Tuesday, September 30, 2008

bdj610's End of Year MLB All-Star Teams...Every Team Needs a Representative

With the pitching staffs set in our last All-Star Team post, the next step is to make sure that every team gets at least one representative. I believe in the All-Star rule that every team, no matter how well or how poorly they did, has at least one person they could tag as an All-Star, based on his performance on the field. If it means that another person gets snubbed, that's sadly the way it goes. It does not matter how many spots there are on an All-Star team, someone always manages to be left out.

Now the pitching staffs from both sides locked in one representative from eight of the NL teams and seven of the AL teams, pretty much half the teams in either league. So that means in this post, I am going to name eight position players in the NL, and seven in the AL.

In the AL, the Red Sox, White Sox, Indians, Royals, Angels, Yankees, and Blue Jays have representatives. These seven players will ensure that the AL has all 14 teams represented:
  • OF Nick Markakis, Orioles (.306, 20 HR's, 87 RBI's)
  • 1B Miguel Cabrera, Tigers (.292, 37 HR's, 127 RBI's)
  • C Joe Mauer, Twins (.330, 9 HR's, 85 RBI's)
  • OF Jack Cust, Athletics (.231, 33 HR's, 77 RBI's)
  • 3B Evan Longoria, Rays (.272, 27 HR's, 85 RBI's)
  • OF Raul Ibañez, Mariners (.293, 23 HR's, 110 RBI's)
  • OF Josh Hamilton, Rangers (.304, 32 HR's, 130 RBI's)

On the National League side, the Diamondbacks, Cubs, Reds, Astros, Dodgers, Mets, Phillies, and Giants, have representatives. These eight players will ensure that the NL has all 16 teams represented:

  • 3B Chipper Jones, Braves (.364, 22 HR's, 75 RBI's)
  • OF Matt Holliday, Rockies (.321, 25 HR's, 88 RBI's)
  • SS Hanley Ramirez, Marlins (.301, 33 HR's, 67 RBI's)
  • OF Ryan Braun, Brewers (.285, 37 HR's, 106 RBI's)
  • OF Nate McLouth, Pirates (.276, 26 HR's, 94 RBI's)
  • OF Ryan Ludwick, Cardinals (.299, 37 HR's, 113 RBI's)
  • 1B Adrian Gonzalez, Padres (.279, 36 HR's, 119 RBI's)
  • SS Cristian Guzman, Nationals (.316, 9 HR's, 55 RBI's)

Because I have nine outfield spots on each side, I have noticed that many players who wind up being the only person on their team to make the list normally is an outfielder. Now before you start to say, "Where's this guy?" or, "Why didn't my guy make the team?" Please keep in mind that I'm not done filling out the team. These 15 guys are only here so that all 30 teams have a player. The best (trust me) is still yet to come.


JayBee Anama

Awards Season Begins!!! MLB Comeback Players of the Year: Lee and Lidge.

For someone to win any Comeback Player of the Year award, it would mean that the person who wins it had faced some sort of adversity the year before, and must somehow overcome whatever that was the following year, and show the world that they still can perform above and beyond everyone's expectations. Dmitri Young of the Nationals and Carlos Peña of the Devil Rays (yes they were the Devil Rays last year) were truly deserving of the award last year. This year's winners were appropriate choices as well.

Congratulations to Cliff Lee of the Cleveland Indians and Brad Lidge of the Philadelphia Phillies. Today, both men were named the AL and NL Comeback Players of the Year.

After a horrible 2007 season that saw him demoted to the minor leagues, Cliff Lee rebounded to produce one of the most dominating seasons in recent memory. With a record of 22-3, a sparkling ERA of 2.54, four complete games, two shutouts, 170 strikeouts, and a WHIP of 1.11, if he does not get the Cy Young this year, then nobody should.

In 2007, the Houston Astros thought that their dominating closer, Brad Lidge, finally lost his edge. After all, he was demoted from his closer role with the 'Stros at the beginning of the year, and was only given the role back after the team traded the guy who was closing their games away. So when the Astros traded for eventual NL saves leader Jose Valverde, the team had no problem saying goodbye to Lidge. Finding a new home in Philadelphia, Lidge regained his edge and proceeded to save 41 games for the Fighting Phil's. He may not have won the league lead in saves, but still, 41 saves normally equals a good year. What makes his 41 saves special is that he was given 41 opportunities to save games for the Phillies, and he did not blow a single one.

So once again, congrats to Cliff Lee and Brad Lidge, MLB's 2008 Comeback Players of the Year!!!


JayBee Anama

Monday, September 29, 2008

bdj610's End of Year MLB All-Star Teams...The Starting Pitchers

In my last post, not only did I announce the bullpens for each of my End of the Year All-Star Teams, I gave a (ahem) brief history of how these teams came to exist and why I make them.

Now please understand that I am by no means a baseball expert. I couldn't tell you who's the better pitcher between two players, or if this guy has more power than that guy. I can't defend the position as to what's better, a power hitter with a low average, or a contact hitter with a high average. The teams I conjured up is all in fun, and was a private thing for me that I started when I was younger. And now that I've "sniff" grown up, I feel confident enough to say, "Yes, I played with baseball cards when I was a kid. And yes, I had fun." One day, I hope to pass that fun along to my children, regardless of what they collect. I think they have the imagination concept down, but I want to help them express their thoughts with other mediums (in their writing assignments for example).

To recap, here is my American League relief corps:
  • Scot Shields, Angels
  • Jonathan Papelbon, Red Sox
  • Mariano Rivera, Yankees
  • Francisco Rodriguez, Angels
  • Joakim Soria, Royals

And the National Leauge bullpen:

  • Carlos Marmol, Cubs
  • Brad Lidge, Phillies
  • Jose Valverde, Astros
  • Brian Wilson, Giants
  • Kerry Wood, Cubs
So, who would they be relieving???

Starting with the American League six-man rotation, we have:
  • Cliff Lee, Indians (22-3. 2.54 ERA, 170 K's)
  • Roy Halladay, Blue Jays (20-11, 2.78 ERA, 206 K's, 9 CG's)
  • Daisuke Matsuzaka, Red Sox (18-3. 2.90 ERA, 154 K's)
  • Gavin Floyd, White Sox (17-8, 3.84 ERA, 145 K's)
  • Joe Saunders, Angels, (17-7, 3.41 ERA, 103 K's)
  • A. J. Burnett, Blue Jays (18-10, 4.07 ERA, 231 K's)

Honorable mentions go out to (meaning, if I had more space, I'd would have added) Jon Lester (16-6, 3.21, 152 K's), Mike Mussina (20-9, 3.37, 150 K's), Ervin Santana (16-7, 3.49, 214 K's), James Shields (14-8, 3.56, 160 K's), and Mark Buehrle (15-12, 3.79, 140 K's).

