Thursday, July 31, 2008

2008 National Sports Card Convention Review

The Big Show is down the street from my house...literally. I'm so glad I took the week off so I could make the effort to go to the National being held in Rosemont, Illinois. The plan this week is to go today (I just left the show) and Saturday. Today is the, "let's go see what everyone has to offer day." Saturday will be, "Spend everything you have day!!!"

Lots of stuff on sale, lots of booths selling everything from early tobacco cards to the latest product causing mass hysteria, Topps Allen & Ginter. Junk packs? There are at least three booths selling it. Insert sets and singles from 2007 backwards? At least four to five booths.

Tons of sellers with "vintage" meaning 1950's to 1970's cards and earlier.

All the big brands were there...Topps (or more like it, eTopps was there), so was UD, and Donruss had this nice huge area too. In The Game, and Press Pass were there too. Probably the biggest buzz was to be found in the Razor booth. I'm sure that the two men there answered the same questions over and over by collectors as to what they were going to do with their recently signed draft picks and when to expect a set. They were even giving out these Razor Tim Beckham promotion cards that Stale Gum was talking about today. You fill out a survey, you get a free Beckham card. Now, I'm no prospector, but I'm not about to say no to a free card. So needless to say, gasp, I have a non Topps card in my possession. And I'm sure the Bay will be happy to get rid of it for me rather quickly.

It was disappointing that the Topps company didn't have a prescence at the National, it was a decent consolation that their eTopps brand was there promoting their site. Their deal was that if you sign up as a new eTopps customer, you can get free stuff. Sadly, I signed up back in 2000, but I've never taken advantage of the program. All the same, they considered me an old member, so I didn't qualify for the free stuff.

Today was also the day that Bartman was supposed to show up, pick up that $25,000 bounty, and sign his name on a picture of that infamous foul ball. As expected, he didn't show up. But the people running the spectacle sure made it interesting.

I'm not really into autographs, but while I was there, they had the '85 Bears in the autograph booths. William Perry (I didn't know he was in a wheelchair), Dennis McKinnon, and Dan Hampton were among the athletes at the booths when I passed by.

The Dmitri Young PSA Gem Mint 10 rookie card collection took up three displays at the PSA booth. Needless to say, he has quite the collection. Even has the only PSA Gem Mint 10 1969 Topps Reggie Jackson RC.

The crowd was all right I guess for a Thursday. Not too many people compared to the Saturday show that I went to a few years back. I think that the weekend will bring heavier crowds to the show for sure. I can't wait to go back. Until then.


JayBee Anama

Updating the 2008 Topps Updates and Highlights Checklist

Today is the trading deadline for MLB (which means teams can trade at will without having to go through waivers first). Lots of big names were sent packing:

  • Ken Griffey Jr traded from the Reds to the White Sox for Nick Masset and Danny Richar
  • Ivan Rodriguez traded from the Tigers to the Yankees for Kyle Farnsworth (wonder who got the better of this deal???)
  • Mark Texiera traded from the Braves to the Angels for Casey Kotchman
  • Arthur Rhodes traded from the Mariners to the Marlins for Gaby Hernandez (gee I wonder why...)
  • Manny Ramirez, Jason Bay, and Andy Laroche all involved in a Red Sox/Pirates/Dodgers three way where the LA gets Manny, Bay goes to Boston, and Laroche, along with Brandon Moss, Craig Hansen, and minor leaguer Bryan Morris goes to Pittsburgh.

There were a lot of TBD's on the initial Topps U & H checklist. There are at least 160 veteran spots to be filled. I think we can lock up at least fifteen spots with the trades since Monday.

August should be fun.


JayBee Anama

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Topps Helping Kids Get Ready to Back to School???

So we know Topps has this program where a student (should be elementary/junior high age) goes to a card shop, shows off his or her report card, and the store owner gives a reward based on the grades the kid earned.

Now Topps is going one step further in our children's education.

I don't recall seeing these in my children's back to school supply list...but hey, anything for the kids!

In conjunction with the Fairfield Company, Topps has created these little packages that includes four packs of Topps Baseball cards (in this case, two packs each of series 1 and series 2) for parents to buy for their kids who, if you have school age children, are now facing three to four weeks of freedom before they head back to school. These cards were found at the local Target, with all the school supplies. These also came in Hanna Montana, Camp Rock, and High School Musical packages (and no, I didn't buy those...) as well. Each four pack of the baseball cards cards come with two exclusive Topps cards that can only be found in these packages. There are apparently 10 cards in this set (looking underneath, I could see the cards are numbered TB3, TB8). I found five of them:

TB3-Grady Sizemore
TB4-Ken Griffey, Jr
TB5-David Wright (with Mr. Met)
TB6-Ichiro Suzuki (with the Mariners Moose)
TB8-Chipper Jones

I am now going to go to other Targets to see if they have the other five cards in this set. And so help me, I get the eerie feeling that WalMart might be in on this too.

So the search continues.


JayBee Anama

A 3 Pack Break of Allen & Ginter

After reading blog after blog singing the praises of this year's edition of Allen & Ginter, I decided that even though I already paid for a full set that I'd buy a few packs, just to see what all the hubbub is about. Needless to say, I was not disappointed by the cards that I got after opening the packs.

Now, instead of typing out the cards that I did receive, I figured that it would be easier to just scan all the cards from each of the three packs at once, and then make my comments afterwards.

Pack #1 had:

Not a bad pack. Got a Manny, an Alex Gordon Nebraska card, but the key to the pack...a card of the Pope!!! I should have read the checklist a little more closely, because I don't remember seeing Pope Benedict's name among the world leaders on the checklist. If I didn't get the Gloria Macapagal Arroyo card (President of the Philippines), this isn't a bad card to have instead.

Pack #2:

Nothing to write home about here...except for getting a Griffey card, along with the Soto mini.

Pack #3:

We have a winner!!! Got Joba? Check. Got "Rampage" Jackson? Check. A Joey Votto RC Logo card? Check. A relic card of someone good? Carl Crawford is good.

Decent pack breaks. The relic cards seem a lot easier to come by this year, so I'm glad I pulled at least one. Seeing these makes me look forward to getting the rest of the set.


JayBee Anama

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Congratulations to the Newest Members of Baseball's Hall of Fame

Congratulations to Rich Gossage and Dick Williams, two of the newest members of Baseball's Hall of Fame

Today, six men were formally inducted into Baseball's Hall of Fame. Among them were Bowie Kuhn, MLB's Commisioner from 1969 to 1984; Walter O'Malley, owner of the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers; Barney Dreyfuss, owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates; and Billy Southworth, manager for the St. Louis Cardinals and Boston Braves.

The last two men inducted today spent two seasons together in the warm sun of San Diego.

Rich "Goose" Gossage, after eight years of waiting, finally got the call that he was voted in by the BBWAA. Dick Williams, along with the four gentlemen listed above, were voted in by a revamped Veterans' Committee. In the two years that they were together, Dick Williams led the San Diego Padres to 175-149 record and a National League pennant in 1984. Gossage had 15 of those wins, along with 51 saves. and was an All-Star both years.

Both men found incredible success with other teams of course, Gossage with the Yankees in the late 70's and Williams as manager of the Oakland A's in the early part of the decade. And although both men are going in with different logos on their cap, today was a celebration of that two year period, when a manager and his star closer went into Cooperstown together as Hall of Famers. Somewhere on stage, as both men gave their induction speeches, Tony Gwynn was grinning from ear to ear, seeing his teammate and former skipper on stage.

It was truly a great day to be a San Diego Padres fan.


JayBee Anama

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Weekend Comments, or Why I Couldn't Sleep Until 4:00 AM CST

To answer dayf's comments about the Team Orange, sadly, I'm serious. That is the checklist for ten "fictional" ball players in a mini card insert set called "Team Orange." Figuring that one of the Ginter Code cards is titled "Team Orange," I thought that there would be a connection to it. You never know.

