays). The following year, Hoyt did not fare to well. He went 13-18 in his decisions, his ERA went up to 4.47 and the team fell to fifth place. During the offseason, he was traded to the Padres along with minor leaguers Kevin Kristan and Todd Simmons for four players. Coming to the Sox were Luis Salazar, Tim Lollar, Bill Long, and some guy that would become the 1985 Rookie of the Year, eventually become the 2005 AL Manager of the Year, and lightning rod wherever he went, Ozzie Guillen. With the Padres, the change of scenery did him wonders. He went 16-8, a 3.47 ERA, and was named to his first and only All-Star team (he pitched three innings, allowed one run, and was named the game's MVP). The honeymoon didn't last long though because in 1986, he went 8-11 with a 5.15 ERA in 35 games, 25 starts. It would be Hoyt's final year in the majors. He was released by the Padres in 1987 thanks to off-the-field issues, and signed back with the White Sox which gave him a second chance until those off-the-field issues returned (okay, he was arrested four times on drug possession charges), killing any chances of him returning to the majors. He has since rehabilitated and in 2004, the White Sox gave him a job as a roving instructor, a position he has held ever since. Many cards from the 1985 Topps set included a "Baseball Trivia Quiz" question. The back of Hoyt's card asks "Which manager lost the most All-Star Games?: Earl Weaver, Casey Stengel, or Connie Mack. The answer: as of 1985, Casey Stengel.
  • Beckett value: $0.05-$0.15.
  • How many cards of this player do I own?: 16 cards.
Tomorrow's card will be 1984 Topps #60. Post will arrive at 1:00 PM CST. Hope you will be too.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

They're Here!!! They're Here!!! 2013 Topps is Here!!!


Just arrived at my local big box store. I am happy to report that the 2013 Topps Baseball Series 1 cards have landed.


I will be buying 5 regular packs of 12 cards, 2 jumbo packs with 36 cards each, and one 72-card box. Can't wait to see what's inside.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Turkey Red is Back!!! Kind of...


Topps announced today that their next online exclusive will be Turkey Red. All Topps would say about the product was that it would come out in February and that more details will be announced then. They also included the above picture.

If you can't see the picture, it is a box with the words Topps Turkey Red, 11 Baseball Cards, and An Autograph in Every Box.  Does it mean that these are sold in packs made to look like cigar boxes? Will these be sold in multiple boxes?  What will the price point be?

I guess we will all find out when Topps gives more of an explanation.

In the mean time, 2013 Topps Series 1 is already out in many retail stores...but I have not seen any in my area yet. I will be making stops tomorrow to about four stores.  Hopefully I will find something.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Random Topps Card of the Day: 2007 Topps #510 Alex Rodriguez

Thanks to the Topps Card Randomizer, introducing the Random Topps Card of the Day for Tuesday, January 29, 2013:


  • Official Card Set Name and Card Number: 2007 Topps #510.
  • Player Name, position, team: Alex Rodriguez, shortstop, New York Yankees.
  • Major League Debut: July 8, 1994.
  • Last Line of Statistics: 2006 stats (Yankees): 154 G, 572 AB, 113 R, 166 H, 26 2B, 1 3B, 35 HR, 121 RBI, 15 SB, 90 BB, 139 SO, .523 SLG, .915 OPS, .290 AVG.
  • Any special information about player: Drafted by the Mariners #1st, June 1993. Traded by the Rangers to the Yankees 02/16/2004. Bats: right. Throws: right.
  • Number of regular Topps Cards (includes regular and traded cards only): 18. This is his twelfth Topps card.
  • Blurb on the back: n/a.
  • Commentary: I'll bypass the comment about the design of the 2007 Topps product and talk about how I'm so glad that I am not a player collector or team collector. Nothing against you guys and gals, but I feel really bad for you. Why? Because while I know that half of the fun is in the thrill of the chase (see what I did there), when there is so much to go after, it has to be just impossible to keep up. Case in point? Alex Rodriguez. Before running these posts, I look up online thanks to the Number One Source in the Hobby, the number of total Topps cards a player has. Ideally, I have no problem sorting out the cards on their list to the cards I have. Not so much with ARod. Beckett says that including 2013 Topps, Alex Rodriguez has a total of 10,984 Topps branded products (this does not take into consideration any Bowman branded cards). Of which, 5,554 were from that behemoth Moments and Milestones sets from a few years back. There are 9,064 serial numbered cards, 1,569 relic cards, 1,006 autographed cards, 843 autographed stickers, and if looking up the eponymous Topps products, including all the parallels, inserts, relic/autos, and so forth, Alex Rodriguez has 1,675 cards. Beckett wouldn't even let me see the list of all 10,984 cards, cutting it off after the first 10,000. And this is only from Topps. I don't even want to know how many cards this guy has total (okay, I do...19,489 total, which includes other things besides cards!!!) There are players who only have one card to their name. Many superstars of the past reach double digits in card totals during their playing days. This guy has almost 20,000, and he's still playing. I worry the day randomizer picks a Jeter card. In 2007, ARod won his third MVP award, leading the AL with 143 hits, 54 home runs, 156 rbi's, a .645 slugging percentage, and an OPS of 1.067. He hit .314, and also won his ninth Silver Slugger award and was named to his eleventh All-Star team.  Heading into the 2013 season, he will be out for half of the year due to surgery done in the off-season.  Now, there have been calls for him to call it quits now.  Yes, his production has been down in the last couple of years.  Make no doubt about it though.  Alex Rodriguez is still one of the most feared hitters in the game today.  All controversy aside, he may go down as one of the best ever.
  • Lo-Hi Beckett value: $0.30-$0.75.
  • How many cards of this player do I own?: 244.
Tomorrow's card will be: 1985 Topps Traded #59T. Post will arrive at 1:00 PM CST. Post will arrive at 1:00 PM CST. We're looking back at a card from 1985 here on the blog tomorrow.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Monday, January 28, 2013

Random Topps Card of the Day: 2011 Topps #174 Roy Oswalt

Thanks to the Topps Card Randomizer, introducing the Random Topps Card of the Day for Monday, January 28, 2013:


  • Official Card Set Name and Card Number: 2011 Topps #174.
  • Player Name, position, team: Roy Oswalt, pitcher, Houston Astros.
  • Major League Debut: May 6, 2001.
  • Last Line of Statistics: 2010 stats (Phillies): 13 G, 7-1, 82.2 IP, 53 H, 18 R, 16 ER, 21 BB, 73 SO, 1 CG, 1 SHO, 0 SV, 0.90 WHIP, 1.74 ERA.
  • Any special information about player: Drafted by the Astros #23rd, June 1996. Traded by the Astros to the Phillies 07/29/2010. Bats: right. Throws: right.
  • Number of regular Topps Cards (includes regular and traded cards only): 14. This is his thirteenth Topps card.
  • Blurb on the back: n/a.
  • Commentary: I loved Topps' 60th baseball set.  As it was their "Diamond Anniversary," there were a lot of Diamond related themes incorporated into the product.  From the names of their insert sets (Diamond Duos) and parallel sets (hope, cognac, blue, three of many) to including actual diamonds into their cards (a 1 of 1), diamonds were forever.  Throughout the 2000's, there were not too many pitchers more dominant than Roy Oswalt.  If you were a Reds fan, you knew that if your team was going to face him, it was a foregone conclusion that they were not going to have a good night.  I was watching MLB Network's "Top 40 Team Killers" show the other day, and they had Oswalt ranked as a "Reds Killer."  Roy went 23-3 against Cincinnati, with a 2.81 ERA, and 175 strikeouts and a 1.147 WHIP.  The Cubs fared a bit better, but not by much thanks to a 15-13 record and 3.82 ERA and 150 strikeouts.  With the Astros, he was a Cy Young Award contender (6 times in 10 years), four-time MVP candidate, and three-time All-Star.  Astros fans rued the day that he was traded to the Phillies in a deadline deal in 2010.  The 'Stros weren't doing him any favors anyway as Oswalt was 6-12  in games where he earned the decision ad a 3.42 ERA.  The trade that sent him to an already intimidating rotation (Lee, Halladay, Hamels) rejuvenated Oswalt's season, as he had a dominating 7-1 in 12 starts (and a 1.74 ERA).  He still led the NL that year with a 1.025 WHIP and finished sixth in the Cy Young voting.  In 2011, Roy didn't fare so well by his standards, but there were reasons behind it. He lives in Mississippi, and his family was hard hit by tornadoes that touched down in April that year.  So he took a leave of absence to make sure his family was all right.  He also was knocked out All of July thanks to a back injury.  He finished the year with a 9-10 record, an ERA of 3.69 and a WHIP of 1.338.  Assigned to start a crucial game 5 in the 2011 NLDS, he gave up five earned runs and 6 hits in 6 innings of work, taking the loss and ending the Phil's season.  His contract option was declined afterwards, making him a free agent.  He signed a minor league contract with the Rangers and after a four-game minor league stint, he joined the Rangers rotation.  He was moved to the bullpen when the Rangers acquired Ryan Dempster.  Soreness in his elbow limited his work in the Rangers 'pen, and filed for free agency after the season is over.    
  • Beckett value: $0.25-$0.60.
  • How many cards of this player do I own?: 65 cards.
Tomorrow's card will be: 2007 Topps #510. Post will arrive at 1:00 PM CST. Flash back with the blog tomorrow.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Random Topps Card of the Day: 1975 Topps #446 Bart Johnson

(I apologize that the Random Card of the Day segment did not appear as scheduled.  In an attempt to try and eat better...more veggies...I must have eaten something that I should not have and was sidelined with a swollen foot that kept me away from my basement computer that had my work for Sunday's post.  Here is what should have appeared at 1:00 pm CST on Sunday, January 27, 2013).

It's Retro Sunday!!! Thanks to the Topps Card Randomizer, introducing the Random Topps Card of the Day for Sunday, January 27, 2013:


  • Official Card Set Name and Card Number: 1975 Topps #446.
  • Player Name, position, team: Bart Johnson, pitcher, Chicago White Sox.
  • Major League Debut: September 08, 1969.
  • Last Line of Statistics: 1974 stats (White Sox): 18 G, 122 IP, 10-4, 76 SO, 32 BB, 2.74 ERA.
  • Any special information about player: Drafted by the White Sox #1st (Secondary), June 1968. Bats: right. Throws: right.
  • Number of regular Topps Cards (includes regular and traded cards only): 8. This is his sixth Topps card.
  • Blurb on the back: "Bart came back from short stint at Iowa in 1974 to solidify Chisox' staff. He hurled 8 Complete Games and had fine 10-4 mark with sparkling 2.74 E.R.A."
  • Commentary: The 1975 Topps set was named by Topps Magazine readers as the best set of the 1970's. Even now, 22 years later, the set still remains one of the best Topps produced. Not only because of the iconic two-color borders, but because of the numbers of players in the set that eventually became Hall of Famers. Clair Barth Johnson was an eight-year major leaguer who spent his entire MLB career with the White Sox. He was shelved during the 1975 season, thanks in part (as Johnson himself explained in a 2009 interview with White Sox Interactive), "I was pitching to Joe Morgan (in a spring training game that started after a three-hour rain delay) when my left leg slipped as I was throwing a pitch, my back jerked and I herniated a disk...By the time that happened I couldn’t get out of the plane (because the flight made three stops before making its final destination in San Francisco) my back was so bad. I was in the hospital for about ten days in traction only they found out afterwards it didn’t do me a bit of good. The hospital bed I was on was to small, I’m 6-5 and my heels were hitting the footboard contracting my spine so the traction was useless.” He still was included in the 1976 Topps set (nowadays, unless you are a major superstar, this doesn't happen). In 8 years in Chicago, he went 43-51 with a 3.94 ERA. He struck out 520 batters and finished with a 1.426 WHIP. After ending his career (at the age of 27), he became a scout with the White Sox for 17 years, and then worked with the Devil Rays for 10 years. One thing that I didn't know before thanks to the cartoon blurb on the back of Johnson's card which was in the form of a trivia question (and would think it crazy if not impossible nowadays, is that the home plate umpire formerly position himself behind the pitcher. I'm sure it could be done, but I doubt it would be possible in today's game.
  • Lo-Hi Beckett value: $0.20-$0.50.
  • How many cards of this player do I own?: 2.
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: 2011 Topps #174. 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, January 26, 2013

Random Topps Card of the Day: 2007 Topps #403 Casey Blake

Thanks to the Topps Card Randomizer, introducing the Random Topps Card of the Day for Saturday, January 26, 2013:


  • Official Card Set Name and Card Number: 2007 Topps #403.
  • Player Name, position, team: Casey Blake, first baseman, Cleveland Indians.
  • Major League Debut: August 14, 1999.
  • Last Line of Statistics: 2006 stats (Indians): 109 G, 401 AB, 63 R, 113 H, 20 2B, 1 3B, 19 HR, 68 RBI, 6 SB, 45 BB, 93 SO, .479 SLG, .835 OPS, .282 AVG.
  • Any special information about player: Drafted by the Blue Jays #7th, June 1996. Signed with the Indians as a Free Agent 12/18/2002. Bats: right. Throws: right.
  • Number of regular Topps Cards (includes regular and traded cards only): 9. This is his fourth Topps card.
  • Blurb on the back: "Casey was leading the AL in hitting on 05/20/2006 at .366, but injuries ultimately slowed him down. Still, he had two grand slams and hit in 15 straight games."
  • Commentary: The 2007 set is (as of 2013 Topps) the only non-white bordered set Topps has come out with since 2003. Don't get me wrong, thanks to the card stock used in modern cards, the borders don't chip as easily as the cards from 1971, but when they do, you can't miss them. This set almost has a movie film-strip look to it with all the squares at the top and bottom of the card. William Casey Blake can hit. In 2006, had it not been for the injuries that slowed him down, he could have possibly maintained the hitting pace he was on and kept his batting average above .350. But 162 games is a long season, and even the best athletes will wear down. He still finished with a good .282 average. In 2007, Blake was the Tribe's primary third baseman. In 155 games, he hit .270 with 18 home runs and 78 rbi's and a .776 OPS. He was traded to the Dodgers in 2008 in exchange for Carlos Santana and spent three full seasons in LA. With the Dodgers, Blake hit 49 home runs and drove in 192 to go with a .260 average. Although he signed with the Rockies as a Free Agent after the 2011 season, he was released by the team during the 2012 spring training. He was out of baseball in 2012, announcing his retirement on May 8.
  • Lo-Hi Beckett value: $0.07-$0.20.
  • How many cards of this player do I own?: 22.
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 #446. Come back at 1:00 PM CST to see who (or what) it is.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Friday, January 25, 2013