In the National League, my All-Star six man rotation includes:

  • Brandon Webb, Diamondbacks (22-7, 3.30 ERA, 183 K's)
  • Tim Lincecum, Giants (18-5, 2.62 ERA, 265 K's)
  • Ryan Dempster, Cubs (17-6, 2.96 ERA, 187 K's)
  • Edinson Volquez, Reds (17-6, 3.21 ERA, 206 K's)
  • Johan Santana, Mets (16-7, 2.53 ERA, 206 K's)
  • Chad Billingsley, Dodgers (16-10, 3.14 ERA, 201 K's)

Honorable mentions go out to Ted Lilly (17-9, 184 K's, but 4.09 ERA stands out), Roy Oswalt, (17-10, 3.54, 165, was a toss up between him and Billingsley), Dan Haren (16-8, 3.33, 206 K's), Carlos Zambrano, (14-6, 3.91, 130), and C. C. Sabathia (11-2, 1.65, 128 K's).

Now I know what you're thinking, C. C. should have been on the team, and yeah, he has a strong case. Had he pitched a full year in Milwaukee with the dominance that he showed there, no doubt. But because he pitched in the American League for half the season, and he showed mere mortal numbers at that, he is not on the team. If he was traded to the Brewers earlier in the season, instead of being a mid-season acquisition, he would have made the team. Now if he stays in the NL (or even if he goes back to the American League) for a full year, and performs the same way he did in the second half this year, then he's on the squad. Period.

There were very many good pitchers to choose from in 2008. It's really hard to whittle down to the best six in each league. The Sabathia situation makes things very complicated. And you could definitely replace one person with another on either side and there would still be a debate as to who's a better pitcher.

So the pitching staff is done. Next, we'll get to the position players. The first step is to ensure that every team has a representative, regardless of what position he plays. At this point, seven AL teams and eight teams from the NL need to have a player. I have a few people in mind. Who will they be? Tune in some time tomorrow and find out.


JayBee Anama

bdj610's End of Year MLB All-Star Teams...A Brief History

Ever since I started collecting baseball cards, I would create fantasy All-Star teams. It started in 1989 using the players found in the backs of the 1989 Topps Sticker cards. I didn't really know much about baseball then, so my All-Star teams consisted of the 66 players who were included in the set.

The 67 card set contained 33 American League players, 33 National League players, and one checklist. Each "team" consisted of three first basemen, three second basemen, three third basemen, three shortstops, nine outfielders (regardless of position), three catchers, three right handed starting pitchers, three left handed starting pitchers, and three closers (regardless of which arm they used). While all 14 AL teams were represented among the 33 players on the AL team, there were only 11 NL teams represented on the NL side. The one team missing was the Atlanta Braves.

To offset this slight (because even then I believed that every team had to have a representative) I went to the Atlanta Braves page (yes, the Topps stickers had an album), and picked a player whos sticker I could use to cover one of my extra cards. It had to be a full sticker, not one of those half stickers. I thought that the two players with the full stickers represented the stars of the team. So my choices were Dale Murphy or Gerald Perry. Because Murphy had the better power statistics (24 HR's and 77 RBI's compared to Perry's 8 and 74) in 1988, I picked him over Perry. So Dale Murphy's sticker was placed over an extra card and included in my "set."

But this gave me another problem. I now had 34 players on the NL side, and 33 players on the AL side. What was I to do? The same thing. Pick a player who had a full sticker and add him to the set. But who? Because I lived in Chicago, I thought it should have to be a White Sox player. So onto the page with the White Sox team. The two "stars" were Carlton Fisk and Harold Baines. Now because Fisk already had a card in the set, I placed the Baines sticker onto the back of another card. Now my "teams" were complete.

But what do I do with them? I know (my 12 year old imaginative mind thought)...I'll make up a game with the cards. I used the cards with the now 34-man rosters, and simulated an All-Star game. I even wrote down the starting lineups, and how the "reserves" would get in the game. Because there were nine pitchers to a side, each person would get to pitch an inning. Every player would at least be on the field for three innings (so there would be an entirely new lineup when the fourth and seventh innings came up). Even though the players and their statistics were from 1988, the cards were made in 1989, so I pretended it was the 1989 All-Star Game. It was, dare I say, an escape. And what 12 year old didn't want that escape, especially when there was nothing else to do around the apartment?

As I got older, and learned more and more about the game, I continued to create teams for this simulated game. And I would rely less and less on Topps to help field the team (since they stopped making the stickers in 1990). I'd pick the stars of the game, still making sure that every team was represented, and then pit them against each other in a fantasy game. Then, sadly, I grew up.

I still would create the teams, but never again did I have time to make up games with the cards. As the years went on, more than 700 players made it onto one of my teams. Of course many players (the Bonds, Griffey Jrs, Ripkens, Sosas) would have high enough numbers to make my teams, but it was always the one year wonders that fascinated me the most. During the off season, while there is a lull between card products, I will include a post with the rosters of each of these teams, just to show what my mindset was when I started drafting them (as well as show how ignorant I was at the time...ahem).

Back to the point. So here I am, ready to start drafting the players who will comprise my 2008 End of Year (or 2009 MLB) All-Star Teams. But, by now, if you have not yet either tuned me out or clicked on another person's blog, you must be wondering, how I determine who makes the team. To do that, I'll have to tell you how the teams evolved from a 34 man team in 1989 to the 36 man team you will see for 2008.

As in the beginning, each side (NL and AL) will have three players each for 1b, 2b, 3b, ss, and catcher. There will be nine outfielders, regardless of their position. There will be six starting pitchers, regardless of how they throw, and three closers. These 33 spots have never changed in the 20 years that I've made all of this up. Every team, regardless of how well or how poorly they did, get a representative. So, just like the regular All-Star rosters, someone is bound to be left off the team. (There was a saying I heard when it came to expanding roster sizes to the game, and that was it would never matter how many players you add to the all-star team, there are going to be deserving players who will always be left off).

In 1989, I had the luxury of adding the DH (Baines, and Murphy...hey, they had to get in the game somehow.). The All-Star game was in Anaheim that year, an AL city. In 1990, the game was at Wrigley Field. No need for a DH as this was an NL stadium. So instead of a DH, I added an extra closer to the 34-man roster. In 1991, the game was in Toronto, so the DH was back, but I kept the extra closer. So now each team had 35 players on them. And as the years went on, if the following year's All-Star Game was to be held in an AL city, I included the DH. If the game was to be held in an NL city, off came the DH (and back to the 34-man teams).

Starting in 2001, I started including one middle relief pitcher to each team, added one for every year that I didn't have to include a designated hitter. This kept each team at 35 players.

In 2005, I had a problem. First of all, MLB decided to have two NL teams host the Midsummer Classic in consecutive years. Because I was also following the All-Star Game schedule of determining rosters, I did not name a designated hitter for the 2006 teams. David Ortiz of the Red Sox had a terrific year, but because of my little no DH thing, and because, he did not log enough time at first to be included as a first baseman, he was left off the team. At the end of 2006, even though the following ASG was also going to be held in an NL city, I added the DH spot, kept the middle reliever spot, and when I named my 2007 team (with an AL park hosting the event), kept the DH. I have decided to name a DH to both teams from now on. That's how we get 36 guys per team.