Anyway, while one of the reasons why I couldn't sleep last night was because I was up creating a six-layer rainbow Jello dessert I was making for my son's birthday party today, other reasons were the backlash on both sides regarding a donation button on the Baseball Card Blog. The fact that there have been numerous posts about it means that Ben truly has the most influential blog on our Hobby. The fact that it has even become a topic of discussion only shows how far of a reach the guy has and how much of an influence he has on bloggers who have been around since he started. And trust me, there is nothing wrong with it.

Rainbow Jello. This is six flavors in one huge gelatin mold. Takes 3 1/2 hours to make one of these babies.

One of the first people to comment on my blog said, "Remember if people are posting that they disagree with you, you're doing something right." If that is the case, then the guy who disagreed with Ben's reasoning must be doing something right, otherwise, he would not have inspired the posts that came afterwards. Understand that the guy is entitled to his opinions just as much as others are entitled to rebutting (with or without mercy). Without mentioning the exact blog that started the whole mess, thanks to the Sports Card Blogroll, I have counted at least four bloggers responding in kind, defending the reasons why there is nothing wrong with the practice, and in my opinion, just slamming the guy for voicing a differing opinion. I will admit I made a comment on his blog, and in a sense, I agreed.

I see no problem with Ben and his blog, and now that he is posting on a more frequent basis, will be more inclined to read what he has to say. If he wants to put a "donate to the blog", then that is his right. Heck, some blogs (the ones) have the option to put an adsense thing so that any ads clicked can give some extra income. That's all well and good. I even saw nothing wrong with putting a blog post just talking about having the button on there in the first place. It was when he put the reasons why we should donate to the blog that bothered me.

This is what I wrote in the comments to that particular article:

"...asking to donate is one thing, but to give reasons like "because I may have inspired you to get back into the hobby or start a blog" is a bit too arrogant in thinking."

In my case, I've always been in the hobby, and read a few posts of his and others only because using a search engine to look up stuff comes up with his and other blogs. I didn't really begin commenting on anyone's blog or e-mailing a blogger that I liked until I dove in to the blogosphere myself. I even admitted in my first post that I do not have Ben's literary skills, so being a blog clone was not the idea when I started. He could have used better reasons, or he could have just left it alone without reasoning whatsoever. To me, it was a tune off (meaning that I tuned out the rest of his message), and for that I diagreed with the reasons.

So for that I won't be donating to the blog, or anyone else's for that matter. Not that I would never want to, but I don't have PayPal to do it (nor do I want to sign up for it...story for another time). Now if he decided to do a pay-per-view blog, where we would have to either register or pay a fee every time we want to see what he has to say, that's when I'll draw the line. But until then, I am happy to see him being more active on his site, regardless of the reasons why. Could we now all please get along and go back to doing what we do best, talking about baseball cards???


JayBee Anama

Friday, July 25, 2008

Ready to Crack the Code???

Thanks to the Beckett Message Boards for putting all 20 cards together and their codes:

WGV1 Kerri Strug -

WGV2 Mark Spitz -

WVG3 Jonas Salk -

WGV4 Man Walks on the Moon -

WGV5 John Lester -

WGV6 The Fall of the Berlin Wall -

WGV7 David and Goliath -

WGV8 Gary Carter and the '86 Mets -

WGV9 The Battle of Gettysburg -

WGV10 Deep Blue -

WGV11 The Allied Forces -

WGV12 Don Larsen -

WGV13 Truman Defeats Dewey -

WGV14 The American Revolution -

WGV15 2004 ALCS -

WGV16 The Battle of Thermopylae -

WGV17 Brown v. The Board of Education -

WGV18 Team Orange -

WGV19 Bill Mazeroski -

WGV20 Cinderella -

Good Luck!!!


JayBee Anama

P.S. Will these help???

Team Orange

TO1-Cornelius Franks
TO2-"Mittens" McCluskey
TO3-Capt W. P. Mantooth
TO4-"Wheelbarrow" Walker
TO5-Archibald Clinker
TO6-Minty Beans
TO7-Francisco Fiasco
TO8-Thurgood Cartwright IV
TO9-Enzo DiStubbs
TO10-Sir "Wagonwheels" Stevens

Possibly...never know...


Thursday, July 24, 2008

2008 Topps Updates and Highlights Sell Sheets are Live!!!

Okay, so the guy at Fielder's Choice broke the news that 2008 Topps Stadium Club will be back. That's great news because Topps is bringing back the brand that focuses on photography, and when Stadium Club had nothing but great shots then, and I am hoping that they bring back that tradition in it's base cards as well now. You can read what he has to say here. That's great. So when is Topps going to bring back their Major League Debut set???

Back to the point. In searching for a sell sheet for the aformentioned Stadium Club, I found something more valuable to me, scans of the sell sheets for 2008 Topps Updates and Highlights!!!

Now in my first post about the U & H set, I guessed on the following within the 330 card set:
  • 160 veterans
  • 60 rookie card logo players
  • 5 managers
  • 62 all-stars
  • 8 home run derby participants
  • 10 combo cards
  • 10 season highlights
  • 15 playoff highlights

According to the sell sheet, we are looking at:

  • 197 veterans (Fukudome is card #1, Johan Santana is card #330 according to the checklist)
  • 45 rookie card logo players
  • 10 season highlights (got this right)
  • 60 all-stars (terrible idea, there were 64 guys on the rosters this year!!!)
  • 8 home run derby participants (got this right)
  • 10 combo cards (Classic Duos they're calling it, still got this right).

Of course, this is all subject to change, but I do think they should increase the number of cards in the All-Star subset because there were more than 60 guys who got in the game.

In the parallel cards category, there will be gold cards (numbered to 2008), there will be platinum cards (1 of 1), silk cards makes their second appearance (numbered to 50), black cards are back (numbered to 57), and printing plates (1 of 1, four colors).

The 2007 Year in Review insert set (60) concludes here. The Mickey Mantle story continues with 1957 Topps designs (10 cards), there is going to be a "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" insert cad honoring the 100th anniversary of the song. There will also be a 25 card insert set called WBC Preview, which will include 25 players who should be chosen to represent their countries in the 2009 World Baseball Classic (see, those Fukudome, Yabuta, and Ramirez cards meant something afterall). Each box is also going to include a Hobby Exclusive Sketch card. The information sheet says that each one is 1 of 1, but that would mean that only 100 boxes will be sold. Something doesn't sound right here. Rest assured that we'll also see the continuation of the Dick Perez cards (Walmart), T205 retroprint cards (Target), and Rookie Card Gold Variation cards (Kmart) inserted in blaster boxes.

To continue with the Campaign 2008 theme, we will be subjected to a 41 card insert set honoring and appropriately titled "First Couples" First Lady Cut Signatures make their debut here, the Stamp Collection returns, and what looks to be sequentially limited to 100 sets, a 2 card set called Topps 2008 Presidential Pick, presumably Barack Obama and John McCain will be in this set. This last set is going to be akin to the Home Run Derby cards as the sell sheet states that if you hold the card of the person who becomes president, you can mail it in to Topps for fun and prizes.

New and exclusive to the 2008 Topps Updates and Highlights is an insert program called Ring of Honor, featuring ten players who earned WS rings. They will all have autograph cards as well.

There is also a New York Mets Ring of Honor, featuring 10 players from the 1986 WS winning team.

Product comes out during the week of October 13, 2008. That's earlier than normal, which probably explains why there won't be any playoff highlight cards in this set.

To see the 6 page sell sheet in .pdf form, click here. If you can't see the file, here is a scan of all six pages:



JayBee Anama

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

2008 Allen & Ginter is Out!!!

As usual, I will probably buy a couple of packs or blasters when they show up at the department stores. I will make an attempt to buy a complete set (with a Fukudome card, un-numbered, but considered #351) at the National. UPDATE!!! I'll still go to the National, but I can scratch buying the set there because I found this for $93.00, and it comes with the 50 card state-flag set.

As for insert sets...I'll probably see if someone has complete sets for cheap (the US Flag ones, and the World Leaders specifically...note to self, must get more than one Glorioa Macapagal Arroyo card to give to parents). If there are vendors at the big show selling other complete sets for decent prices, then I'll get those too.