Random Topps Card of the Day: 1980 Topps #313 Johnny Grubb

Thanks to the Topps Card Randomizer, introducing the Random Topps Card of the Day for Friday, January 25, 2013:


  • Official Card Set Name and Card Number: 1980 Topps #313.
  • Player Name, position, team: Johnny Grubb, outfielder, Texas Rangers.
  • Major League Debut: September 10, 1972.
  • Last Line of Statistics: 1979 stats (Rangers): 102 G, 289 AB, 42 R, 79 H, 14 2B, 0 3B, 10 HR, 37 RBI, .273 AVG.
  • Any special information about player: Drafted by the Padres #1st (Special), June 1971. Traded by the Indians to the Rangers 08/31/1978. Bats: left. Throws: right.
  • Number of regular Topps Cards (includes regular and traded cards only): 16. This is his seventh Topps card.
  • Blurb on the back: "Was voted to Topps' Major League Rookie All-Star Team for 1973. Had 21-game hitting streak for the Rangers during 1979 campaign."
  • Commentary: With the 2013 Topps Baseball cards coming soon (and with Topps' twitter account previewing cards from this product at will everyday until the official release, there are some people who are complaining about the fact that the cards have white borders.  Worse, we've had consecutive years of white-bordered baseball cards.  Okay, since 2003 (the last year of six with colored borders), every Topps design except for one (the 2007 set) utilizes white borders.  But prior to that, from 1976 to 1997, all but two (the 1987 and 1990 set) featured white bordered cards (okay, the 1986 set had black borders on half the card...but you get the idea).  There may come a year that there will be a color-bordered regular Topps design, and then maybe a white-bordered parallel (akin to the rainbow of parallels that we see nowadays). Let's hope it doesn't come any time soon.  Johnny Grubb was a sixteen-year veteran of the game.  His baseball card history includes being one of the few Padres players in 1974 that also has a "Washington Nat'l" card too.  He was named to Topps' All-Star Rookie Team in 1973, finished sixth in the Rookie of the Year voting, and was an All-Star the following season.  And while injuries (nine long stints over his career) kept him off the field for periods of time, when he was on, he produced.  In 1980, Grubb appeared in 110 games, hitting .277 with 9 home runs and 32 rbi's.  His OBP/SLG/OPS percentages were above average (.374/.427/.801).  Two years later, he was traded to the Tigers, becoming the team's primary pinch-hitter and fourth outfielder.  During the Tigers' World Series winning season in 1984, Grubb came off the bench and hit  eight home runs and 17 rbi's in 216 plate appearances.  Patience at the plate (36 walks) led to a batting average of .267 and a high OBP average of .395.  In 1986, although he only appeared in 81 games, Grubb's numbers were off the charts (.333 with 13 home runs, 51 rbi's, and a 1.002 OPS).  He couldn't keep up the pace in 1987, and was subsequently released by the team, even though he went 4 for 7 against the Twins in the ALCS. He has since led a comfortable life away from majors, as he has coached the baseball team of his high school alma mater.  On the back of the card, as with many cards from 1980, there was a cartoon depicting the player on the front.  The sketch on Grubb's card mentions that he "tied for Texas League lead in double plays among outfielders with 4 at Alexandria in 1972."
  • Lo-Hi Beckett value: $0.10-$0.25.
  • How many cards of this player do I own?: 14.
Tomorrow's card will be: 2007 Topps #403. Post will arrive at 1:00 PM CST. Flash back with the blog tomorrow.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Random Topps Card of the Day: 1993 Topps #251 Mike Bielecki

Thanks to the Topps Card Randomizer, introducing the Random Topps Card of the Day for Thursday, January 24, 2013:


  • Official Card Set Name and Card Number: 1993 Topps #251.
  • Player Name, position, team: Mike Bielecki, pitcher, Atlanta Braves.
  • Major League Debut: September 14, 1984.
  • Last Line of Statistics: 1992 stats (Braves): 19 G, 80.2 IP, 2-4, 27 R, 23 ER, 62 S0, 27 BB, 14 GS, 1 CG, 1 SHO, 0 SV, 2.57 ERA.
  • Any special information about player: Drafted by the Braves #1st (Special), June 1979. Traded by the Cubs to the Braves 09/29/1991. Bats: right. Throws: right.
  • Number of regular Topps Cards (includes regular and traded cards only): 8. This is his eighth and final Topps card.
  • Blurb on the back: "In perhaps his finest outing of 1992, Mike registered 9 Strikeouts in pitching 2-hit, 3-0 Shutout at Los Angeles, April 16. His first Shutout, 5-4-89."
  • Commentary: I will always have a soft spot for the 1989 Cubs.  I know in Chicago that the '84 Cubbies hold a lot of reverence (surprisingly, they hold a lot more sway here than the guys that supposedly won the 2005 World Series).  But I bet you right now, more than 23 seasons later, I can still name almost everybody on that team (I say almost because it depends if you are asking for the players on the team before or after the Jackson & Schiraldi/Wynne & Salazar trade).  I think Mike Bielecki got a raw deal.  For some reason, the Cubs saw it fit to trade him a few days before the end of the 1991 season.  He and Damon Berryhill were traded to the Braves on September 29, 1991, (the season ended just a few days later), for Turk Wendell and Yorkis Perez.  I couldn't understand then why the Cubs couldn't wait until the end of the season to do this.  I still also believe that Mike had a certain Greg Maddux' ear and that's why when he (Maddux) became a free agent, he bolted for Atlanta.  He actually didn't pitch with the Braves in 1993 as he signed with the Indians in the offseason.  His run with the Indians ended in June as he was released after a 4-5 record and 5.90 ERA in 13 starts.  He signed on with the Orioles to a minor league contract, but was released by the team as well.  He returned to the Braves for the 1994 season and was entrenched in their bullpen.  He signed on with the Angels in 1995 (leaving right when the Braves would win the World Series) for the opportunity to start and in 22 games, 11 starts, he went 4-6 with a 5.97 ERA.  After a year in California, he then returned to the Braves in 1996 for the first of two one-year deals.  As a reliever, he found success as he went 7-10 with 4 saves and a decent ERA of 3.26.  He was granted free agency, but could not find a team to sign him, he retired from the game.  Believe it or not, after the 1993 season, I thought he was done.  I didn't even know that he went took that trip to Cleveland and had runs with the Braves and Angels.  Why?  Because the card chosen by the Randomizer today was his last Topps card.  There are no Topps cards of him with the Indians or the Angels.  It's like he was never there.  Regardless, whenever I think of Bielecki, I think of that magical 1989 season when he went 18-7, and along with Maddux, Sutcliffe, and Sanderson made for the best 1-4 starting staff that I had ever seen.  (Before you send me nasty comments, please remember that 1989 was only my third season of watching baseball, so saying that these guys were the best I had seen...I was young.  I didn't know any better.  This was all before Maddux moved to Atlanta and then joined an even more dominating rotation throughout the 1990's).  
  • Beckett value: $0.02-$0.10.
  • How many cards of this player do I own?: 11 cards.
Tomorrow's card will be: 1980 Topps #313. Post will arrive at 1:00 PM CST. Until tomorrow everybody.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Random Topps Team Set of the Week: 2008 Topps Washington Nationals