So, how does that work for the NL. They don't have a DH. Are you going to even name one? Yes. I will pick a DH for the NL every year the same way I have done when I would when I didn't have this dilemma...pick the player with the highest average who did not make the team at any position. Hey, this is how Albert Pujols made it one year...

So now the season is over (the White Sox just hit a grand slam...unless their bullpen blows it...). I think I can safely start picking teams. Here goes.

I normally pick the closers and middle relief pitchers first. It's usually simple. Pick the top four guys with the most saves and they're automatically in. This year, not so easy.

Because the players in fourth place have the same number of saves, I'm going to have to go with some tie breakers here. ERA, strikeouts, runs allowed, will come into play, and we'll go down the line (W-L record, walks, etc) if it comes to that.

For the American League, these four closers are in:

  • Francisco Rodriguez, Angels (2-3, 2.24, 62 saves)
  • Joakim Soria, Royals (2-3, 1.60, 42 saves)
  • Jonathan Papelbon, Red Sox (5-4, 2.34, 41 saves)
  • Mariano Rivera, Yankees (6-5, 1.40, 39 saves)

Mariano Rivera beats out Joe Nathan, who also had 39 saves, because Rivera struck out three more guys than Nathan, blew only one save (compared to Nathan's six), and you can tell that Rivera was able to hold on to most leads given to him, giving the Yankees opportunities to come back and win games in the late innings. Now if the Twins have to play the White Sox (and it's looking like a clear possibility they will), the stats count, and if Nathan gets the save, then all bets are off, and I'm making the switch. Until that happens, Rivera is on the team.

The National League closers are:

  • Jose Valverde, Astros (6-3, 3.38, 44 saves)
  • Brad Lidge, Phillies (2-0, 1.95, 41 saves)
  • Brian Wilson, Giants (3-2, 4.62, 41 saves)
  • Kerry Wood, Cubs (5-4, 3.26, 34 saves)

Kerry Wood beats, barely, Francisco Cordero of the Reds because although both pitchers sported a 5-4 record and 34 saves, Wood has the edge in K's (84-78), ERA (3.26 to 3.33), and walked 20 less guys than "CoCo."

The AL Middle Reliever for the 2008 team will be Scot Shields of the Angels. The AL leader in holds with 31, Shields went 6-4 this year with a 2.70 ERA and 64 strikeouts (one per game, and more than one per inning pitched).

The NL Middle Reliever for the 2008 team will be the Cubs' Carlos Marmol. He is the NL leader in holds with 30 (actually shares that with Kyle McClellan of the Cardinals), sports a 2.38 ERA, saved seven games, and lead all relief pitchers with a dominating 114 strikeouts.

So right now, we've named the bullpens for each team. Who will fill out the rest of the rosters?

Wait and see.


JayBee Anama

Sunday, September 28, 2008

If This is His Topps Card, Then What Card is This?: Ichiro Suzuki

On this week's edition of "If This is His Topps Card, Then What Card is This?" we step away from the base cards for a moment and focus on insert cards. This week's subject is Seattle Mariners superstar Ichiro Suzuki (or Ichiro to the card companies).

Continuing on the success of it's "Rookie of the Week" promotion in 2006, Topps continued the program in 2007 with a set called "Flashback Fridays." The goal here was to get customers into the hobby shops and spend some money on packs or boxes of Topps product to get a card from this set. Depending on the shop (if they even followed the program), they were to include a free card from this set, one per week, if a customer bought a certain dollar amount worth of product. The first five cards (from a 25 card set) were included in a pack that could be bought for a nickel (or free, depending on the whim of the store owner). The rest were (ideally) to be distributed one per week.

Now the set itself paid homage to the little known (outside of hobby circles anyway) 1933 DeLong Gum set (R133 for those who follow the ACC). The original set consisted of 24 cards, and included a number of Hall of Fame players, including Rabbit Maranville, Lefty Grove, Jimmie Foxx, and, the most valuable card in the set, Lou Gehrig. It featured a black and white picture of the player superimposed over a cartoon stadium background, which made the players look like giants compared to the minutely drawn characters on the field (they were even larger than the stadium).

For fans of the Japanese superstar, week 11 of the program was the week to show up if they wanted the Ichiro card from this set. With the set called "Flashback Fridays", this card should have been given away on or around June 15, 2007 (rough estimate).

So, here is the card given away as part of the Flashback Friday promotion:

Like I said, compared to the players drawn on the field, even at 5'9", Ichiro is a giant on the field. Okay, that said, let's go on to card #2 shall we:

He looks a little smaller here (not by much, but still) compared to card number one. It's still Ichiro, this time at the end of his follow through and ready to dash towards first. But this card is not from the hobby shop promotion. It's not a variation card, and it definitely was not inserted into packs at the card shop.

So just like last week, it is up to you to figure out...

What Card is This?

I'll post the answer to this tomorrow night. Have fun trying to figure this one out.


JayBee Anama

UPDATE: Monday, September 29, 2008.

An anonymous poster, on his second guess, correctly answered that the second card was from the 2007 Topps WalMart set. The second card (#WM15) could only be found in blaster boxes of 2007 Topps Series I sold at WalMart.

Thanks for playing. We'll try it again next week.


Thursday, September 25, 2008

And the 2008 Topps Red Hot Rookie #'s 18, 19, and 20 Cards Go To...

Those holding the final three Red Hot Rookie Redemption cards better get them logged in to Topps quickly as it has just been announced that card #18 is of Taylor Teagarden of the Texas Rangers, #19 is of Collin Balester of the Washington Nationals, and #20 is of Lou Montanez of the Baltimore Orioles.

Teagarden, the Rangers catcher, made his Major League Debut on July 18 against the Twins, and sports a .349 batting average, 6 home runs, and 17 runs batted in.

Balester won the decision in his major league debut on July 1 against the Marlins, and currently sports a 3-6 record, with a 4.83 ERA and 49 strikeouts in 78.3 innings of work.

After bouncing around the Cubs farm system for seven years, the Orioles took a chance on Lou Montanez (Luis Montanez if you have some Topps cards from earlier in the decade). Montanez made his major league debut on April 28 against the White Sox, and since is sporting a .299 batting average with one home run and 3 runs batted in (all statistics are as of September 24, 2008).

None of the final three cards are autographed. For fans of the Rangers, Nationals, and Orioles, you will certainly want to add this cards to your collections. So for those of you with Redemption card #'s 18, 19, or 20, START REDEEMING!!!

The final checklist for the 2008 Topps Red Hot Rookie Redemption set:

So after a whole season of waiting, I, along with dayf at the Cardboard Junkie, will be getting a Rookie Card of a Nationals pitcher. I think I'm going to hold my first contest on the humble little blog. I just need to plan it accordingly. What could you win? Care to guess???