As mentioned in an earlier post, I want to win the "Crack the Code" contest. Already, dayf, the Cardboard Junkie, is attempting to at least even the playing field by posting codes found on the Bay. I'll probably find the rest at the show.

I think they said there were 20 cards total. I'm pretty sure that the code is the same for all 20 cards, so if one is cracked, the other 19 should be easy to figure out (darn, there are numbers too).

To all those participating and dreaming of having their mug on a 2009 Allen & Ginter card, good luck to you.


JayBee Anama

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A Book Report on The Card

I posted here last month that I found a book at the library that I had been wanting to read if I ever had the chance to find it. I finished reading the entire book a couple of weeks ago, and just went over a few chapters just to refresh my memory and so that I knew what I wanted to write about.

Let me say first that when it comes to the heavy Hobby matters, I can come across as quite naïve compared to those who've been in it for years. There are a lot of things that I enjoy reading and looking at, and I do keep things in a positive perspective. That said, ever since I saw my first Mastro Auction catalog, I wanted to learn more. The clear pictures of every card, from graded Topps cards, to older cards that I had never even heard of before, were beautiful. The descriptions for each lot were very well written. It was more like reading a history textbook than an auction catalog. I learned many things about the cards and other items that were put on auction that I have them on my bookshelf as a reference when looking up older cards.

Then I read this book: The Card: Collectors, Con Men, and the True Story of History's Most Desired Baseball Card by Michael O'Keefe and Teri Thompson. It is the story about our Hobby's number one card. It's the card that everyone has heard about, read about, seen pictures of, and to outsiders of the hobby, is the absolute representation of what sports card collecting is all about. A 1911 T206 Honus Wagner. It's the story about the prestige, the story, the rarity, and the history of this one card. Significantly, and specifically, the best conditioned example of the Wagner card. The one that Wayne Gretzky and Bruce McNall bought for a then incredible $451,000.00.

Because this book was sold and marketed to those who don't know much about the hobby, there are chapters that discuss in length topics outside of the card. The book talks about the man himself, Honus Wagner, from his playing days with the Pirates, to his later years as a resident in Carnegie, PA. There is a quick history lesson about the baseball cards, from the tobacco days in the late 19th century, to the gum cards in the 30's and everything in between. And then the modern era, from the Bowman vs. Topps war, to the present day, where many companies vie for the Hobby dollar. The story goes into great detail about some of the important collectors and dealers in the Hobby, from Jefferson Burdick to Frank Nagy to Mike Aronstein.

There is a chapter on PSA, the grading company that gave the Wagner card its Nr-Mt 8 rating. I didn't know that the Wagner card was the first card PSA graded as a company. Anyway, that chapter talks about how PSA got its start, the struggles for acceptance, their eventual success, their competition, and even questions surrounding the company and their practices.

There is even a quick chapter on the MLBPA, and union head Marvin Miller, and how he, "inadvertantly initiated the beginning of the end" of the innocent days of the hobby when he convinced the players that they had the right to get more for their images on a Topps baseball card.

It is after these chapters that the book finally gets into the heart of the story. From the card's mysterious beginnings and how Bill Mastro acquired it, to the Sotheby's auction where a bidding war ended with Gretzky and McNall winning the card, the tone of the story takes a dark turn, where many questions about the authenticity of the card are left unanswered. Was it trimmed? Is it real? Was it altered? There is a lot of mystery surrounding this one card.

The story continues after the card is sold by Gretzky to Treat Enterprises, who along with Wal-Mart, used it to "save the hobby." And to an extent, they succeeded as 30 million packs of cards were sold during the course of the sweepstakes.

There are profiles of every person who has sinced owned "The Card", From Patricia Gibbs, who won the Wal-Mart sweepstakes and subsequently sold again at a Christie's auction because of the taxes, to Michael Gidwitz, a former friend of Mastro. Then to Brian Seigel, who wanted to put the card on display at ballparks and conventions everywhere. He then sold it to an anonymous (meaning, even Seigel won't say) collector in a private transaction for a price between 2.2 and 2.4 million dollars.

All the while, the questions about the authenticity of the Wagner card continued to surface. Is the card trimmed? How was the card graded if it was trimmed? Did the people doing the grading know it was trimmed before grading it? So many questions. So many answers going both ways. It's enough to make even a collector's head spin.

The only reasons why I am not going into too many details about the book, are because:

  1. I am not going to say one way or another what I think about the controversy. Obviously, I've never seen the card, so I can not pass judgment. And there is so much evidence in the book for both sides of the arguement that what I feel about it is not only irrelevant to my book report but can be argued to death by those who know more than I do. My position about what I think of the card is clear, and my opinions about the people involved in one way or another I will keep to myself.
  2. I want people to go out and get the book. Read it for yourself, and decide for yourself what you think about the card. I know I have.

It is a great read. Cardboard Junkie's dayf commented after I announced that I was reading the book that "If you aren't cynical now, you sure will be..." He was right, to a point. I am not totally cynical, but let's just say that I'll be reading my Mastro catalogs a lot differently now after reading this book.


JayBee Anama

Monday, July 21, 2008

Beckett and It's Relevancy to the Hobby...In My World!!!

It has to be a slow news day in the hobby world. Thanks to the Sports Card Blogroll, I am able to read many really good blogs written by many really good writers. Today's big hullabaloo seems to be about the problems with a certain Hobby magazine who says that their brand is the number 1 publication in the Hobby. And by all accounts, Beckett Media can lay claim to the title (I mean, have you seen the competition???), and for good reason. They've been around for a long time, and have been reporting prices in a guide of such fashion since the late 70's.

Before the internet age, Beckett's "guide" was pretty much the absolute end-all when it came to pricing singles and sets. There was always the header at the beginning that stated that Beckett gathers its information from sales from stores throughout the country. They even factored in the idea that in certain regions, prices for cards were higher in one market for a player or team's card than it would be somewhere across the country. The prices listed were there, but the disclaimer at the end was that the prices listed in the guide are just to be used AS A GUIDE!!! The value of a card is always what someone is willing to pay for it at that certain time. If a store sold by Beckett's pricing, and a customer bought it, then that's the price paid. In many of the stores I visited, they would list the "Beckett" price, and then their real price. Beckett was THAT influential in the minds of those who ran shops and sold at shows when it came to pricing their cards for sale.

Now with the internet, many collectors have started to drift away from "Beckett" and now claim that eBay (or some other site) is the best way to determine pricing. I'm not going to argue that point. In today's market, and realistically, in today's society, we demand instant answers. We demand to know the answers right now, and don't want to wait until later to get what we need. If we don't like what we see, then we'll go somewhere else to get an opinion that is more favorable. And with many of the cards that are out there, with limited print runs, or those with something extra like an autograph or a piece of jersey, a printed guide can be deemed outdated as soon as it comes off the presses.

The prices realized on the Bay in many instances, do become the price that people are willing to spend for a card at a certain point in time. You can use the KO aftermath when 2006 Topps Alex Gordon cards were selling at "insane" prices. Two years later, after Keith stopped buying the cards, some sellers will still put up auctions for these cards at those "insane prices" and somehow, people are still willing to buy them at that price.

The big gripes, from what I have read, that some people have (and it's not just the bloggers) about the Beckett guides is that the company advertises stuff from the manufacturers themselves. Topps, and the other guys, spend a lot of money on advertising in Beckett (if you think that not buying the magazine is going to cause the staff there to lose sleep, are you ever wrong) for the latest products. And what used to be the practice of buying a random box of cards at a local store ended when the companies began sending them the boxes themselves. When those video box breaks came out, and somehow they opened boxes that had what was deemed by the collecting public as the best card in the entire product, it pretty much laid the foundation of conspiracy theories that have abound since. Now can this be considered a conflict of interest? Perhaps. But the company never claimed to be Consumer Reports, and I am pretty sure that they don't plan on changing to become it any time soon.