Thanks to the Topps Card Randomizer, introducing the Random Topps Team Set of the Week:


The checklist consists of the following players:
The cards in order from the set (the checklist at the end was cut from the back of the package. What, you don't do that?):



Key differences between the team set and 2008 Topps eponymous set:
  • Jon Rauch started his year with the Nationals before being traded to the Diamondbacks.  And while Rauch was included in the Updates and Highlights set as a D-Back, there is no card of him in the base set as a National.  The retail set is the only place you will find a 2008 Topps card of Jon Rauch as a National.
  • Matt Chico's retail card was bit of a close up to his base card. Want proof?:

  • And so was Paul Lo Duca's card:

  • Austin Kearns? Same thing:

  • Lastings Milledge played for the Mets the year before and is pictured (appropriately) with the team. However, there is no Update and Highlights card of him as a National (or for that matter at all). So if you want to remember him as a National, the retail set is the only place to do it. And unlike in recent years where it would have been routine to photoshop the jersey onto the picture used in the regular set, we get a brand new image in the retail set:

So of the 14 players included in this set, two feature pictures of players that you will only find in the retail set. The rest are either close ups of their base cards.

Next week's featured set will be the 2006 San Francisco Giants. Hope you'll be here when we compare the cards from the retail set to their counterparts found in Topps and Topps Updates and Highlights.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

bdj610's 2011 End of Year All-Star Teams Simulated Games Results

Wow, it's 2013, and I actually have finally gotten around to finishing the simulations for my 2011 End-of-the-Year All-Star Teams. For those of you who remember how this all works, you know that I create All-Star Teams (and have done this since 1988). And thanks to the Strategic Baseball Simulator (aka SBS), my fantasies had become somewhat of a reality as I could finally see which of the teams (I did one for the NL and one for the AL) would have won a game (or series of games) if they were to have competed against each other. You can see the on the sidebar the results of those games.

I'll tell you the truth. The simulations were actually finished in September. But for some reason, I forgot to run the one-game, winner-takes-all All-Star Game. Well, a quiet night at home allowed me to get this going. And it was a real nailbiter too (well, it became one, after the first attempt was hijacked by the computer...and it was a slugfest before I had to pull the plug). I promise as soon as the SBS people get the 2012 rosters together, I will get the simulations for those games going (hopefully before the 2013 All-Star Game).

To review, here is how the simulations work:

I simulate seven series of games, pitting the six starting pitchers on each side and a set roster of eight or nine position players (somebody DH's when the AL All-Stars "host") against each other for the first six games, and then a seventh series of games where the rosters and the starting pitchers are chosen randomly. Each series consists of 10,000 simulated games. The winner of each series = the winner of a game. Presently, the National League All-Star Teams have a 14-10 advantage over their American League counterparts, and 13-11 record in the one-game All-Star Game (a far cry from reality, considering that the NL has only won 7 real All-Star Games since 1987).

Here are the results from the seven series simulations:
  • Game 1: NL vs. AL, Clayton Kershaw vs. Justin Verlander. The AL wins 5,450 games out of 10,000 simulations (using a DH).
  • Game 2: NL vs. AL, Ian Kennedy vs. CC Sabathia. The NL wins 5,101 games (using a DH).
  • Game 3: AL vs. NL, Jered Weaver vs. Roy Halladay. The NL wins 5,110 games.
  • Game 4: AL vs. NL, James Shields vs. Cliff Lee. The NL wins 5,330 games.
  • Game 5: AL vs. NL, C. J. Wilson vs. Yovani Gallardo. The AL wins 5,900 games.
  • Game 6: NL vs. AL, Zack Greinke vs. Gio Gonzalez. The AL wins 5,481 games (using a DH).
  • Game 7: NL vs. AL, anything goes. The AL wins 5,313 games (using a DH).
The AL takes the seven game series 4-3. In 25 simulated series, the NL still has a comfortable 14-11 record against their AL rivals. With the AL also winning the crucial seventh game series where just about anything goes, would the 2011 AL All-Stars win the one-game ASG? The team that wins the seventh series has won the final game 15 times.

For the official All-Star Game, I decided to just simulate one game and one game only. The starting pitchers were Kershaw and Verlander and I let them pitch two innings (unless they struggled badly). The rest of the pitchers would get one inning each (unless they struggled badly). The position players were replaced every three innings. To follow the new rule that dictates that the ASG be played with designated hitters, regardless of which league hosts the game, the DH's (Mike Morse of the NL and Michael Young of the AL) were never replaced.

The starting lineups, first for the National League (going forward, I will be using cards from the same season instead of the next one as I had in previous years.  Maybe I'll use the images from my other blog, and go back through all the other posts and replace the pictures with the proper year's cards):


Now the American League starting lineup:


Here is the result:



The 2011 AL All-Stars beat the 2011 NL All-Stars by a final score of 1-0. Both pitching staffs allowed six hits, and shut down the hitters from both sides all game long.  That was until the ninth inning though.

The box score is below (Just click on the picture to take a closer look).


The scoring plays were as follows:

Bottom 9: Craig Kimbrel pitching. Ben Zobrist grounded out to Neil Walker (4-3).  Michael Cuddyer hits a double.  Adrian Gonzalez hits a single, Cuddyer scores from second.

Your starters, Clayton Kershaw and Justin Verlander.

The MVP for the 2011 All-Star Game is Michael Cuddyer.

If the game actually existed, the MVP would be Michael Cuddyer, who went 1-1 stretching what should have been a single into a double, and then took a chance off Adrian Gonzalez' single (and Hunter Pence's arm) to score from second.  Neftali Feliz earns the winning decision. Kimbrel takes the loss, and the players who did not appear include pitchers John Axford, Yovani Gallardo, and J. J. Putz of the NL, and Mariano Rivera, Jose Valverde, and C. J. Wilson of the AL.