JayBee Anama

What Do You Mean The Rays Can't Find Somebody to Throw the First Pitch???

Congratulations to the Tampa Bay Rays. For the first time in your eleven season history, you are going to be a playoff team. Good luck to you in your run for the AL pennant.

Here is the thing that bugs me...

According to this Washington Post via the Chicago Tribune news report, Rays president Matt Silverman, upon being asked who would throw out the ceremonial first pitch before their first playoff game ever, said,

"We don't have anyone to throw out the ball for our first playoff game. MLB asked us who it'd be. We realized nobody in the history of the franchise had done anything to be worthy of the honor."

I'm sorry, WHAT??!

Okay, so the Rays (formerly Devil Rays) have not had much of what you could say, a winning tradition. I mean, when your team has lost more than a hundred games three times in its brief history, and have had a cumulative record of 645-972 before 2008, it's understandable. But to say that "nobody in the history of the franchise has done anything to be worthy of the honor," is insulting to the number of players who have worn the jersey of your franchise, even before the name change.

I mean, they've got a number of "worthy candidates" including:
  • Wade Boggs, who not only is a Tampa area native, but finished his career with the team and got his 3000th hit with the Rays (a home run to boot). The Rays even retired his uniform number 12. Oh, did I mention he's also a Hall of Famer???

  • Fred McGriff, also an area native, hit 99 home runs in his years in Tampa, and is among the team leaders in almost EVERY batting statistical category, and still is the leader a good number of them.

  • Roberto Hernandez, the closer for the first three years of DRay history. He recorded 101 saves for the team over his three years in Florida, which contributed to more than half of the Devil Rays victories in their first three years of existence.

  • Rolando Arrojo, the team's first All-Star. named to the team in 1998. He finished the first year with a 14-12 record and a 3.56 ERA, being the team leader in both wins and ERA.

  • Tony Saunders...okay, so he only lasted two seasons, but he was the first player chosen in the Expansion Draft!!!

  • Greg Blosser, the first player with MLB experience to sign with the team.

  • Mike Kelly, the first MLB player traded TO the Devil Rays (via Cincinnati).

  • Ryan Rupe, the first DRay draft pick (6th round, 1998) to debut with the Rays.

  • If you want to go even further back in time, find out what Paul Wilder is doing, he was the first DRays pick in the amateur draft in 1996. Or get Adam Sisk, the first player ever signed to the franchise, all the way back in 1995!!!

There are so many people to pick in the brief history of the Rays that are worthy of throwing the first pitch. And on the short list of celebrities? Dick Vitale and General David Petreaus. I can't wait to see who they pick.


JayBee Anama

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Come and See What Topps Has in Store for the Holidays!!!

The 2008 Topps Baseball Holiday Factory Sets are coming soon. The sell sheet says they are scheduled to go out in late October. It's the same 660 card set (barring gimmicks...ahem), and there will be another 10 card rookie variation subset. Now, and I say this with extreme caution, because as we all know, the checklist is always subject to change, the 10 bonus cards will be of:
  • Max Scherzer
  • Clay Buchholz
  • Daric Barton
  • Joey Votto
  • Jay Bruce
  • Johnny Cueto
  • Evan Longoria
  • Clete Thomas
  • Kosuke Fukudome
  • John Bowker

And yes, there are even pictures of four of the above player's cards on the first page of the sell sheet (the second page was the full checklist of 2008 Topps plus the bonus ten cards).

Well, it's another something to tide me over until 2008 Topps Updates and Highlights shows up in stores.


JayBee Anama

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Could Topps Have Possibly Predicted the Future? Johan Santana is Doing His Part to See That It Happens.

2008 Topps Johan Santana #661 Season Highlights No-Hitter card. Could this actually happen???

Okay, remember all that hubbub regarding the 2008 Topps #661 Johan Santana "No-Hitter" card? The idea was that he would pitch a no-hitter against the Florida Marlins on what would be the final game ever played at Shea Stadium on Sunday, September 28, 2008. Keep in mind also that the Mets have never been involved in a no hitter. Ever!!!

Could Topps have possibly, and correctly, predicted the future??? Let's see...

Johan Santana is pitching on Tuesday, September 23, against the Cubs at Shea. That means, if the Mets are still following the five-day rotation plans, he is scheduled to pitch ON SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 28!!! Back when this controversial card was conceptualized, it may have been the wildest of wild guesses that Santana would be starting the game, but who knew then it could possibly happen?

The Marlins, their chances of Wild Card bliss almost at an end, is still scheduled to show up in New York for a three game series, so they will obviously be there. Mark Hendrickson, the pitcher "scheduled" to start against Johan, is now a relief pitcher. So the only way he gets a decision in the game is if he "happens" to be the pitcher going into the bottom of the ninth inning that allows the first of four walks. He could still wind up with the loss.

Can you imagine the pressure on Hendrickson knowing that he is "destined" to lose this game???

The stars are aligning for this card to become a reality...right??? Well...

Hendrickson, although now a part of the Marlins' bullpen, has a record of 7-8, one win more than the predicted six win record, and 8 games less in the loss column. Santana is 14-7 prior to tomorrow's ball game. So he has one more loss than predicted. And barring Jerry Manuel throwing him in the bullpen for the four games before Sunday, he won't reach the 18 win mark at all. So maybe the Topps company was a bit generous to Santana (which means they didn't have high expectations for Hendrickson).

It doesn't say who scored the run, or which players were walked to load the bases. It doesn't even say if there were any outs in the bottom of the ninth when the "walk-off" happened. It was probably written this way so Topps wouldn't embarass itself if in the event that the person scoring the winning run was no longer on the team. The only two players mentioned were the pitchers (Santana and Hendrickson).

So let's wait and see what happens on Sunday. It should be interesting to say the least. And who knows, maybe Topps will turn out to be correct after all.


JayBee Anama

P.S. Coming soon...my NL and AL end of year All-Star Teams. It's something I've done since 1989, but it will be the first time I share my rosters with the rest of the world. jba

Monday, September 22, 2008

And the 2008 Topps Red Hot Rookie #17 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 #17 is of Evan Longoria of the Tampa Bay Rays.

Longoria, the Rays All-Star third baseman, made his Major League Debut on April 12 against the Orioles, and has since helped lead the Rays to their first ever postseason appearance with a .278 batting average, 25 home runs, and 82 runs batted in (as of September 22, 2008). He is definitely a candidate for AL Rookie of the year.

The big deal about this card is that it is autographed. For fans of the Rays and Longoria, you will certainly want to add this cards to your collections. So for those of you with Redemption card # 17, START REDEEMING!!!

The updated checklist now includes:


JayBee Anama

P.S. Two more cards to #19!!! jba

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Responses to Comments...Again.

Now it's time to respond to some comments recently left by those who read and/or follow the blog.

To new friend of the blog the drizz, who commented on the video...I was referring to the post below it when I mentioned "throw me something I can use." On an unrelated note, do you have an extra 2008 Topps Tigers gift set or an extra pack of the five bonus Tigers cards from the factory set? If so, please e-mail me.