After reading all the gripes about the magazine that a couple of blogs put out, I ask myself, does this really matter to me? Should I be concerned? Should I join those who have complained out loud about how outdated Beckett is in it's pricing?

The answer to all of the no.

To me, the guide is just that...a guide. If someone wants to sell a card that I want to me at Beckett pricing, and I think it's a reasonable price, then I'll buy it. If not, then I'll ask for lower or move on. I do look up to see what the last prices were on a card or a set I want sold on eBay, so I can see whether or not the demand has gone down or to see if I can find it at a cheaper price. This is the way I went about getting most of my insert sets from the late 90's.

I'd be lying if I said that I am not overly obsessed with the value of my collection. I do think about it, but I don't lose sleep if my 1988 Topps set loses value from one day to the next. I don't plan on selling it any time soon. However, if ever the day comes that I decide to insure my collection, be sure that I'll be using the prices in the Big Beckett Book to determine a value on what I have.

I still buy the Beckett Baseball magazine, since my focus is 99.9% on baseball. I did buy the combined monthly magazine for the first few months, then decided that I really didn't need to read about football, basketball, hockey, or racing cards that I would never purchase. I just wanted the baseball stuff, and am going to stick to the bi-monthy magazine. Of course the pricing is going to be "outdated," but that's going to be on new products. I don't think the value of 1985 Topps commons is going to change any time soon. Besides, I don't do a lot of trading. But when I do, I trade for what I need for what I want. As mentioned in a previous post, I don't care if I have to send 100 cards to someone, if that person has at least one card that I need, I will send all I can to that person to help him or her with their collection. What the cards "book for" don't matter to me, as long as I get what I want, and that the other person's want list is reduced significantly.

I still do read the actual price guide for the pricing information, then until the new magazine comes out, I mainly focus on the articles in the front of the magazine. I still read the magazine for the articles. They have good stuff, and they do the job of promoting the hobby, and putting it in a positive light. As they should. And because of reader's demands to balance the good with the "bad" of the hobby, Beckett has, albeit slowly, done so with their critiques of some of the hobby wrongs (pack searching, card trimming, et. al).

To me, Beckett is still relevant to our Hobby. They still play a huge role in determining what the "value" is on cards. And I will still be buying the magazine (the Baseball only magazine) because of the information that they provide. Am I a bit more wary about their practices, yes. Does it affect me at all, not one bit. It's not like I have my eyes glued to every word they print, but the information they provide, when the articles are worth reading, are more valuable to me than any pricing they can put in the "guide."


JayBee Anama

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Last Cards Acquired Are the Ones I Remember the Most

Today, I just mailed a stack of more than a little under one hundred cards (didn't care to count) to a guy who traded three Target Exclusive insert cards. Lopsided, perhaps, but considering the number of cards in a blaster box, justifiable. And I needed to get rid of a ton of cards anyway and thought it was worth a shot. After checking off the numbers on his want list, and going through two large piles of 2008 Topps series 2 cards that were on the table, I was still one card short. That card was #596, Joba Chamberlein of the NY Yankees.

After going through two more piles, I finally found the card, added it to the pile and sent it in the mail. For the five minutes between going through pile number two on the table, and then running to go through two more piles just to find Joba, I had that feeling.

If you're a set collector, you've experienced this...

After opening pack after pack of a product, whether it be Topps or the other brands, when you don't get the satisfaction of completing a base set, it leaves both an empty feeling in your stomach, and a huge desire in your mind to find those missing cards as quickly as possible.

Now as much as I know many people are patient enough to scour through trade offers online, or at the local shop, I am not one of them. I have been known to literally run through department stores or card shops, and rummage through rack packs, hoping that the cards I need are on the top of the pack. And even after finding some, not all, SOME, I still make a mad dash to another store until I'm either tapped out of cash or run out of gas in the car.

There have been years in my life where the last card in a set haunt me. It has not happened so much in the last few years, only because I'd buy boxes and many times, I can complete a series within two boxes. Not so when I was in high school and relying on allowance to buy cards. One name still rings in my head, just as if I still had to find the darn card today: Jose Tolentino.

Now Jose only played in the MLB for one season, 1991, and only got into 44 games. Apparently, that was enough to earn Tolentino a card in the following year's 792 card set (again, 792 cards is a good number, leaves room for those third string catchers and mop up relievers that I keep harping about). Later, he wound up playing baseball with success in Japan, managed the Mexico baseball team in the WBC, and is now a Spanish Language announcer for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. He even was interviewed regarding a new book exploring the steroids issue.

It got to the point during the 1992 season where I'd be screaming to the baseball card gods, "how many Jose Tolentino cards did you make???!!! And why can't I find even ONE??!" I'd search pack after pack at the supermarket (when they sold loose packs on the shelves at the store instead of a clear display under lock and key). No, not THAT way, I mean somehow being able to read through the wrapper to see the name of the player on the front of the pack. When I was down to the last 16 or so 1992 Topps cards, I was able to get the cards I needed through this method. Sometimes after opening the pack, I'd find that the top card was the only one I needed, and if I was lucky, the card behind it as well. After finding fifteen of the sixteen cards through this method, and after running out of money on many occasions, I'd wait for the day to come again that I could run around looking for that last this case, it was Jose Tolentino of the Houston Astros, card #541.

I must have spent countless weekends searching for just this one card, many times coming up empty. I even bought the 1992 Topps Mini Set, just so I could see what the darn thing looked like. There was Tolentino, in his Houston Astros jersey, smiling in a headshot, as if he was mocking me, saying, "Nyah nyah na nyah nyah, you can't find me!!!" Going through pack after pack, I may have held onto a couple that had him, but because I was going by what was on top alone, I must have missed getting his card countless times. Even then, not too many card shops specialized in singles and commons, and I was to afraid drive further than about 10 miles from home because my sense of direction was terrible back then (okay, still is now, but back to the point). I did finally come upon a comic book store...THAT'S RIGHT, A COMIC BOOK STORE...that had a card shop all the way in the back of the store. They carried singles, and when the owner brought out that box of 1992 Topps commons, it was only a matter of time until...


"You're mine. All mine!!!" I'd shout. I paid that $0.10, and ran out of the store, handling the card as if cradling a baby. I couldn't wait to get home, open up that binder, and put him in his place. And you know what, I'd go through all this drama again next year...okay, not so much with 1993 Topps #400 Bo Jackson the following year, but with the 1995 Topps Traded #61T Orel Hershiser a few years later (I honestly don't think I even got THAT card until the fall of 1996).

When Topps overloaded their 2007 Topps series 2 packs with too many inserts and parallels, I wound up 32 cards short of completing the set after opening one jumbo box. The following weekend, I was able to find sixteen cards at a Target using the same method of reading through the packs as I did fifteen years prior. My kids thought I was nuts. But I had a method to the madness. I found sixteen cards this way that day. I even held a contest on the Topps Message Board asking people to guess which card I would get last. It was a fun contest, and I did get a kick out of doing it. Fortunately, I have not had to go through the extremes I did since.

So to packerfan1964, your cards are in the mail. Let me know when you get them. If it turns out that I am missing something, send me a line. Thank you for inspiring me to write this post.


JayBee Anama

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Answering A Comment From the Baseball Card Cyber Museum Blog.

As you know, I've been talking up The Baseball Card Cyber Museum website. When you go through the site, and look at the cards, you can display them by year, by team, by set, by player, and it's fantastic. My one wish is that they could set it up so that you could sort a set by number, or the cards by number. Imagine seeing all the players that were assigned card number #325 or #516, for example.

Joe McAnally, the creator of the site, and of the Museum's new blog, posted that readers could leave comments about enhancements, or requests on what improvements to make as long as "you take the time to explain the reason behind the enhancement request." Fair enough. I commented on his post here, asking, "Are you able to program it so that you can sort the cards by card number? It's great to see the cards in every set in alphabetical order, but I'd like to be able to sort them by numberical order."

His reply was, "I'm curious as to why you'd like viewing cards that way. Over the years, I've never understood the randomness that card companies use to number the cards in the first place. It seems quite helter-skelter and the fact that most people sort them that way when they put them into a card album (probably to be sure they are all there) - well that was the one thing I was trying to avoid with the online version. Any insights?"

