Friday, August 30, 2013

August is Usually a Quiet Month...

Told you that history dictated that I don't post much in August.

But it's not because I have nothing to write about.

Okay, it's because I have nothing to write about. But now that I'm here, I guess it's time to ramble. Forgive me for jumping from topic to topic. What I am about to type is whatever is coming to mind. It'll get confusing, I'm sure. Just bear with me.

For those who wondered why the Random Cards of the Day stopped suddenly in June, it was because after months of being unemployed, I was able to get a temp job. It was fun for a while. I was actually earning a paycheck and able to pay bills while the kids were out of school. And because the job ran from 8 am to 5 pm, other than those times during my lunch hour that I was able to blog, I had no time to prepare the Card of the Day posts. And then days turned into weeks. And weeks turned into months. And soon, I was way behind.

The job ended in August, and even though that meant I could start up again, I am a completist and would have preferred to begin where I left off. I may get to that point eventually. But I don't know how much time I have for that.

I start a new job in September, day after Labor Day to be exact. I hope that the run with this company lasts longer than two months. It just means I have to focus a bit more so I can do the job and hopefully get a full-time position here (nothing is guaranteed though).

It's been almost a year since my job at DPI ended. I hope that somebody is planning a reunion so we can all get together and see how everyone is doing.

Until then...

So far in 2013, I have been fortunate to be able to complete the following master sets:

  • 2013 Topps Series 1
  • 2013 Topps Gypsy Queen
  • 2013 Topps Retail Team Sets...all 32 sets
  • 2013 Topps Pro Debut
  • 2013 Topps Series 2
  • 2013 Topps Archives
Along with completing the 2010 and 2011 Topps Original Back reprint sets, the only sets I have to look forward to getting are the Update Series and Allen & Ginter's. The A&G set will be coming soon as I was able to get a steal of a deal. All 350 cards in the base set plus all the basic inserts (170 cards) for under $90 with shipping. I don't know if it's because the allure of the product is gone (I have read that the set, while chock full of unique insert themes, does not hold the luster as the set from the previous year), but never have I been able to get a full set of A&G under $100, and those include the sets that did not have the inserts, just the basic 350 card sets. Needless to say, I am thrilled.

Even though I haven't been writing on this humble, little blog, I have been discovering many new blogs to add to the Sports Card Blogroll. The SCBR is up to 363 blogs right now, and in September, the purge of inactive (more than 6 months since the last post) will take place.

Speaking of September, it's time to start getting those lists of players together to predict the 2013 Topps All-Star Rookie Team. The annual contest (the only one that I really have run around here) will commence after the season ends. The big prize for those who are able to not only outguess me, but somehow manage to guess all the players on the team correctly could win a 2005 Topps Rookie Cup set. Details to come soon. 

With both the Cubs (and that other team that claims to play in Chicago) just stinking up the joint again in 2013, there really hasn't been much motivation to watch the games. Don't get me wrong, I'm still watching, but it just hasn't been a fun summer baseball wise. Maybe with the NFL starting up next week, plus the NBA and NHL getting ready to go, it will be a good fall/winter/spring in the Windy City.

The rambling continues.

Even when I'm not writing, I am reading the message boards, the twitter (you can still follow me @bdj610) feed, and keeping tabs on all the Hobby news that matters to me (which recently was the release of the 2014 Topps design earlier this month). I have fashioned myself as a student of the Hobby, so reading the articles and opinions that follow have been fun. 

I have to be honest though. I realize that there will be a time that the thrill of collecting will be gone. I have followed the game for four decades now (from 1987 to now) and it's only a matter of time that everyone in the majors will be younger than me (there are just a handful of players left that are older than 37 years old). Eventually, there will be players who were born after I graduated high school (1994) who will play in the majors. It will only be a matter of time before players born in 2000 will begin to infiltrate the professional game.

Even at the lowest point in the Hobby's history (mid 90's), I continued to collect. I know all things will come to an end. There will be a time that I stop collecting. I don't know when that time will be.

But I do know this.