To jv over at Treasures Never Buried, who asked if the video came from Topps. Sadly, it looks like it did. I think Topps should just stick to sell sheets and stay away from the digital video cameras.

To Greg and the gentleman from White Sox Cards, who are concerned about two Kosuke Fukudome cards in the Updates and Highlights set, I think one is his "base" card, and the other will be his "2008 All-Star Game" card. The big gimmick regarding Kosuke cards could be the fact that the boys and girls at the Topps Company have already inserted a UH1 card of Fukudome in their 2008 Topps Hobby Factory Sets. Who knows what the actual UH1 card will look like. And if does turn out to be the same card that appeared in the factory sets, does that mean that they will have made more of this card than the rest of the set? What if the only way to get UH1 was to break open the Hobby factory set and they decided not to include the card in packs at all?

To Matt, who commented on my optimism regarding the Brewers being contenders next year and Ben Sheets. Yeah, you're right. Maybe I should have put Yovani Gallardo instead of Sheets as it is most likely that he will be leaving Milwaukee at the end of the year. Shame though. But I still believe that the offense will eventually mature enough to keep them in contention for a number of years.

That's all for now. Keep those comments coming. Send me an e-mail and let me know what you think of the blog. I really like to know what you the readers think (the maybe five-ten of you that do).


JayBee Anama

Saturday, September 20, 2008

If This is His Topps Card, Then What Card is This?: Ken Griffey, Jr.

Hey, I really like this new feature. It not only fulfills one of my goals (show off my collection), but it gives me something to write about while waiting for the next release I want (Updates and Highlights).

Let's put a twist on the new feature though. Instead of just explaining what the card is, but I'll let you (the readers out there) get involved in it too. I'll show the real card, and then the "What Card is This?" card, but let's see if you know what set the second card is from. Remember, it's a real Topps card. It's not a photoshop job (I don't have the software, the time, or the creativity to pull one off), a magazine insert, or a "Broder" card.

Today, we'll put the spotlight on future Hall-of-Famer, and current Chicago White Sox outfielder Ken Griffey, Jr. The card is from 1995, during his glory days with the Mariners. That year was the first that the Mariners finally escaped the distinction of never making it into the postseason. Led by manager Lou Pinella, guys like Griffey, Edgar Martinez, Randy Johnson, and some young kid named Alex Rodriguez, helped the M's win their first division championship (AL West), and make it into the first time in their then 20-year history. Thirteen years later, he is now helping the White Sox back into the playoffs, after spending the last seven-and-a-half years with Cincinnati.

So here is Ken Griffey, Jr.'s 1995 Topps card:

Okay, typical Griffey swing, looks like a home run swing. Nice looking, clean, well designed card. Ready? Here is card number 2:

So, it's a 1995 Topps Ken Griffey, Jr. card. It has the same design, the name in gold foil, the picture in that torn page format. He's already past the follow through of his swing and is now on his way to first. Now it's your turn.


What Card is This?

You have all day to figure it out. I'll post the answer tomorrow night. Good night. And good luck.


JayBee Anama

UPDATE: Sunday, September 21, 2008.

Friend of the blog Big Daddy got the correct answer in this week's installment of "What Card is This?" with his answer of "Promo / Pre-Production card."

The above card was one of nine Pre-Production cards (Topps' term for sample cards) included in factory sets of 1994 Topps Baseball. The card above is numbered #PP6, and others in the set included a different card of Mike Piazza compared to what was actually used in the set.

Thanks for playing.


You Know How I Said "Throw Me Something I Can Use?"...

This was not what I had in mind!!!

I can't stand it.


JayBee Anama

Friday, September 19, 2008

When is U & H Coming??! Waiting is the Hardest Part!!!

2008 Topps Updates and Highlights...How fast can you get here???

Is it just me??? Or are you just waiting for this baseball season to end so that the 2008 Topps Updates and Highlights cards can show up at the local Hobby shop, department store, or online???

I can't take it anymore!!! The cards are supposedly coming out the week of October 13, but that's being optimistic, seeing that every time they announce a release, the products come out at least two weeks later than expected.

So I pose these questions for you (whoever actually reads this, please feel free to respond):
  • What are you most looking forward to when 2008 Topps Updates and Highlights arrives on shelves everywhere?
  • Are there any specific players you are looking for? (the checklist, for those interested, is over here, just scroll past the Heritage High numbers part. And remember, the checklist is always subject to change)
  • Any insert sets you are looking forward to chasing? (First Ladies, Year in Review, Walmart, Target, KMart exclusives, WBC cards)
  • Are you expecting any "gimmicks"? What do you think will show up this year? Will there be people out there wanting them? (The answer to that last question should be obvious...I'll probably go after them).
I know I should be excited about the possibility that both Chicago teams are within earshot of making it to the playoffs, but this season can't end fast enough. I need...ahem...want new stuff to open, and I'm not talking about stuff from the other company, no matter how much some people out there fawn over them like everyone should be getting in on them.

If anything, throw me something I can use, like maybe the design for 2009 Topps!!! Anything!!! I'm patient, but I don't know how much more I can stand it...

The lyrics of Tom Petty's The Waiting comes to mind:

The waiting is the hardest part
Every day you see one more card
You take it on faith, you take it to the heart
The waiting is the hardest part


JayBee Anama

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Hey...I WON!!!

And this is why I don't buy Upper Deck products. The names of their products are too confusing.

So the guy who runs Stale Gum posed a question regarding UD's newest sensation, Upper Deck X. (Does this mean Upper Deck "10" in Roman numerals, or is it the actual letter "X"? Let me know.) The question: What's missing from the press release?

After two attempts, (the only two attempts mind you, both mine), he updates his post, and indicates I won.


Chris, I'd like to donate my prize to a collector less fortunate than myself who would love to get their hands on it to complete his or her 2008 Topps set if it's all right with you. Thank you very much.

(end sarcasm)


JayBee Anama

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Records Were Meant to be Broken...Eventually

1991 Topps Bobby Thigpen #420. Fifty-Seven was the standard for eighteen years.

It's been eighteen years since Bobby Thigpen of the Chicago White Sox established a new record for closers with an astonishing 57 saves in a single season. Topps, when their Record Breakers subsets were among the first cards numerically within the set, included a tribute card for Thigpen in its 1991 set (1990 Record Breakers). Please read the headline below...

"Which May Last for Ages" huh. I don't know what the definition of "ages" is. Is it a span of 5 years, 10 years, 62 years? I'm going on a hunch and say that Topps probably believed that this record would stand as long as DiMaggio's hitting streak (which is truly a record that will never be broken). But in this day and age, where the reliance of MLB teams on their bull pens is more prevalent today than it was even twenty years ago, this record was bound to be broken sooner than later.

To be honest, 57 saves is nothing to sneeze about. It means that Bobby was given the ball and trusted to secure any leads and end the game. And he did it rather well too.