His reply made me think. The question, "Why would I want the ability to have the cards sorted by number on the site?" turned into, "Why are my sets sorted by number?" I was about to leave a lengthy post about it. But then I thought, instead of leaving a huge comment within his post, I could just write my response here. So here goes...

Dear Mr. McAnally,

As you mentioned, most people have their cards sorted by card number when putting them in binders. For me, sorting by card number is the quickest way to tell not only if I have every card in the set, but the numbers give me a semblance of order that sorting cards by team order (where would you put that combo card with players from two to three different teams) or by alphabetical order (first name or last name, and again with the combo cards), does not provide.

Classic example. As you know, for the first 12 years of its existence as a product sold exclusively in hobby stores, the Topps Traded sets were numbered in alphabetical order by player's last name (Don Aase was card 1, Jim Abbott was card 2 in 1989, and so on). I always thought that this was done to distinguish the regular cards from the traded cards.

In 1993, Topps began assigning the numbers randomly, instead of by alphabetical order as they had in years prior. To offset this new found "dilemma," I thought that the best way to continue the "traded tradition" was to sort the cards in alphabetical order, just like the traded sets before it. I found it took much longer to sort the cards in alphabetical order than it was by number. I did this for about three years, as it was easy to do this with 132 card sets (165 for 1995), and then again with the 1999 and 2000 Topps Traded sets when Topps brought this product back into production.

In 2001, Topps Traded set had 265 in it, with those reprint cards in the middle. I then decided that there was no way I'd have time to sort these in alphabetical order, so I caved and sorted them numerically. Didn't take long at all. I eventually went back and re-sorted my 1993-2000 traded sets in numerical order too. And I'm glad I did because since 2005, the Updates and Highlights sets have 330 cards in it!!!

With Topps and their numbering, I have always noticed that those who were the "stars" of the game often had a "0" at the end of the number. If the player was a "superstar," then his card number would have two zeros (100, 200, 300, The "lesser" stars (if you could call them that) would be assigned a number that ended in "5." And all the rest would be assigned numbers in between, probably so that the "star" cards weren't bunched together in one part of the set. Makes sense. Spread out the stars so that you wouldn't have the best players in the beginning of the set, followed by guys most collectors could care less about at the end.

To me, the randomness of having the cards sorted by number makes it much more pleasant to look at my cards through books. When the cards had colorful designs, it was more fun to see the different color schemes of each team when seperated from each other than it was if I had them sorted out by team. In fact, it would strike a nerve in me whenever teammates were consecutively numbered within a set. I don't know why that is, but it does. It's the same feeling I get when anybody puts the prongs of two forks together (just thinking about it is making me shiver).

That's about as good an explanation as I can give as to why I have my cards sorted by number instead of by team or in alphabetical order by player. It may look like a lot of unorganized thoughts just thrown together...well, that's what they really are...but those are the things I was thinking about when coming up with a response. Hope it makes sense.

Whether you're able to accomodate my request or not, I really like the job you've done on the site. Let me know when you have 2008 Topps Series 2 scanned. And if you need it, I can send a scan of card #661 for you.


JayBee Anama

And the 2008 Topps Red Hot Rookie #7 Card Goes To...

Those holding those Red Hot Rookie Redemption cards better get them logged in to Topps quickly as it has just been announced that card #7 is of Chris Volstad of the Florida Marlins.

Since his Major League Debut on July 6 against the Rockies, the Marlins pitcher has a 2-0 record, with a paltry ERA of 0.84 in 10.2 innings pitched (as of July 17, 2008).

It is not an autographed card. Royals fans will want to add this card to their collections. So for those of you with Redemption card #7, START REDEEMING!!!

The updated checklist now includes:


JayBee Anama

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The All-Star Game is FINALLY Over...Right???

After four hours and fifty minutes of baseball, I finally threw out the garbage, and came down here to comment about the game.

It was nice to see that both rosters got every one into the game at one point or another, with the exception of Tim Lincecum, who became ill either the night before or the morning of and was hospitalized. Hope he's okay. And I'm pretty sure that both managers were relieved that the game didn't continue any longer, otherwise Rays fans everywhere would have more motivation to play the feud with the Red Sox later in the year.

The AL must have had this idea that Geovany Soto and Russell Martin can't throw guys out at second because they seemed to run at will against them all evening long. Every Texas Ranger (except Michael Young) recorded a stolen base against these two, along with two other guys.

Here are the players that impressed me the most tonight:

Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Dempster, and Carlos Marmol together faced 13 batters, struck out six of them (Dempster struck out the side in the 9th), allowed only one hit, no runs.

Rockies pitcher Aaron Cook. In three long, dramatic innings, he was able to overcome two Uggla errors, 3 walks (two intentional), and four hits and somehow got out of every inning without giving up the game winning run.

Pirates outfielder Nate McLouth has a cannon for an arm, or at least showed he had one with that throw all the way home to get Dioner Navarro out at the plate. Navarro isn't the fastest man on the planet, but still an awesome throw.

J. D. Drew may have won the MVP on the grounds of that two run homer in the seventh, but if it weren't for Evan Longoria's ground rule double in the eighth, they wouldn't have gone into extras in the first place.

Overall, it was a long, but exciting game. The NL may have lost...AGAIN...but it was well played by both teams.

And now that the All Star Game hysteria is over, we will now return to your regularly scheduled baseball card blog.

Good night.


JayBee Anama

Monday, July 14, 2008

So if Kosuke Fukudome Will Be Included as a Bonus Rookie...

who is he replacing in the set that was to include?:
  • Jayson Nix
  • Brian Barton
  • Callix Crabbe
  • Nick Blackburn
  • Jeff Niemann
  • Gregor Blanco
  • Matt Tolbert
  • Randor Bierd
  • John Bowker
  • Evan Longoria

The above ten names were listed in the sales flyer as the ten rookie exclusives variation cards only to be found in hobby factory sets of 2008 Topps. But Longoria didn't even have a base card in the regular set? And quite frankly, neither does Fukudome. Any ideas?

I guess Topps finally signed Kosuke to a deal because now they are able to add him to their products as he is now going to be in the 2008 Allen & Ginter set as a last minute short print, and in other products later in the year.


JayBee Anama

And Now, Your Starting Lineups...

As announced today:

For the National League:

1. Hanley Ramirez, FLA, ss
2. Chase Utley, PHI, 2b
3. Lance Berkman, HOU, 1b
4. Albert Pujols, STL, dh
5. Chipper Jones, ATL, 3b
6. Matt Holliday, COL, rf
7. Ryan Braun, MIL, lf
8. Kosuke Fukudome, CHC, cf
9. Geovany Soto, CHC, c

And the American League:

1. Ichiro Suzuki, SEA, rf
2. Derek Jeter, NYY, ss
3. Josh Hamilton, TEX, cf
4. Alex Rodriguez, NYY, 3b
5. Manny Ramirez, BOS, lf
6. Milton Bradley, TEX, dh
7. Kevin Youkilis, BOS, 1b
8. Joe Mauer, MIN, c
9. Dustin Pedroia, BOS, 2b

The starting pitchers for the 79th ASG are Ben Sheets of the Brewers and Cliff Lee of the Indians.

Home Run Derby is tonight. Good luck to the following eight players participating:

Lance Berkman, HOU
Ryan Braun, MIL
Dan Uggla, FLA
Chase Utley, PHI
Josh Hamilton, TEX
Evan Longoria, TB
Justin Morneau, MIN
Grady Sizemore, CLE


JayBee Anama

Sunday, July 13, 2008

One More Update on the Quest for the Series II Six...VICTORY!!!


2008 Topps #661 Johan Santana RARE No-Hitter Card MINT for $174.50

The quest for the infamous Series II Six is OVER!!! The check will be in the mail first thing tomorrow morning. There is one person I'd like to thank for being able to win this card:

Craig Parker from Texas. Craig, as mentioned on the Topps board, I am sorry about what I said in that now horrible post. I do appreciate your understanding and am glad that you were able to get the cards when you did before. You know what, I hope whenever this card comes up again, that you win them all and keep them away from that merkle923 guy.