I will continue to enjoy the Hobby of baseball card collecting to the fullest. I love the direction the Hobby is headed, and as long as the game is played, I will always be a fan.

Until then, I'm looking forward to Update Series and 2014 Topps. 

And whatever else comes along.


JayBee Anama

P.S. Have a wonderful Labor Day weekend. If you're looking for me, I'll be camping for the first time in 14 years. The tent is ready, the fishing gear is ready. Now I just have to learn how to use both. jba

Saturday, August 17, 2013

2014 Topps Series 1 Sell Sheets are Live!!!

Have we all calmed down from the high of seeing what we're all going to be looking forward to in 2014? After asking where The Wax Fantastic found these, I did a bit of searching and sure enough, Sports Collectors Daily had them too. As is the tradition on this humble, little blog, instead of just posting a link to them, below are the images for the 2014 Topps Series 1 Sell Sheets:

Gotta love the background images used for the sell sheets.


JayBee Anama

Friday, August 16, 2013

Your 2014 Topps Theme and Insert Lineup

For a number of years now, Topps has incorporated a "theme" when it comes to their flagship product. It is something that unifies a majority of the insert sets and gives fans something to think about when collecting that year's version of the cards. As the 2013 Topps set focused on "The Chase," the 2014 Topps set focuses on the sudden influx of young players that are making a lot of noise as the constant changing of the guard continues. The theme for 2014 is simply, "The Future is Now!!!"

Many of the players I grew up watching are seeing their careers begin to ride off into the sunset. The future has never been brighter with the ones that are taking the places of long established veterans. Change is a constant. It will always be there. The players change, the teams even change. We may never again see a player whose sole career was with one team ever again. But as the Jeters, Riveras, Heltons, Joneses, and Konerkos start their ride into the sunset and future immortality, Topps, along with everyone involved with baseball, are looking to the Trouts, Harpers, McCutchens, Puigs, and Strasburgs to pick up the slack and become the veterans and legends that will keep the game exciting.

Along with the future, Topps will be looking back at 50 years of future promises, hopes, and legends. Specifically, the MLB Draft. It will be 50 seasons since Rick Monday became the first player ever selected in the 1965 Free Agent Draft. One of the insert sets being issued by Topps in 2014 will focus on key players selected in the draft (and there will be many) in their 10-card, 50 Years of the Draft set.

Topps will also have insert cards featuring players "Before They Were Great," which according to the Number One Source in the Hobby is a 30-card insert set featuring active and retired players depicted both as a fresh-faced rookie, and what they looked like after a long successful career. This set will be a Hobby-only set, with a gold parallel limited to 99 cards. (Auto/Relic card shown below).

Another insert set will honor Topps' newest edition of their All-Time Topps All-Star Rookie Team. The ASRT program will be going on its 55th year (the program began in 1959) and the 2013 team will be the 55th such team named as All-Star Rookies. There are 18 players who were named to the team that have gone on to become Hall of Famers and Topps will once again select an All-Time Team (the third such endeavor since the 2001 Topps set albeit that team consisted of still active players). Thus far, based on the images from the article, three of the players on this team will include Johnny Bench as the catcher, Cal Ripken Jr. at shortstop, and Ken Griffey, Jr. as one of the three outfielders.

Concluding the rookies of the past part of the theme, there will also be a set of "framed rookie reprints" (Hobby only) and buybacks of the Topps 50 greatest rookie cards (as selected by Topps). Should be interesting as to who will be included in this set.

Now that the past has been covered, Topps will also have cards featuring the young players of the present and future.

First is the 30-card set called "The Future is Now" featuring ten players (each gets three cards) and their achievements thus far in their young careers. (Auto card shown below).

The next is Upper Class, a 50-card set featuring the best rookie classes in baseball's history.

The Hobby Shop Promotion Spring Fever set will return in 2014, and The Pennant Chase (wait...Chase??!) will feature all 30 teams. If the team you find wins the pennant, then you win a prize. It's that simple.