Well on September 13, 2008, Angels pitcher Francisco Rodriguez broke that record, sealing a 5-2 win over the Seattle Mariners.

So congratulations K-Rod. It is a well deserved feat, and if anything, should solidify your position as one of the most dominant closers this decade has seen. But before we all herald in the new saves champion, it would be nice if we remembered the man who set the bar so high in the first place.

Here's to you Bobby. Wherever you are.


JayBee Anama

Monday, September 15, 2008

If This is His Topps Card, Then What Card is This?: Ryan Braun

The first installment went so well that I thought we'd do it again. This time, we'll focus on the Milwaukee Brewers wunderkind outfielder, and 2007 NL Rookie of the Year, Ryan Braun.

As of September 14, 2008, Ryan J. Braun (not to be confused with Royals pitcher Ryan Z. Braun), has already hit the same number of home runs (35, 34 in 2007) and driven in the same number of runs (97 RBIs) as he did during his ROY campaign. He was the first round draft pick of the Brewers in 2005, and his rise to the majors has been nothing short of amazing. Originally a third baseman, he was moved into the outfield in 2008, and while his defense leaves a little bit more to be desired, he is only 24, and can only get better as the years go on. With the youth movement happening in Milwaukee, Braun, along with Prince Fielder, J. J. Hardy, Richie Weeks, and Ben Sheets, will be in the middle of pennant races for years to come.

Anyway, back to the cards.

Here is Braun's First Topps card, 2005 Topps Updates and Highlights #UH313:

Beautiful card, taken on the field in Miller Park, probably by the Brewers dugout. So now...

Wait. What's he doing on the infield??? He's not on the official team yet. So if the first card was from the traded (fine...Updates and Highlights set), then

What Card is This?

Well, this card is one of ten cards that were inserted in 2005 Topps Holiday Factory sets. The only way to get this and the other nine cards in this set (it actually is one of fifteen cards, but the cards in the holiday set were numbered # of 10) was to buy one of these sets. Other cards that came along with the Braun were Ryan Zimmerman of the Nationals, Matt Garza of the Rays (then of the Twins), and John Mayberry of the Rangers.

Thanks for playing "If This is His Topps Card, Then What Card is This?"


JayBee Anama

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Zambra-NO Hitter!!! Whoo Hoo!!!

I guess a couple of days off due to Hurricane Ike, plus extra time off for "rotator cuff soreness" issues helped Carlos Zambrano regain his form...and then some.

"Big Z" tossed a no hitter over the Houston Astros at beautiful Miller Park (or Wrigley Field north)!!! It is the first time a Chicago Cub pitched a no-hitter since Milt Pappas' gem against the Padres in 1972. Just like Pappas, his only blemish was one walk (Pappas' was another issue entirely). Unlike Milt, Z struck out 10 batters.

I'll let all the Cubs bloggers do all the reporting. Over here, I'll break out my Zambrano cards to share and celebrate.

A Six Pack of Carlos Zambrano Cards!!! 2000 Topps Traded #T29, 2004 Topps #136, 2005 Topps #258, 2006 Topps #157, 2007 Topps #429, and 2008 Topps #155.

Congratulations Carlos!!! Go Cubs Go!!! (Okay, homerism over!!!)


JayBee Anama

Saturday, September 13, 2008

When It Rains...It Floods!!!

Sorry if I have not posted anything special today. I've been saving the card collection (family first, then items my wife wants rescued, then the card collection) from this:

And this:

And this:

Actually, the collection is fine, and as long as our ejector pump works (we learned the hard way that our house did not have a sump pump, but an ejector pump), we won't be experiencing a lot of flooding in our basement...hopefully.

I did move some of the binders and boxes to higher ground in the event, but it's unlikely that any water will creep in this far into the basement.

That's what we get for living by a river (which is going to crest at 11:00 pm CST).


JayBee Anama

A Thank You to the Cardboard Junkie

There is a list of things that happen that you can tell if you are truly becoming a part of the sports card Hobby blogosphere:
  • You leave comments on other people's blogs,
  • You create your own blog,
  • You ask other bloggers look at your site, ask their opinions of it, and if they can add your site to their blog roll,
  • You go to blog catalog sites and add your website to their catalog,
  • Established bloggers add your blog to their blog rolls,
  • Newer bloggers ask that their site be added to your blogroll and they will reciprocate (some times they'll just go ahead and do it anyway...nothing wrong with that),
  • You get involved in a trade with another blogger.

I guess that's the pattern because that is what's happened to me since I started this humble little blog.

So some time last month, I create a post called Topps Helping Kids Get Ready to Back to School??? and include a scan of one of the packages that included a Chipper Jones card.

One of the comments received was from a certain Cardboard Junkie, and his only words were...


So anyway, I mailed him not one, but TWO Chipper cards. He got them earlier this week, thanked me for them on his blog, and announced that he was sending me a stack of Cubs cards. While I didn't think it was necessary for him to send anything in exchange (I was more than happy to oblige), I'm not going to say no to free cards, especially after he already mailed them.

Well the package came today, and all I have to say is...WOW!!! He sent a variety of Cub cards from different brands and years (some Topps Heritage cards, a couple of UD cards...hey, this is a Topps blog..., a few other brands I can't think of the top of my head, I did recognize a Jerome Walton Bowman contest card among the highlights).

So to dayf, thank you very much for the cards. I now feel I am more a part of the Hobby blogging community than I was when I started.


JayBee Anama

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I Love Trying New Things...or...Now You Can Follow the Blog

So Blogger continues to add new gadgets to help bring more exposure to bloggers everywhere. This new one has me thinking though...

On the right (where all the other gadgets are) you can now click on a button and identify yourself as a follower of the blog. I would like to encourage those who actually read the blog to add your name to the list of followers. That way I know who actually reads this blog and can publicly thank them for doing so. I'm not sure I like the term "followers" though, it sounds creepily cultish (join...join...join...okay ego, settle down), and I never thought of myself as a leader in any sense of the word.

But the reason why I'm posting this is because I want to thank jv over at the Treasures Never Buried blog for being my first "follower." I should remember to reciprocate in kind.

So follow the blog...you never know where the blog's direction is going (heck, I don't even know where it's going). Let's find out together shall we?


JayBee Anama

Seven Years Ago...The Games Stopped...

I'm not going to show pictures of what happened that day. I don't think I can speak well enough about what happened that day. I'm not going to show videos, pictures, newspaper articles, or anything else that was attached to that day. I'm not even going to describe what happened that day. I will not because I won't have to. There will be enough said and spoken about what happened that day. All day, whether it is on the television, radio, or on the internet.

I remember where I was, where I was going, and how everyone was glued to the television at work. I remember that there was not a lot of work was done that day. I know it was there, and it was done, but it was hard to focus on it.

I remember driving to the store before heading home, as the sun was going down, and seeing a guy on a motorcycle, waving a flag, and letting out a loud "YEE-HAH" as he rode past.