I am happy to share my adventures in bidding and winning the six cards through this blog with the collecting world. At least with these posts I have an outlet for my jubilation and my frustration during the course of this quest. When I get the card, I will present for the first time on any site, a picture of the Series II Six together. It will be a historic day the likes of which may never be seen again...until the Updates and Highlights set comes in November anyway.


JayBee Anama

And Another Update to the ASG Rosters

Kerry Wood stated that he was not going to pitch because he had a blister that he would prefer to heal for the second half of the season. He said he can pitch with it, but would rather relax for six days. While he still is going to take in the festivities, I didn't think that Hurdle would name a replacement. Well, he did.

Carlos Marmol, who had a phenomenal April and May, but lately has imploded in a number of games, has been named his replacement. That means that there will be 8 Cubs players, along with manager Lou Pinella, on the NL roster (including injured starter Alfonso Soriano, and now Wood).

He is neither a starter nor a closer, but when he is on, he is untouchable. While his current stats look bad, and his recent outings have been disastrous (case in point, that five run meltdown in Tampa, a three run blast in San Francisco, and then another five run implosion against the same Giants here in Chicago), he apparently got enough votes FROM THE PLAYERS that if something happened to one or two pitchers, he was next in line to be called up to the All-Star team.

So take Wood out, and put Marmol in. Carlos Marmol is not in the regular set, but he does have a card in the 14 card Chicago Cubs team sets that were sold at WalMart, Target,and the like. So I am officially going to say that he has no card in the base set (add yet ANOTHER player to the Updates and Highlights checklist), making him the seventh All-Star on either team without a base card.


JayBee Anama

Friday, July 11, 2008

Update to the ASG Roster...

Earlier I had posted that Clint Hurdle would wait until after the Final Man vote to pick a replacement for Alfonso Soriano. It was announced today that 3B David Wright of the New York Mets will be going to the ASG as that replacement.

For those who are keeping track, David Wright's Topps Card number is 340.


JayBee Anama

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Longoria and Hart win the Final Man Vote!!!

The fans have voted, and even though there was lots of campaigning in the blogosphere, Evan Longoria of the Tampa Bay Rays and Corey Hart of the Milwaukee Brewers are going to the All-Star Game!!!

More than nine million votes were cast for Longoria, who now joins two of his Rays mates, and eight million plus were for Hart, who also joins two of his fellow Brewers at the ASG.

With Alfonso Soriano out, Matt Holliday will start in his place. And with the final man voting over, MGR Clint Hurdle can add another person to the team.

If you want to get your 2008 Topps cards ready to use so you can tell who has already been in the game ( don't do this???), here are the card numbers for each player:

Starting with the NL:

Lance Berkman, 395
Chase Utley, 460
Chipper Jones, 500
Hanley Ramirez, 425
Ryan Braun, 430
Matt Holliday, 400
Kosuke Fukudome, no card
Geovany Soto, 478

Aaron Cook, 34
Ryan Dempster, 43
Dan Haren, 245 (as an Athletic).
Brad Lidge, 496
Tim Lincecum, 165
Ben Sheets, 160
Edison Volquez, 408
Billy Wagner, 65
Brandon Webb, 140
Brian Wilson, 397
Kerry Wood, 658
Carlos Zambrano, 155

Adrian Gonzalez, 475
Cristian Guzman, 17
Corey Hart, 42
Ryan Ludwick, no card
Russell Martin, 190
Brian McCann, 294
Nate McLouth, 522
Albert Pujols, 490
Aramis Ramirez, 560
Miguel Tejada, 40
Dan Uggla, 70

For the AL:

Kevin Youkilis, 104
Dustin Pedroia, 229
Alex Rodriguez, 1
Derek Jeter, 455
Ichiro Suzuki, 320
Manny Ramirez, 26
Josh Hamilton, 439
Joe Mauer, 33
Milton Bradley, 499

Justin Duchscherer, no card
Roy Halladay, 230
Scott Kazmir, 5
Cliff Lee, 317
Joe Nathan, 109
Jonathan Papelbon, 250
Mariano Rivera, 590
Francisco Rodriguez, 535
Ervin Santana, 241
Joe Saunders, no card
George Sherrill, no card
Joakim Soria, 489

Joe Crede, 649
J. D. Drew, 552
Carlos Guillen, 427
Ian Kinsler, 314
Evan Longoria, no card
Justin Morneau, 110
Dioner Navarro, 418
Carlos Quentin, 384
Grady Sizemore, 330
Jason Varitek, 122
Michael Young, 635

Have fun.


JayBee Anama

The Geek in Me is Happy Today...

Earlier in the week, I created a post about the The Baseball Card Cyber Museum. At the end of the post, I said:

I am selfishly hoping that the people running the site will give me a lifetime pass just for talking them up, but I doubt that will happen.

Well this morning, I received an e-mail from Joe McAnally of the Baseball Card Museum stating that I now have a Lifetime Pass!!! In his words, "I'd be happy to do it for any card bloggers out there who talk up the site and do a nice overview, power user guide, review or whatnot - and who obviously demonstrate a love of cards."

Thank you Mr. McAnally for this wonderful gift. I truly appreciate it.


JayBee Anama

Greatest Auction Ever...Every Topps Baseball Set from 1951-2008...OVER!!!

Friend of the humble blog Big Daddy just informed me that the Huggins and Scott auction for every that had EVERY TOPPS BASEBALL CARD FROM 1951 - 2008 in one huge lot ended last night. Here are the results (for those who don't want to click on the link):

Opening Bid: $2,500.00

Bid Count: 31

Closing Price: $32,500.00

With a 15% buyers premium ($4,875.00), the winning bidder is paying $37,375.00 for 58 complete Topps sets.

Based on the condition of some of the older cards, I'm not surprised that the sell price didn't go through the roof, (I was thinking that the auction would end in the mid 50,000's), but I didn't expect it to end that low. The winning bidder got himself (or herself) a bargain for an auction of that many cards.

I highly doubt that they are going to announce the name of the bidder who won. I'd love a shot at interviewing the winner just to find out what he or she will be doing with the cards, and is this person planning on upgrading the poorer conditioned cards?

Congratulations to the winning bidder. Enjoy the cards.


JayBee Anama

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Cards That Makes You Go...What??! of the Week: 2007 Topps #492 (Barrett/Buck) & #636 (Rabelo/Butler)

So which card is the real #492? Which player has #636? Why was there little to no warning?

I've been campaigning for a while now that Topps should increase the number of cards they put in they eponymous baseball sets. Here is another case as to why.

Our What??! of the Week returns to 2007 (again...this couldn't wait). For some reason Topps included cards of Gary Sheffield, Michael Barrett, and Mike Rabelo in packs of both series I and II:
  • Gary Sheffield had both card #'s 133 and 470
  • Michael Barrett had both card #'s 68 and 492
  • Mike Rabelo had both card #'s 294 and 636

It was bad enough that Topps left off three other players in series II because they mistakenly put these three guys back into it. So what does Topps do to correct this blunder??? Sneak the corrections into every Factory Set, and not tell anyone!!!

While they never did change the Sheffield card (he had two base cards in the factory set), they replaced Barrett on card #492 with Royals catcher John Buck, and instead of Rabelo appearing #636 in every factory set, Royals rookie Billy Butler made his RC logo debut. Confused yet???

They're only Royals players. Who's going to know that Topps corrected their little blunders from the packs into their factory sets??!

Can you imagine those people who built their complete set by hand by opening pack after pack, until they got all 661 cards, only to see factory sets at the store or shop, look at the checklist that is printed on the outside of the box, and notice that there are two names that they know they don't have the cards of in their set? The only way to get the Buck and Butler cards (along with a Jeter card without Bush and Mantle) was to buy a factory set? What??? And Topps never said anything about it? What???