If you want to see the .DAT files that I used (I still don't know how to download these onto the blog , so please just take a look at the screen caps below). If anyone can e-mail me instructions, please do so at bdj610@hotmail.com. Below is the NL .DAT file, then the AL .DAT file:



Now that the 2011 All-Star Games are officially over, I'll be waiting until the SBS people get the 2012 .DAT files together so I can start work on the 2012 rosters and simulations. Maybe I can get these in before the end of the year (at least before the All-Star Game). Maybe this will get me going a bit and go back and do that tournament blog going

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

The Checklist for the 2013 Topps Archives Cubs Set is Now Live!!!


Friend of the blog tdlindgren sent me an e-mail today stating that the Cubs have posted the checklist for the 2013 Topps Archives Cubs cards that will be distributed over a four game stretch during the season.

For those who don't want to click on the link, here is the official list (with the year of the card design being used):
  • #1 Ernie Banks 1954 Topps
  • #2 Fergie Jenkins 1996 Topps
  • #3 Ron Santo 1984 Topps
  • #4 Don Kessinger 1965 Topps
  • #5 Shawon Dunston 1996 Topps
  • #6 Starlin Castro 1971 Topps
  • #7 Bobby Murcer 1996 Topps
  • #8 Andre Dawson 1971 Topps
  • #9 Fergie Jenkins 1954 Topps
  • #10 Sammy Sosa 1956 Topps
  • #11 Jeff Samardzija 1971 Topps
  • #12 Anthony Rizzo 1984 Topps
  • #13 Starlin Castro 1987 Topps
  • #14 Ernie Banks 1977 Topps
  • #15 Darwin Barney 1965 Topps
  • #16 Billy Williams 1987 Topps
  • #17 Mark Grace 1964 Topps
  • #18 Starlin Castro 1956 Topps
  • #19 Andre Dawson 1954 Topps
  • #20 Ernie Banks 1982 Topps
  • #21 Dave Kingman 1996 Topps
  • #22 Aramis Ramirez 1961 Topps
  • #23 Ryne Sandberg 1962 Topps
  • #24 Glenn Beckert 1984 Topps
  • #25 Kerry Wood 1977 Topps
  • #26 Ron Santo 1990 Topps
  • #27 Steve Stone 1964 Topps
  • #28 Greg Maddux 1963 Topps
  • #29 Jeff Samardzija 1956 Topps
  • #30 Mark Grace 1972 Topps
  • #31 Greg Maddux 1971 Topps
  • #32 Jon Lieber 1962 Topps
  • #33 Randy Hundley 1982 Topps
  • #34 Kerry Wood 1962 Topps
  • #35 Don Kessinger 1990 Topps
  • #36 Alfonso Soriano 1954 Topps
  • #37 Rick Sutcliffe 1956 Topps
  • #38 Sammy Sosa 1965 Topps
  • #39 Bill Buckner 1977 Topps
  • #40 Ryne Sandberg 1972 Topps
  • #41 Billy Williams 1996 Topps
  • #42 Bruce Sutter 1963 Topps
  • #43 Dennis Eckersley 1961 Topps
  • #44 Anthony Rizzo 1956 Topps
  • #45 Ryne Sandberg 1965 Topps
  • #46 Billy Williams 1982 Topps
  • #47 Starlin Castro 1962 Topps
  • #48 Rick Rueschel 1972 Topps
  • #49 Ernie Banks 1990 Topps
  • #50 Jeff Samardzija 1965 Topps
  • #51 Mark Grace 1956 Topps
  • #52 Glenn Beckert 1987 Topps
  • #53 Rick Sutcliffe 1962 Topps
  • #54 Darwin Barney 1977 Topps
  • #55 Andy Pafko 1990 Topps
  • #56 Hank Sauer 1954 Topps
  • #57 Rick Monday 1956 Topps
  • #58 Jeff Samardzija 1982 Topps
  • #59 Ernie Banks 1996 Topps
  • #60 Jose Cardenal 1972 Topps
  • #61 Bruce Sutter 1961 Topps
  • #62 Lee Smith 1963 Topps
  • #63 Ken Holtzman 1965 Topps
  • #64 Jerome Walton 1971 Topps
  • #65 Scott Sanderson 1964 Topps
  • #66 Sammy Sosa 1977 Topps
  • #67 Ivan DeJesus 1963 Topps
  • #68 Ryne Sandberg 1982 Topps
  • #69 Larry Bowa 1961 Topps
  • #70 Milt Pappas 1987 Topps
  • #71 Billy Williams 1990 Topps
  • #72 Sammy Sosa 1971 Topps
  • #73 Keith Moreland 1964 Topps
  • #74 Greg Maddux 1954 Topps
  • #75 Bruce Sutter 1956 Topps
  • #76 Ernie Banks 1984 Topps
  • #77 Fergie Jenkins 1990 Topps
  • #78 Gene Baker 1954 Topps
  • #79 Greg Maddux 1972 Topps
  • #80 Rick Sutcliffe 1971 Topps
  • #81 Soler, Almora, Baez 1982 Topps
  • #82 Steve Trachsel 1956 Topps
Again, the set will be distributed to the first 10,000 fans who go through the turnstiles before four specific games as follows:
  • Cards 1-20 will be given out on Fri. May 3 vs. Cincinnati Reds
  • Cards 21-40 will be given out on Fri. July 5 vs. Pittsburgh Pirates
  • Cards 41-60 will be given out on Fri. August 2 vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
  • Cards 61-82 will be given out on Fri. August 30 vs. Philadelphia Phillies
I am really looking forward to seeing these and making the attempt either to get to the games or go on the Bay to get them. Thanks for the tip Tim.  I wonder if eBayer mediaguides is still around...

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Random Topps Card of the Day: 1996 Topps #21 Jim Scharrer Draft Pick

Thanks to the Topps Card Randomizer, introducing the Random Topps Card of the Day for Wednesday, January 23, 2013:


  • Official Card Set Name and Card Number: 1996 Topps #21.
  • Player Name, position, team: Jim Scharrer, first baseman, Atlanta Braves.
  • Major League Debut: n/a.
  • Last Line of Statistics: 1995 stats (Braves, GCL-Rookie): 48 G, 172 AB, 10 R, 31 H, 4 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 22 RBI, 1 SB, .238 SLG, 13 BB, 43 SO, .180 AVG.
  • Any special information about player: Drafted by the Braves #2nd, June 1995. Bats: right. Throws: right.
  • Number of regular Topps Cards (includes regular and traded cards only): 2. This is his second and final Topps card.
  • Blurb on the back: "Scharrer, a 2nd Team HS All-American, was one of those "tough signs" who could have written his own ticket to college. Though committed to Clemson before casting his lot with the Braves, he was also wooed by Notre Dame, Penn State and others to play linebacker. At Cathedral Prep, he was a two-time conference MVP."
  • Commentary: It seems that every time the Topps Card Randomizer picks a card of a draft pick, or of a player who had not made his major league debut at the time his card comes out, that this humble little blog laments about how it stinks that Topps can't include Draft Pick cards into their regular sets.  I know it was mandated by the MLB Players Association that they restrict these kinds of cards unless they are included as insert cards.  Now I understand the Bowman brand is exempt from this rule because they still do "1st Bowman Cards" of players, which collectors "erroneously" consider a player's true rookie card (for disclosure, I follow the Beckett principle and do NOT consider those kinds of cards rookie cards).  But I can only imagine in this era of the Hobby that if Topps did include insert cards of Draft Picks into their regular sets that prospectors would go nuts and then consider THOSE cards Rookie Cards, whether they are designed like the eponymous set or not.  The rationale would be, "Well, it has Topps on the the description, that should justify everything).  That is also probably why a Major League Debut set will probably never come to fruition.  Jim Scharrer was one of those kids (I really can't say kid...he graduated high school one year AFTER I did) who produced gaudy numbers in high school.  Normally, Topps can't get complete records of high school stats.  But in Scharrer's case, they did.  In four years (assuming he made the varsity team in his freshman year), Scharrer appeared in 76 games, hit a robust .493 average (including .551 and .522 during his junior and senior seasons respectively), hit 16 home runs, and drove in 88 rbi's (that would be more 1.157 rbi's per game), stole 30 bases, and had a slugging percentage of .806.  Yes, they're high school numbers, and he definitely had raw talent.  Topps makes note that he had a lot of options after high school.  He decided to take the money and go with the Braves.  In his five seasons in the Braves' minor league system, he never rose above A ball, spending two years in the Carolina League.  In his best minor league season, as a Macon Brave in the South Atlantic League, Scharrer hit 20 home runs and drove in 57 rbi's, while hitting a .245 average (an OPS of .738).  He was released by the Braves after the 1999 season and signed a minor leauge contract with Anaheim.  One season, and his first sniff of AA ball later, his career in the minors was over.  But do not weep for Jim Scharrer.  His dream of the majors may not have been fulfilled, but he has done rather well for himself.  A chance return to his old high school and introduction to the offensive line coach of Duke University led to a scholarship that allowed him to go to the school and play football.  He spent three years as a linebacer for the Blue Devils, even named to the Freshman All-American Fourth Team by Sporting News.  More importantly though, he graduated with a degree.  He is now a negotiator for the US Navy involving complicated shipbuilding contracts (on LinkedIn, his official title is Contracting Officer at Naval Sea Systems Command).  In 2009, he was inducted into the Metropolitan Erie Chapter Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame.  
  • Beckett value: $0.08-$0.25.
  • How many cards of this player do I own?: 2 cards.
Tomorrow's card will be 1993 Topps #251. Post will arrive at 1:00 PM CST. Hope you will be too.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Random Topps Card of the Day: 2010 Topps #603 Gerardo Parra

Thanks to the Topps Card Randomizer, introducing the Random Topps Card of the Day for Tuesday, January 22, 2013:


  • Official Card Set Name and Card Number: 2010 Topps #603.
  • Player Name, position, team: Gerardo Parra, outfielder, Arizona Diamondbacks.
  • Major League Debut: May 13, 2009.
  • Last Line of Statistics: 2009 stats (Diamondbacks): 120 G, 455 AB, 59 R, 132 H, 21 2B, 8 3B, 5 HR, 60 RBI, 5 SB, 25 BB, 89 SO, .404 SLG, .728 OPS, .290 AVG.
  • Any special information about player: Signed with the Diamondbacks as a Free Agent 08/30/2004. Bats: left. Throws: left.
  • Number of regular Topps Cards (includes regular and traded cards only): 4. This is his second Topps card.
  • Blurb on the back: "Even as a rookie in 2009, Gerardo played with veteran-like grit.  He raked .367 with runners on base (including .341 when there were also two outs) and .323 from the seventh inning on."
  • Commentary: To celebrate the return of Topps being the sole licensee with both MLB Properties and the MLB Players Association, Topps made sure to put the team logos (something that the other card company could not do) in the forefront of their design in a really large way.  While he might not get the hype fellow outfielders Justin Upton and Chris Young, but Gerardo Parra definitely holds his own at the plate and on the field.  Gerardo Parra finished eighth in the NL Rookie of the Year voting in 2009.  His offensive numbers (which you can see in the last line of statistics) speak for themselves.  But it was his ability to play all three positions in the outfield and do well defensively wherever he played that kept him in the lineup throughout his four years in the majors.  In 2010, he once again played all three outfield spots for the D-Backs, and while he did not get as many plate appearances as he did the year before, which explains why his number were much lower in 2010:  .261 with 3 home runs and 30 rbi's, defensively, he was stellar (4 errors in 233 chances for a .983 average).  In fact, his defense finally got the recognition it deserved when he was awarded the Gold Glove in 2011. With Chris Young now with the Athletics, and trade rumors still circling around Upton, Parra is now in line to be the Diamondbacks' primary center fielder heading into the 2013 season.     
  • Lo-Hi Beckett value: $0.15-$0.40.
  • How many cards of this player do I own?: 9.
Tomorrow's card will be: 1996 Topps #21. Post will arrive at 1:00 PM CST. Post will arrive at 1:00 PM CST. We're looking back at a card from 1988 here on the blog tomorrow.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Monday, January 21, 2013

Random Topps Card of the Day: 1982 Topps #513 Rick Rhoden

Thanks to the Topps Card Randomizer, introducing the Random Topps Card of the Day for Monday, January 21, 2013:


  • Official Card Set Name and Card Number: 1982 Topps #513.
  • Player Name, position, team: Rick Rhoden, pitcher, Pittsburgh Pirates.
  • Major League Debut: July 5, 1974.
  • Last Line of Statistics: 1981 stats (Pirates): 21 G, 136 IP, 9-4, 66 R, 59 ER, 76 SO, 53 BB, 21 GS, 4 CG, 2 SHO, 0 SV, 3.90 ERA.
  • Any special information about player: Drafted by the Dodgers, #1st, June 1971. Traded by the Dodgers to the Pirates 04/09/1979. Bats: right. Throws: right.
  • Number of regular Topps Cards (includes regular and traded cards only): 17. This is his eighth Topps card.
  • Blurb on the back: n/a.
  • Commentary: I'm glad that Topps has finally figured out that if they use the appropriate team colors and incorporate them into the design for each team that not only would it make sense, but it would be aesthetically pleasing to look at.  Could you imagine Pirates fans in 1982 opening packs of their cards and finding a card of Rick Rhoden, wearing a jacket over his black and gold uniform, with orange and purple borders??!  Yikes.  In 1982, Rhoden went 11-14 in his decisions, a 4.14 ERA, 128 strikeouts and a WHIP of 1.342.  A very good hitting pitcher, he went 22 for 83 (for a good .265 average) and hit three home runs and drove in 12 rbi's.  In fact, Rhoden won the Silver Slugger award for three consecutive years (1984-86).  In those years, he had a .270 average with one home run and 20 rbi's in 113 games and 271 plate appearances.  His OBP/SLG/OPS percentages were .288/.355/.643.  Greg Maddux once said that a pitcher hitting .200 or better is just like a batter hitting .300 or better.  So it is safe to believe that Rhoden was no slouch at the plate.  By the time he left Pittsburgh for the bright lights of New York, Rhoden finished with a 79-73 record with 39 complete games, 9 of them shutouts.  He struck out 852 batters against 440 walks, for a WHIP of 1.313.  In his final year with the Pirates, he was named to his second All-Star Team.  When he finished his career in baseball, he began his second career as a professional golfer.  He qualified for the US Senior Open and is a dominant player on the Celebrity Players Tour.  He has won the American Century Celebrity Gold Classic eight times with 18 top ten finishes as of the end of the 2012.    
  • Beckett value: $0.05-$0.15.
  • How many cards of this player do I own?: 21 cards.
Tomorrow's card will be: 2010 Topps #603. Post will arrive at 1:00 PM CST. Flash back with the blog tomorrow.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Random Topps Card of the Day: 1958 Topps #315 Bob Friend

It's Retro Sunday!!! Thanks to the Topps Card Randomizer, introducing the Random Topps Card of the Day for Sunday, January 20, 2013:


  • Official Card Set Name and Card Number: 1958 Topps #315.
  • Player Name, position, team: Bob Friend, pitcher, Pittsburgh Pirates.
  • Major League Debut: April 28, 1951.
  • Last Line of Statistics: 1957 stats (Pirates): 40 Games, 277 IP, 14-18, .438 Pct, 273 Hits, 121 runs, 104 ER, 143 SO, 68 Walks, 3.38 ERA.
  • Any special information about player: Signed with the Pirates as a Free Agent before the 1949 season. Bats: right. Throws: right.
  • Number of regular Topps Cards (includes regular and traded cards only): 12. This is his fourth Topps card.
  • Blurb on the back: "The ace of the Pirates pitching staff, Bob is one of the most widely sought players in the league. He came up to Pittsburgh after only one year in the minors, spent at Waco and Indianapolis, where he combined 14 wins."
  • Commentary: There is something about that red background that really makes the black and gold of Bob Friend's Pirate cap and jersey really stand out.  And he looks like he lives up to his last name to his teammates and off the field.  But against opposing batters, he was anything but a friend.  The true definition of a workhorse pitcher, up-to-this-point in his career, Friend led the league in ERA (2.83 in 1955), games started (42 and 38 in '56 and '57 respectively), innings pitched (314.1 and 277 in '56 and '57 respectively), and batters faced (1315 and 1148 in '56 and '57...you get the idea).  He was an All-Star (in 1956) and an MVP candidate (in 1955 and 1956).  So what does he do in 1958?  Have the best year of his career...that's what.  Friend finished the year with a spectacular 22-14 record, led the league in games started (38), completed 16 of them, had an ERA of 3.68, struck out 135 batters, went to his second All-Star Game, finish third in the Cy Young balloting, and sixth in the MVP race.  After a sub-par year in 1959, he rebounded the next season with an 18-12 record and his third and final trip to the All-Star Game.  The Pirates won the World Series in 1960, but Friend could not crack the tough Yankees lineup, going 0-2 with an ERA of 13.50 (9 earned runs in 6 innings of work).  In 15 seasons with Pittsburgh, Friend had a cumulative record of 191-218, an ERA of 3.55, 161 complete games, 35 shutouts, 1682 strikeouts, and had a WHIP of 1.292.  He was traded to the Yankees after the 1965 season, and although his time with the Bronx Bombers was brief, his stay in New York lasted throughout the season as his contract was bought by the Mets in the middle of June.  He was released by the Mets upon the end of the season, his final in the majors.  He is presently the only player to lose more than 200 decisions while winning less than 200 of them (finished with a 197-230 record).  It didn't help that during his tenure with the Pirates that the Bucs finished in last place five times.  His cards have surfaced in Topps' Heritage Buyback program since 2008, and he's had autographed cards appear in products like 2003 Topps All-Time Fan Favorites and 2011 Topps Lineage.  Friend and his family still reside in Pittsburgh.  He served as the Allegheny County controller for eight years, worked his way up to vice president at an insurance brokerage firm.  
  • Lo-Hi Beckett value: $5.00-$10.00.
  • How many cards of this player do I own?: 2.
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: 1982 Topps #513. 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, January 19, 2013

Random Topps Card of the Day: 1980 Topps #579 Charlie Moore

Thanks to the Topps Card Randomizer, introducing the Random Topps Card of the Day for Saturday, January 19, 2013:


  • Official Card Set Name and Card Number: 1980 Topps #579.
  • Player Name, position, team: Charlie Moore, catcher, Milwaukee Brewers.
  • Major League Debut: September 8, 1973.
  • Last Line of Statistics: 1979 stats (Brewers): 111 G, 337 AB, 45 R, 101 H, 16 2B, 2 3B, 5 HR, 38 RBI, .300 AVG.
  • Any special information about player: Drafted by the Brewers #5th, June 1971. Bats: right. Throws: right.
  • Number of regular Topps Cards (includes regular and traded cards only): 15. This is his seventh Topps card.
  • Blurb on the back: "Had .367 Batting Average for the Brewers during May of 1978. Was credited with 11 Runs Batted In during month of June, 1978. He hits well with men on base."
  • Commentary: Charlie Moore had been around the team for so long that in the 1986 Topps set, they named him "Dean of the Brewers."  He was the fourth youngest player in the MLB in 1973 (20 years, 84 days old on the day he debuted). During the 1980 season, Charlie hit  good .291 with 2 home runs and 30 rbi's and a.699 OPS.  A good-hitting catcher, he fit in rather nicely on a team whose lineup consisting of names like Yount, Molitor, Cooper, Oglivie, and Gantner.  On October 1, he hit for the cycle in a game against the California Angels.  Defensively, he committed 4 errors in 351 chances (a great .989 fielding percentage) that year.  In 1982, the year the Brew Crew went to the World Series, Moore was one of the team's best hitters, going 9 for 26 (three of them were doubles) with two runs driven in.  In 15 seasons with Milwaukee, he appeared in 1,334 games, hit .261 with 36 home runs and 408 driven in.  He signed with the Blue Jays in the middle of the 1987 season, his last in the majors.  
  • Lo-Hi Beckett value: $0.10-$0.25.
  • How many cards of this player do I own?: 14.
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 #315. Come back at 1:00 PM CST to see who (or what) it is.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Friday, January 18, 2013

Hey Cub Fans!!! Topps Has Card Giveaways in 2013!!!