I remember coming home to watch the news with my wife as the news continued to develop and everything was dropped to focus on what happened.

I remember hugging my wife a lot harder before going to bed.

I remember sports suddenly taking a back seat as all 15 baseball games were cancelled.
  • Seattle at Anaheim...Postponed
  • Toronto at Baltimore...Postponed
  • Minnesota at Detroit...Postponed
  • Cleveland at Kansas City...Postponed
  • Chicago AL at New York AL...Postponed
  • Texas at Oakland...Postponed
  • Boston at Tampa Bay...Postponed
  • Colorado at Arizona...Postponed
  • Philadelphia at Atlanta...Postponed
  • Cincinnati at Chicago NL...Postponed
  • Montréal at Florida...Postponed
  • San Francisco at Houston...Postponed
  • St. Louis at Milwaukee...Postponed
  • Pittsburgh at New York NL...Postponed
  • Los Angeles at San Diego...Postponed

It was just as well...the minds of every person in North America were focused on other matters.

I remember waking up the next day and watching the news again. I remember before leaving to change the channel to the PBS station, that decided, even the day before, to continue with their regularly scheduled children's programming. If for no other reason, than to provide a sense of normalcy for children who were home (including my then one-year-old daughter) and a break for weary parents who stayed up all night watching the news.

I remember looking up at the sky, knowing that we lived really close to the airport, and not seeing a plane in the sky.

I remember coming to work that day, and plans for the food show theme had changed to something more patriotic.

I remember reading the newspaper at lunch, of the stories of the people who were on the planes, or of those in the buildings.

I remember having to suspend an account located in New York City that afternoon.

I remember coming home again, thinking that more than 4,000 people would not be able to experience that again.

I remember that as the days went on, a patriotic feeling swept over the neighborhoods. US Flags were hung on almost every doorstep that I would pass on the way to work.

I remember the food show, for how busy as it was, and how somber the mood. Many of the people who were there either to sell or buy had to arrive by other means because there were no flights. I remember that even though the original theme of our show was a rock-and-roll theme, and was changed to something more patriotic, that the Elvis impersonator still brought the crowd to its feet when he sang "God Bless America" that evening.

And I remember the following morning, a Monday morning no less. After all the speeches, and the patriotic feelings, the tribute videos, the initial roll call of those who were gone. After all of that...

I remember the games coming back...

And in a way, after a week of uncertainty, a sense of normalcy returned.

To the families whose lives were affected by the events of September 11, 2001, our prayers go out to you.


JayBee Anama

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

And the 2008 Topps Red Hot Rookie #'s 15 and 16 Cards Go 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 #15 is of Nick Evans of the New York Mets and #16 is of Clayton Richards of the Chicago White Sox.

Evans, the Mets outfielder, made his Major League Debut on May 24 against the Rockies, and currently sports a .273 batting average, one home run, and 8 runs batted in.

Since his Major League Debut on July 23 against the Rangers, Richard is sporting a 2-3 record in six starts, an ERA of 6.39, and 22 strikeouts, in 31 innings of work, (as of September 9, 2008).

Neither card is autographed. For both fans of the Reds and Giants, you will certainly want to add either of these cards to your collections. So for those of you with Redemption card #'s 15 & 16, START REDEEMING!!!

The updated checklist now includes:


JayBee Anama

P.S. Three more cards to #19!!! jba

Monday, September 8, 2008

I Couldn't Resist Posting About This When I Saw It...2008 Topps Brett Favre

I know I focus primarily on baseball, but this is Topps, so I'm excused...

"Hey Brett, when you're done mowing the field at Lambeau, bring your lawnmower to our new training facility in Jersey."

So that's what he did.

And you thought Topps kept all the good gimmicks in their baseball products. The Jets card will be included in Bowman Football when it comes out in late October. How many will be printed is anyone's guess.

We now return you to our regularly scheduled baseball card collection.


JayBee Anama

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Cards That Will Never See the Light of Day...EVER!!! 2008 Topps Retail Factory Set Edition.

2008 Topps Dick Perez Retail Factory Set Exclusive Cards. Most will never see the light of day...EVER!!!

As mentioned in a previous post, every blaster box of 2008 Topps Baseball sold exclusively at Wal-Mart has these beautiful cards painted by none other than the legendary Dick Perez. At ten cards per series (so far included with series 1 and 2), these are some of the most colorful cards to be found in the Topps collection.

The 2008 Topps Retail Factory sets include five cards from this wonderfully done set. Now, depending on where you buy the set, you get either a Mickey Mantle relic card (Target), or a Mickey Mantle Gold Refractor card (Wal-Mart) as a bonus. You can't go wrong either way here if you are a big Mantle collector (although the idea of cutting up more of his suits and ties is getting really old really fast). But back to the point.

Because Target was not in on the Dick Perez theme (they got the Topps 205 insert cards), the cards are numbered 1 of 5, 2 of 5, etc. The five subjects were not featured in either previous series. They consist of:
  • Chase Utley
  • Derek Jeter
  • Ken Griffey, Jr.
  • Albert Pujols
  • Vladimir Guerrero
These five cards make a nice supplement to the 2008 Topps Dick Perez set (they should not count as part of the actual set as they are not numbered as such). And because they only way to get them is to actually open a factory set, they will rarely be found on the Bay. So buy the factory set, open them (he's suggesting that we do WHAT with these factory sets?), and add them to your collection. I promise, you can't go wrong with doing so. Otherwise, these cards will be among many that will never see the light of day...EVER!!!


JayBee Anama

If This is His Topps Card, Then What Card is This?: Hanley Ramirez

It's time to stir things up around here with a new feature called, "If this is his Topps card, what is this???" How does this work?

I will show you a picture of a player's card whether it's from Topps or Topps Traded (Updates & Highlights, whatever). Somehow, this player has a card with the same design, all the bells and whistles of the regular card, but has a different picture? Is the card real? Absolutely. I don't have the photoshop skills to fake a card. Most of the cards we will use will be promo cards, or bonus cards found in factory sets (yes friends, I open factory sets for the bonus cards). So here goes...

Our first installment features the Florida Marlins' All-Star shortstop Hanley Ramirez. He was sent to the Marlins from the Boston Red Sox along with Anibal Sanchez, Harvey Garcia, and Jesus Delgado in exchange for Josh Beckett, Mike Lowell, and Guillermo Mota in 2005. Since then, the twenty-four-year old Ramirez has been a superstar for the Marlins. He was named the NL Rookie of the Year in 2006, and was voted a starter in the 2008 All-Star Game.

So back to the point. Here is Hanley Ramirez' rookie card, a 2003 Topps Traded card #T181:

Here, 19 year old Hanley is taking his cuts in spring training. So now...

Hey, he's on the field. So if the card above is from the Traded set, then (all together now...)

What Card is This?

Well, this card is one of five that were inserted in 2003 Topps Retail Factory Sets (Wal-Mart, Target, etc.) The only way to get this and the other four cards that came with it (Ismael Castro, Branden Florence, Michael Garciaparra, and Pete LaForest) was to buy one of these sets.