Because almost every hobby shop does not break factory sets, even Beckett doesn't list a price for them. There isn't even a 492a & 492b in their big price guide (nor is there a 636a & 636b for that matter). Is that because the replacement cards happened to be Kansas City Royals players and Topps again thought nobody would notice??? You'd think this would get about as much publicity as the Jacoby Ellsbury U&H card #100 SP? But because there are so many factory sets produced, and because these cards are of Royals players, nobody thought it would matter if it was never announced. Personally, I'm surprised nobody else complained about this mess up the same way they did when the Ellsbury card came out, or even when the Infamous Series II Six cards started appearing on the Bay.

So if you open your factory sets, make sure that you add both variations to your boxes and binders. And as for Topps, please tell me...

What were you thinking??!


JayBee Anama

Department of Accuracy Knocking...

I try. I really do try. It's not that hard to proofread and edit before hitting that Publish Post button. I can even make corrections afterwards. But this is inexcusable.

The name of the player representing the Pittsburgh Pirates is Nate MCLOUTH, not McClouth (no double C).

In a recent post, I stated that if Evan Longoria is chosen as the Final man, he would be the only guy that does not have a card in the current set, following in the footsteps of Dmitri Young last year and John Hudek in 1994. While, yes, Longoria doesn't have a Topps card in the 2008 flagship set, neither do these guys:
  • Justin Duchscherer, Oakland Athletics
  • Joe Saunders, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
  • George Sherrill, Baltimore Orioles
  • Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay Rays (Final Man)
  • Kosuke Fukudome, Chicago Cubs (no, the WBC card does not count)
  • Ryan Ludwick, St. Louis Cardinals

This may be a record for All-Stars without a base Topps card going into the All-Star break. This is why Topps should bring back those large 792 card sets. Because you never know, any of those guys who you would throw in the commons bin could be the All-Star MVP!!!

Well, you can add four more guys to the Updates and Highlights set.


JayBee Anama

My Final Man Votes.

Okay, so Stale Gum has been campaigning for Pat Burrell. Fielder's Choice has been pulling for Evan Longoria. And the guy at White Sox Cards obviously wants to see Jermaine Dye on the field.

Well, they are all good choices, and whoever wins, they are all worthy candidates, and still have a chance to go to the game (if those already chosen get hurt between now and Sunday...knock on wood). However, for my ballot, I chose David Wright, and Jose Guillen.

Why them???

Because I had them on my predicted All-Star Game rosters.

Right now, Corey Hart and Longoria are winning the race. And that's fine. But I don't have a Longoria Topps card (yet), and the only Fukudome card I have is the Japan WBC card. Either way, I'm not going to have all the cards for the all-star game.

1994 Topps Traded John Hudek #45T and 1007 Topps U & H Dmitri Young #UH95. Two All-Stars that had to wait until the end of the year to be included in a Topps set.

If Longoria gets voted in, it would be the second year in a row that a player on either team does not have a base card in either Topps series I or II. He would follow Dmitri Young last year, and John Hudek in 1994. Who's John Hudek??? He was a rookie relief pitcher for the Houston Astros in 1994, who became their closer that year. Up until the ASG, he compiled an 0-1 record, an ERA of 1.97, and fifteen saves. It is because of his low ERA and the fifteen saves that he was one of five Astros chosen to go to the All-Star Game. He did not have a Topps card until the end of the season, saving his rookie card debut for the Topps Traded set.

He wound up playing in nine games after the break, saved one more game, lost another game, and watched his ERA balloon to a hefty 7.36 before being shut down before the end of August that year. He finished second in the NL Rookie of the Year voting (behind Raul Mondesi) that year. He would pitch for another five years, but could not fully regain the dominating form he showed in those first couple of months that earned him a spot on the All-Star team.

Again, regardless of who goes, all ten players in the voting have the numbers that show they deserve the vote. So vote until it hurts.


JayBee Anama

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Is It Too Early to Talk About Topps Updates & Highlights???

The July 31st Trading Deadline is soon upon us. Teams are not determining if they are going to be buyers or sellers this year. The short term goal is to win it all in October. The cost, which could affect each team in the long term, looks to be giving up on their best prospects for that 3 month fix.

But on to more important things, it's time to play...

Who's in the 2008 Topps Updates & Highlights Set???

Now the rules are:
  • 330 cards to fill the set
  • 60 are going to be players who qualify for that Rookie Card Logo
  • Reserve 5 for Manager Changes (we have three already)
  • 62 will be reserved (or better be reserved) for the All-Stars...(unless Topps makes the subtle mistake of making room for sixty, leaving out two guys like they did last year)
  • Reserve 8 for the home run derby participants
  • 10 for combos
  • Reserve 15 for playoff and WS highlights (one for each divisional series, 2 for the league championship series, 1 game per World Series game...minimum of four here).
  • Reserve 10 for season highlights (no hitters, milestone home runs,
  • That should leave us with at least 160 cards of veterans who were traded or signed with another team during the season (130 if they bring back the team leaders subset again).

Count on RC logo cards for players like Jay Bruce, Kosuke Fukudome, Mike Aviles, Justin Masterson, John Bowker, and Chris Davis (the announced Red Hot Rookies), along with DeWayne Wise, Evan Longoria, Alexei Ramirez, and Yasuhiko Yabuta (the last two, who along with Fukudome, are part of the infamous WBC insert set) to be included. That's 10 of 60.

We know that Jim Riggleman (Mariners), Jerry Manuel (Mets), and Cito Gaston (Blue Jays) will be in, so that's three cards down.

We know who's going to the ASG this year (62), and count on Dan Uggla, Chase Utley, Josh Hamilton, Grady Sizemore, Lance Berkman, and Vladimir Guerrero for the Home Run Derby (68 cards out of 70).

You have a no hitter (Jon Lester), a 600 HR milestone (Ken Griffey), and a 500 HR milestone (Manny Ramirez), that's three.

So far, the list above should account for 84 cards out of 330.

As mentioned earlier, teams are now preparing for trading season. This week alone, we've seen two huge trades, both of which have pitchers as the centerpiece of each transaction, and both boosting the chances of winning the NL Central title for two teams. On Monday, C. C. Sabathia was traded to the Brewers in exchange of Beckett Hobby God Matt Laporta, and three other minor leaguers, to the Indians. Today (Tuesday, July 8), it was announced that the Cubs traded Eric Patterson, Matt Murton, Sean Gallagher, and a minor league catcher, to the Athletics for pitchers Rich Harden and Chad Gaudin. These two transactions alone should add six cards to the veterans list.

Last month, the Royals and Dodgers traded players, with the Royals sending SS and former AL Rookie of the Year Angel Berroa to the Dodgers for Juan Rivera. Trot Nixon was acquired by the Mets from the Diamondbacks for future considerations. That's another three players.

Frank Thomas returned to the Athletics. Both Reed Johnson and Jim Edmonds signed with the Cubs. That's three more. So based on these, we have 12 cards (out of a possible 160).

All total, we've come up with 96 cards for the traded set, or a little more than 29% of what should make up the 330 card set. I'm not that savvy on who's gone where yet, so who do you think will be in this set???


JayBee Anama

Monday, July 7, 2008

A Sports Card Blogroll...Because I Love Reading What Others Have to Say...

I have created a second blog where its sole purpose is to act as a blog roll.

You see, since diving into the blogosphere, I have been reading many blogs, but to get to them (due to sheer laziness), I would hop on the Cardboard Junkie website and find the blogs that I'd want to read (after reading his, of course). I will still read what he has to say, as well as what most of the active bloggers have to say, by going onto the Sports Card Blogroll (that would be

I have come to the conclusion that each blogger likes to keep tabs on others. It's not a bad thing, and it's not like there is a competition to see who has the best blog, but it's always nice to read what others who share the same interests have to say.

Now I know there is already a Sports Cards Blog Directory, and that many active bloggers have a blogroll that links to their favorite blogs, but this blog will put the blogroll in the spotlight, instead of the sidelines. What I will do is try to categorize it by what kind of cards each blog mainly focuses on (baseball, football, basketball, hockey, general-meaning more than one sport, specific team blogs, or specific player blogs) and then include the name of the blog and their most recent topic. And it will be out in the open for all to see.