And finally, what will probably be my favorite insert set to collect in 2014, is this year's mini card set. In recent years, Topps has included retro cards as inserts from Turkey Red and Kimball's Champions, to mini versions of their 1987, 1972, and 1971 Topps designs. In 2014, there will be a bit of a twist. Not only will there be mini cards, but they will be die-cut as well, taking out the white border. What year's design will get the retro die-cut treatment? None other than my favorite design of All-Time...

The 1989 Topps design.


There will be autographs, relic cards, auto/relic cards for all of the above insert sets with the exception of the 50 Years of the Draft, but I don't collect them, so I'm not looking for them. Still, based on the images that have been released, plus the sell sheet from The Wax Fantastic (how in the heck did you find the sell sheet images for 2014 Topps when none of my usual sources has even put them online?) it looks like 2014 will be another great year for collectors of the eponymous product.

Now if we could just get the 2013 year out of the way...really...both Chi-town teams are just packing it in and it's been a long season...


JayBee Anama

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Ladies and Gentlemen, Introducing 2014 Topps Baseball

Recently, Topps put out fliers on 2014 Topps Tribute and just this week, 2014 Topps Heritage (the ones that look like 1965 Topps). It was only a matter of time before Topps would release to the masses what every collector will be going after in 2014...their eponymous Flagship set.

Today, Topps released these images to the world. Introducing, your 2014 Topps Baseball Card design:

Has a bit of a modern look, which I like. Has elements of 2002 Topps (ribbon on the bottom), and uses a large MLB approved logo as they have in recent years (hey, when you have the license...flaunt it). Maybe it's me, but maybe Topps should go back to utilizing colored borders.

But not with this design. While I like the design, maybe it would look better up close. Can anybody from the Topps Company be kind enough to send me a few sample cards???


JayBee Anama

Monday, August 5, 2013

Did You All Have Fun at the National???

Did you find those cards that have been burning a hole in your want lists?

Did you meet and mingle with the top names in the Hobby industry?

Did you gather with your online friends at parties after (or maybe even before) the convention?

Did you meet your favorite Hobby bloggers at the convention?

Was the convention a blast?

For me, the answer to the first four questions is no. And for the fifth, I couldn't tell you.

Because I didn't get to go.

Before you break out the tiny violins, it wasn't all that big a deal...even if the show was down the street from my house.

There was a weekend fair in a town here in the northern suburbs of Chicago that the family bakery got to go to and sell cupcakes, cookies, mini apple pies, and the like. Our kids and their cousins worked their tails off selling and grabbing things out of the cooler to keep up with the demand. Somebody had to watch the booth even with the kids pretty much running the show. That's where I come in. So instead of perusing the aisles upon aisles of card nirvana, and rubbing elbows with the Hobby Industry, I was perusing the aisles of food stands and carnival rides, serving pastries to the crowds.

In my downtime, I did keep up with Hobby events. I read twitter feeds from those who attended the show and kept tabs on the Hobby forums to see what people were able to find. I also was finally able to put away my 2013 Topps Series II cards into the big binder. Ditto for the Topps Pro Debut set from 2013. Tell me, do you think I should go after the SP card of the guy that won that "Be a Minor Leaguer for a Day" contest (Tim Kane, right?) I also have the 2013 Topps Archives set in a binder so until Allen and Ginter's comes out this week (why did Topps not push the "street date" to the week of the National??!), I'm up to date on my card collecting this year (now, if I could only finish the team sets from earlier this year, I'd be all set).

On an unrelated note, my daughter tells me that two Topps employees even stopped by the bakery on Thursday. She even told them that her dad was such a big collector that he even writes a humble, little blog about it.

So I leave with a little request to anybody from Topps who might actually reads this blog, remembers finding their way to Park Ridge, and stopped by a little bakery called Mrs. A's Cupcakes @ the Pickwick, please do me a favor: Come back in 2015 when the National comes back to the Windy City. Or heck, come on by anytime you are in town. Or order online. We can ship it out to you.

Okay, Mom. Free plug for the store is in.


JayBee Anama

P.S. If anybody has a Yasiel Puig card that they'd like to sell or trade for, I'm all ears. Send me an offer. Thanks jba