And that's how you play, "If This is His Topps Card, Then What Card is This?"


JayBee Anama

Friday, September 5, 2008

The Sports Card Blog Roll is Finally Catching On!!!

On July 7, 2008, I created the Sports Card Blogroll to highlight the best and brightest in the Hobby Blogosphere. It was, for me, the best way to keep up with 100+ blogs about the Hobby and some of the best writers out there who enjoy cards as much, if not more so, than I do.

I initially started with the blog roll with links from the Sports Card Blog Directory, making sure not to include blogs that were either inactive (have not posted in 2008) or were going to be discontinuing their blog (the Atlanta cards blog was an example of a blogger that, at the moment I set up the blog roll, announced he was ending the blog), then as I went to the sites of each of the individual bloggers, added a few extras that initially did not appear on the directory. While I created this more as a tool for me, I opened it up so anyone can use it. Now it looks like some people have taken me up on that offer.

I first received an e-mail from the guys who run the Hugging Harold Reynolds blog. They also run the Gem Mint Ten blog that appears on the blogroll and thanked me for including them on it. The e-mail was very unexpected, and graciously sent a reply simply stating, "You're welcome."

I then recently discovered two blogs that actually linked the Sports Card Blogroll onto their sites, and I the reason why I created this post in the first place was so that I could thank them for it:

The Electric Friar is a blog written by a gentleman from the US Navy based in San Diego, CA. His blog is specifically about cards of the two major sports teams he collects, the Chargers (Electric) and the Padres (Friar), hence the name.

baseballcardman is written by Bart McClaughry aka Baseball Cardman from Missouri. He's been collecting cards since 1973 and uses his blog mainly to trade his doubles.

So thank you gentlemen for adding the blogroll to your blog's roll. I have one simple request though...

Could you please add this humble little blog to your blog roll as well??? It's bdj610's Topps Baseball Card Blog (bdj610bbcblog.blogspot.com). Thank you very much.


JayBee Anama

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

I Guess Sooner or Later, This Was Bound to Happen

(Thanks to Chris Olds for the story and the picture.)

In the last few years (okay, since 2004), Topps baseball card collectors have been subjected to insert cards of a, well, political nature so to speak. Beginning with 2004 Topps Presidential Pasttimes (where the history of baseball and the 42 POTUS are linked somehow), to the 2008 Topps Presidential Candidates (don't forget Gore and Arnold), and then the behemoth 55 card Historical Campaign Matchups (at least even the casual collector knows that Adlai Stevenson lost both times to President Dwight D. Eisenhower).

Regardless of the endless complaints that these kinds of cards were included into packs of Topps baseball cards, they were there, people collected them, and they moved on.

Now, the Topps Company is bringing to the masses...


Yes friends, come one, come all, and feast your eyes on the next product to hit the shelves at your local card shop or big box retailer...it's the 2008 Topps Election Collection!!! Utilizing the now popular 2008 Topps Baseball card design, this 50 card set (and a bonus Allen & Ginter insert card, ten in the set, collect them all), highlights what has happened (so far) in the Presidential campaign. There will be 25 cards each for both camps, and will include such topics as "Life on the Campaign Trail," five on the "Road to the White House," and to finish it off, cards of both First Ladies-in-waiting Michelle Obama and Cindy McCain. No word yet if VP candidates Joe Biden and Sarah Palin will be included yet.

So rush to your stores, get your cards, use them to help you keep track of the election, bring them to the polling places, and vote, vote, vote (being serious on the last three parts...please vote, what you do with the cards if you buy them is entirely up to you).

Wonder what the Libertarians, Ralph Nader, and whoever else is running for the job has to say about this???


JayBee Anama

And the 2008 Topps Red Hot Rookie #'s 13 and 14 Cards Go 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 #13 is of Chris Dickerson of the Cincinnati Reds and #14 is of Pablo Sandoval of the San Francisco Giants.

Dickerson made his Major League Debut on August 12 against the Pirates, and currently sports a .329 batting average, five home runs, and 11 runs batted in.

Since his Major League Debut on August 14 against the Astros, Sandoval has a .349 batting average, one home run, and four runs batted in (as of September 3, 2008).

Neither card is autographed. For both fans of the Reds and Giants, you will certainly want to add either of these cards to your collections. So for those of you with Redemption card #'s 13 & 14, START REDEEMING!!!

The updated checklist now includes:


JayBee Anama

P.S. Five more cards to #19!!! jba

Monday, September 1, 2008

Card That Makes You Go...What??! of the Week: 2004 Topps #531 Robby Hammock

So if Miguel Olivo was voted by MLB managers in 2003 to the Topps All-Star Rookie Team, why does Robby Hammock also have the Trophy logo on his card???

At the end of the 2003, as has been the practice since 1959, Topps asked the 30 MLB managers who their picks were for the All-Star Rookie Team. Players bestowed this honor would get the prestigious ASR trophy logo on their card.

The following players were voted onto the team by the managers:

The initial debates sparked online when this roster was announced was where was Hideki Matsui's name, and why was he not on this list? The answers ranged anywhere from "he may not have gotten enough votes" to "he was not signed on by Topps, so they may have not included his name on the ballot." Regardless of the answers this was the team and the ten players would have a trophy on their card.

When 2004 Topps Series I came out, Miguel Olivo, the White Sox catcher, did have his card #84 with the trophy logo (please see card above left). So why is it that in 2004 Topps Series II did Robby Hammock, catcher of the Arizona Diamondbacks, who played only 65 games in 2003, wind up with the trophy as well (please see card above right)???

Now to Hammock's credit, he is still with the D-Backs as their back up catcher (Olivo has bounced around with four other teams since his year-and-a-half stay with the White Sox). And even in playing in a little more than half of the games Olivo played, he did have better stats in 2003 (.282 batting average, 8 home runs, and 28 rbi's) .

There has been no official explanation from the Topps Company as to how this happened. And there was no announcement on the press release (where the article linked earlier was taken from) that Hammock and Olivo were tied for the voting. So can we talk all day long about how Olivo was the sole catcher who made the team. However, those who don't keep tabs on the hobby will see the trophy on his card and think he made the team.

So what was the reason why Hammock had the trophy placed on his Topps card? Was there a recount after the 30 votes? Was there an unannounced tie? Was Topps trying to correct the "error" of the votes by discreetly adding the trophy on the guy who Topps thought was more deserving?

Now personally, I would just chalk this up to being an uncorrected error card as the trophy was never removed on his card, even in the factory sets. And the 2004 Topps Traded and Rookie Checklist puzzle even had a picture of his card with the trophy on it. Heck, in the big 110 card Topps Rookie Team insert set included in 2008 Topps, there's a card for Olivo, but not one for Hammock.

So because there was never any news trying to clear up the confusion, the question remains...

Topps, what were you thinking??!


JayBee Anama