There is a catch to this. I want to keep as many active blogs on here as possible. There are a number of blogs on other blogrolls that are now either inactive or have not been used in more than six months. If a blog has not been used since the beginning of 2008, the site will be removed. If you notice that your blog is not listed, please feel free to drop me a line at, just tell me what you specialize in, and your blog will be added.

Realistically, I created this so I didn't have to go to visit other bloggers just to get to another person's blogs. But you are welcome to use this site as well.


JayBee Anama

Now I Have Seen Everything...2008 Topps Baby Cards

Thanks to for the story.

Topps, along with Team Baby Entertainment, who creates and distributes officially licensed sports themed DVD's, have joined forces to thrust upon the baseball card collecting world:

"Little Papi" David Ortiz. Even then, he knew he was destined for superstardom.

That's right, baby baseball cards. David Ortiz (above), David Wright, Johnny Damon, and Russell Martin lent their baby pictures to Topps to create these limited edition cards that will be included with Red Sox Baby (Ortiz), Mets Baby (Wright), Yankees Baby (Damon), and Dodgers Baby (Martin) DVD's (coming in August, the first three are available NOW). These are sold at the Toys R' Us and Babies R' Us.

While there have been Topps cards of players from their little league days, or boyhood days in the past, this is the first time a player's baby picture will be used on a licensed trading card.

Can't wait to see these on eBay!!!


JayBee Anama

The Baseball Card Cyber Museum

I don't plan on doing a lot of website promoting often on this humble little blog (aside from other sports card blogs, of course), but when I do find one that I think is worth bookmarking, I will do so. Here is one of them.

The Baseball Card Cyber Museum website ( was established in 2007 as an alternative to the huge Topps Baseball Card Books that were created in 1985 and revised in 1990. In those humongous books, you would see images of every Topps baseball card, but only the fronts of the cards, never the backs. The people behind this site not only have the fronts of every Topps baseball card scanned from 1960 onwards (they have 2008, but only series I so far), but the backs of every card as well. That's a lot of scanning.

Now, because of the number of images scanned, they use a ton of bandwidth, and there is an explanation as to how and why they are using the servers of a website called Guitar Nine Records. Because of this, they only allow 20 people at any given time to use the site, and the only way to enter the site and see all the cards is to register. And after doing that, once you are assigned your account name, you only have four days to peruse the site, with the option of renewing your "membership" upon expiration.

Once you have gained access to the site, you can either view the cards or play games (I highly recommend the Diamond Fantasy game where you create a team based on the cards that are drawn and the team with that is worth the most money wins). But the bread and butter of the site is definitely the viewing area.

You can view cards by player, by year, or by set. If viewing by year or by set, the cards are sorted in alphabetical order, and from what I have seen, there is no way to change the setting to sort by number. If you view cards by player, all you have to do is type the player's last name, and every card of that person that Topps created (from 1960 on) will appear. It's the fastest way to view every player's card, front and back, without having to search through boxes and binders.

For all the complications just to get into the "museum," it is well worth the effort. I am selfishly hoping that the people running the site will give me a lifetime pass just for talking them up, but I doubt that will happen. My pass expires on July 8. I hope to get it renewed quickly.


JayBee Anama

Sunday, July 6, 2008

The All-Star Rosters Have Been Announced...What Do You Think???

The MLB All-Star Game rosters have been announced. Here are the players who are going:

American League Starters

1B Kevin Youkilis, Red Sox
2B Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox
3B Alex Rodriguez, Yankees
SS Derek Jeter, Yankees
OF Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners
OF Manny Ramirez, Red Sox
OF Josh Hamilton, Rangers
C Joe Mauer, Twins
DH David Ortiz, Red Sox º

American League Pitchers

P-Justin Duchscherer, Athletics (selected by MGR)
P-Roy Halladay, Blue Jays
P-Scott Kazmir, Rays
P-Cliff Lee, Indians
P-Ervin Santana, Angels
P-Joe Saunders, Angels
RP-Joe Nathan, Twins (selected by MGR)
RP-Jonathan Papelbon, Red Sox
RP-Mariano Rivera, Yankees
RP-Francisco Rodriguez, Angels
RP-George Sherrill, Orioles (selected by MGR)
RP-Joakim Soria, Royals

American League Reserves

1B-Justin Morneau, Twins
2B-Ian Kinsler, Rangers
3B-Joe Crede, White Sox
SS-Michael Young, Rangers
SS-Carlos Guillen, Tigers (selected by MGR)
OF-J. D. Drew, Red Sox
OF-Carlos Quentin, White Sox
OF-Grady Sizemore, Indians
OF-Milton Bradley, Rangers (Ortiz's replacement for DH)
C-Jason Varitek, Red Sox
C-Dioner Navarro, Rays (selected by MGR)

American League Final Man Candidates

OF-Jermaine Dye, White Sox
1B-Jason Giambi, Yankees
SS-Jose Guillen, Royals
3B-Evan Longoria, Rays
2B-Brian Roberts, Orioles

National League Starters

1B-Lance Berkman, Astros
2B-Chase Utley, Phillies
3B-Chipper Jones, Braves
SS-Hanley Ramirez, Marlins
OF-Ryan Braun, Brewers
OF-Alfonso Soriano, Cubs
OF-Kosuke Fukudome, Cubs
C-Geovany Soto, Cubs

National League Pitchers

P-Aaron Cook, Rockies
P-Ryan Dempster, Cubs
P-Dan Haren, Diamondbacks (selected by MGR)
P-Tim Lincecum, Giants
P-Ben Sheets, Brewers
P-Edison Volquez, Reds
P-Brandon Webb, Diamondbacks
P-Carlos Zambrano, Cubs (selected by MGR)
RP-Brad Lidge, Phillies
RP-Billy Wagner, Mets (selected by MGR)
RP-Brian Wilson, Giants
RP-Kerry Wood, Cubs

National League Reserves

1B-Adrian Gonzalez, Padres
1B-Albert Pujols, Cardinals (selected by MGR)
2B-Dan Uggla, Marlins
3B-Aramis Ramirez, Cubs
SS-Miguel Tejada, Astros
SS-Cristian Guzman, Nationals (selected by MGR)
OF-Matt Holliday, Rockies
OF-Ryan Ludwick, Cardinals
OF-Nate McLouth, Pirates
C-Russell Martin, Dodgers
C-Brian McCann, Braves (selected by MGR)

National League Final Man Candidates

OF-Pat Burrell, Phillies
OF-Corey Hart, Brewers
OF-Carlos Lee, Astros
OF-Aaron Rowand, Giants
3B-David Wright, Mets

º Injured, will not participate
ºº Elected not to participate
ª Named as replacement

Let's hear the answers to these questions:

Who do you think should have been chosen that wasn't (not even for the Final Man ballot)?

Of the players selected, who shouldn't be going to the game?

Were the guys you wanted from your team chosen?

If not, then who should have represented your team?

Let the debates begin.

For me, it was a toss up for either McClouth or Nady to go for Pittsburgh. Surprised that both Zambrano AND Dempster are in, it should have been one or the other. Ditto for Saunders and Santana for the Angels. Shocked that Varitek was voted by the players. Not so disappointed with Navarro going, but I had Irod and AJ as the backup catchers.

Players I thought would make it by didn't (and still never know):

John Danks, CHW
Mike Mussina, NYY
Hideki Matsui, NYY
Mike Lowell, BOS
Magglio Ordonez, DET
Nick Markakis, BAL
Ivan Rodriguez, DET
A. J. Pierzynski, CHW
Ken Griffey Jr, CIN
Kyle Lohse, STL
Jose Valverde, HOU
Carlos Marmol, CHC
Xavier Nady, PIT

So out of 64 players, I got 51 correct, and that includes Wright and Guillen as the Final Man. In fact, I think I know who to vote for. Better get started.


JayBee Anama