For the first time since 2004, Topps and the Chicago Cubs are reuniting to giveaway cards during select home games.  According to Topps' Twitter account, an 82-card set of what looks like exclusive Topps Archives cards that will be given out over 4 home games in 2013.

Here is a scan of the cards (in sheet form):


Looks like there will be a variety of years (I see 1996, 1990, 1987, 1984, 1982, 1979, 1972, 1971, 1965, 1964, 1963, and 1962) here.

According to the Cubs' website, the first 10,000 fans in attendance will get these sets.  The dates:
  • Friday, May 3, 2013 vs. Cincinnati Reds
  • Friday, July 5, 2013 vs. Pittsburgh Pirates
  • Friday, August 2, 2013 vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
  • Friday, August 30, 2013 vs. Philadelphia Phillies
As much as I'd prefer to have the reprint card program return (similar to the giveaways from 2001-2004), this is a nice alternative.  At 82 cards, it's going to be a fun set to go after.  No word yet as to how the cards will be distributed.  

Now I'm off to see if the other 29 teams are going to have similar giveaways.  Or at least that Topps will be involved in somehow.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

P.S.:  Tim, sorry, I get my 66's and 65's mixed up sometimes.  It is now fixed.

Random Topps Card of the Day: 1999 Topps #386 Jose Cruz, Jr.

Thanks to the Topps Card Randomizer, introducing the Random Topps Card of the Day for Friday, January 18, 2013:


  • Official Card Set Name and Card Number: 1999 Topps #386.
  • Player Name, position, team: Jose Cruz, Jr., outfielder, Toronto Blue Jays.
  • Major League Debut: May 31, 1997.
  • Last Line of Statistics: 1998 stats (Syracuse, AAA-International): 40 G, 174 AB, 29 R, 42 H, 14 2B, 1 3B, 7 HR, 23 RBI, 8 SB, .560 SLG, 32 BB, 32 SO, .298 AVG.
  • Any special information about player: Drafted by the Mariners #1st, June 1995. Traded by the Mariners to the Blue Jays 07/31/1997. Bats: both. Throws: right.
  • Number of regular Topps Cards (includes regular and traded cards only): 11. This is his second Topps card.
  • Blurb on the back: "Batting .214 with 3 HRs on June 13, 1998, Jose recovered to hit .285 with 8 HRs after a minor league stint."
  • Commentary: While the 1999 Topps design utilized gold colored borders and design elements, I am so glad that they limited the gold foil to the name of the player and the Topps logo.  The large pictures really makes the action shots pop, thus making the 1999 set one of my favorites.  Because Jose was sent to the minors, the last line of stats were from his 40 games at Syracuse.  In the majors, his stats were:  105 G, 352 AB, 55 R, 89 H, 14 2B, 3 3B, 11 HR, 42 RBI, 11 SB, .403 SLG, 57 BB, 99 SO, .253 AVG.  The son of longtime Astros' shortstop Jose Cruz, Jose, Jr. did eventually proved he belonged as a bonafide major leaguer.  In 1999, the Blue Jays' centerfielder hit a decent .241 with 14 home runs and 45 rbi's.  In six seasons in Toronto, he hit 122 home runs and 355 rbi's to go with OBP/SLG/OPS percentages of .331/.462/.793.  He signed with the Giants in 2003 and won Gold Glove for his play in rightfield (2 errors in 360 chances, 7 double plays, 18 assists).  His journeyman career began in 2004 with stints with the Devil Rays, then followed an injury-riddled 2005 with the Diamondbacks, Red Sox (for four games in 2005), and Dodgers.  In 2007, he joined the Padres, after being designated for assignment by LA.  After 91 games, however, the team released him.  One final run with the Astros in 1998 in which he hit .122 in 38 games resulted in him DFA'd.  He hasn't played in the majors since.  He has since worked as an analyst for MLB.com.
  • Lo-Hi Beckett value: $0.07-$0.20.
  • How many cards of this player do I own?: 21.
Tomorrow's card will be: 1980 Topps #579. Post will arrive at 1:00 PM CST. Flash back with the blog tomorrow.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Random Topps Card of the Day: 2008 Topps #300 Chien-Ming Wang

Thanks to the Topps Card Randomizer, introducing the Random Topps Card of the Day for Thursday, January 17, 2013:


  • Official Card Set Name and Card Number: 2008 Topps #300.
  • Player Name, position, team: Chien-Ming Wang, pitcher, New York Yankees.
  • Major League Debut: April 30, 2005.
  • Last Line of Statistics: 2007 stats (Yankees): 30 G, 199.1 IP, 19-7, 84 R, 82 H, 104 S0, 59 BB, 30 GS, 1 CG, 0 SHO, 0 SV, 1.29 WHIP, 3.70 ERA.
  • Any special information about player: Signed with the Yankees as a Free Agent 05/05/2000. Bats: right. Throws: right.
  • Number of regular Topps Cards (includes regular and traded cards only): 8. This is his fifth Topps card.
  • Blurb on the back: "Wang is remarkable," Joe Torre says of the sinkerballing '06-07 MLB wins leader (38).  "He's sort of like a knuckleball pitcher   You know what's coming and there's really nothing you can do about it."
  • Commentary: Although the design of the 2008 Topps set has given it the moniker "The Circus Set," you have to admit that after the all-black bordered set the year before, the colorful circles that hold the team name was a welcome sight for those who collect by team.  The design was so good that even eponymous football and basketball cards Topps made that year utilized the same design element.  The only thing I didn't really like about the design was the fact that the Topps logo is in a dip, taking away space from the picture.  I guess that makes it unique.  Chien-Ming Wang is one of 8 MLB players who were born in Taiwan.  While not the first Taiwanese-born player to play in the majors (that would have been Chin-Feng Chen, Wang was the most successful pitcher to come out of the country.  By the time this card came out, Wang was on his way to being one of the best pitchers in baseball.  Between 2006-2007, the man went 38-13, with an ERA of 3.67, 180 strikeouts, and a WHIP of 1.301.  He even took second in the 2006 Cy Young voting and was an MVP candidate.  He was well on his way in 2008, starting the season 5-0.  It was a couple of injury that occurred in Wang's right foot during an interleague game (as he was running the bases no less) that derailed the rest of his season.  He finished the year with an 8-2 record, an ERA of 4.07, and struck out 54 batters.  The injuries seemed to cause him to alter his pitching delivery, which caused him to struggle.  Taken off the rotation in 2009, he was shut down for the year on July 30, missing out on participating in the Yankee's World Series run.  He signed on with the Washington Nationals in 2010, spending most of his season in the minors rehabbing.  He finally debuted with the team in 2011, but injuries have limited his playing time since. He is presently a free agent coming into the 2013 season, and he was recently named to the Taiwan (Chinese Taipei) team that will compete in the World Baseball Classic.
  • Beckett value: $0.30-$0.75.
  • How many cards of this player do I own?: 57 cards.
Tomorrow's card will be: 1999 Topps #386. Post will arrive at 1:00 PM CST. Until tomorrow everybody.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama