Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Goodbye 2008...Happy New Year!!!

Goodbye 2008!!!

Hello 2009!!!

May all your collections grow to new heights, Let's hope they make it a bit easier on us insane set collectors. Thank you for letting me into your computers this past year. I hope to be able to share more of my collection with you in 2009!!!


JayBee Anama

It's Been a While Since I've Visited ToppsTown.

I was about to throw out what I thought were used ToppsTown cards out when on a whim, I decided to see if they were live or not. Sure enough, the codes were never entered. So after splitting the cards between and the two kids, we entered the 31 cards (including two gold ones) into our accounts.

All I know is, out of 203 cards in the baseball set, I am only three players short of completing the virtual baseball card binder. The three players:

Stephen Drew
Tim Wakefield
Trevor Hoffman

I went through the trade routes, but unfortunately, the people offering the cards are asking for players I only have one card of. I know I could possibly trade my one card away and trade someone else back (I should have enough), but that's too much work...maybe.

Oh well, something else to do to pass the time I guess on the last day of the year!!!


JayBee Anama

Monday, December 29, 2008

Ten Questions, Ten Answers. Ding!!!

In what seems to be an inadvertent attempt to get the Blog Bat Around going (sorry Dave), the girls at Dinged Corners sent a ten question survey out to the blogosphere. Many good answers from the gallery. Late but finished, here are my responses:

Round One:

1. If I didn't collect baseball cards, I'd collect Transformers or Marvel/DC action figures.

2. My baseball heroes include one you probably wouldn't know from my blog or comments, and that person is Andre Dawson.

3. Every New Years I resolve to increase my collection, but try and get rid of the cards I don't need as well.

4. If I could spend a day with one person from baseball history, it would be William Ellsworth Hoy.

Round Two:


I like mine done in the Chicago style, with relish, onions, pickles, celery salt, mustard, and maybe a pepper or two (no ketchup). Oh, you mean canine? Lucy, all dogs and I have an understanding...they don't like me, and the feeling is mutual.

2. My favorite player of all-time is Ryne Sandberg. Bar none. My son's middle name is Ryne.

3. My favorite team is the Chicago Cubs.

4. My favorite baseball movies are (because I couldn't decide on one) Bull Durham, Field of Dreams, Major League, and The Rookie.

5. My Favorite Baseball Books:

Topps Baseball Cards: The Complete Picture Collection, a 40 Year History, 1951-1990 by Frank Slocum, Red Foley, and Sy Berger

Classic Baseball Cards: The Golden Years 1886-1956 by Frank Slocum

6. My favorite card??? It's hard to choose. If I had to pick one, it would have to be...(really struggling to choose one)...out of 42,072 plus cards, I can't pick just one. Sorry. Now, if I had to pick a favorite would either be 1989 Topps, or this:

my favorite insert set of all time, 2007 Topps Allen & Ginter Flags of the World!!!


JayBee Anama

2009 Topps Attax...For Those Who've Outgrown Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh!

In my attempt to find anything Topps Baseball related for today, I stumbled upon something that is scheduled to come out next year called "2009 Topps Attax Baseball." Please see picture below for packaging and card design:

Below is the description found on the website pre-selling the product:

"Baseball meets the Gamer head on - perfect for Fantasy Baseball nuts, as well as the child who has grown up and out of Pokemon or YuGiOh! Each starter pack contains 14 Topps Attax Baseball batter cards, PLUS 4 pitcher cards, PLUS 6 code cards, PLUS 1 Gold foil card, PLUS 6 silver foil cards for a total of 31 cards. Each blister pack contains three (3) 5-card packs containing: 2 Topps Attax Baseball batter cards, PLUS 1 pitcher card, PLUS 1 code card, PLUS 1 silver foil card for a total of 15 cards per blister. A TOTAL of 61 cards plus your album and pages!"

By the looks of things, this seems to be Topps attempt to join the Collectible Card Game (CCG) market (again). The starter kit being presold on and other places includes 2 booster packs, a Topps binder with 10 Ultra-Pro sheets. It looks like you can play this game in person, and online (on Toppstown).

Now this is not Topps first attempt at a CCG. I can recall 2005 Topps Total having a CCG type game within it. But more importantly, in 2005, Topps introduced the world to Hot Button Baseball.

Remember Hot Button Baseball??? Sure you do. You take two cards (a batter and a pitcher) put them into a machine, hit the "Hot Button" and based on where the lights stopped, that was the at bat. There were 140 transparent cards in that set. I remember the day I first laid my eyes on them, at a Toys R' Us while buying my daughter her birthday present. It looked awesome, and I still have the game, the complete set, the machine, my homemade scorecards, card numbers by position (to pick teams randomly), my excel spreadsheet that could generate teams by randomly...YES, I'M A GEEK!!!


This looks like this game is going to be a bit more challenging than Hot Button. It might be something to look forward to getting. I don't know. But where did they come up with the name "Topps Attax?" Well, we have to go across the Atlantic if we want to look for clues.

It seems that it's a big hit over in the UK. Topps Match Attax (the to us in the US) game has been around since 2007, and features teams and players from the Barclay's Premier League. Going on the website:, it gives you all the rules, on how to play the game (defense vs. attack), how goals are scored, and such. But this is baseball, and I'm sure the playing mat (there has to be a mat in any CCG) is going to include an entire playing field, not just the pitcher and batter. It looks to be a huge deal in the United Kingdom. And Topps seems to be hoping that the success will carry over here.

I, for one, might want to take a stab at this set. It looks like something my kids and I can get into (there goes my wallet). But I worry. If Topps didn't continue the Hot Button Baseball game (due to lackluster sales I'm guessing), what's the odds that this is going to survive a second year??? I'm pretty sure this is not going to count towards the 17-product cap imposed by MLB Properties. Whatever. When it comes out, I'll buy a couple of packs, and then probably more, and then probably buy everything in sight just to complete a set...okay, getting ahead of myself. But based on the above design, and the possibility of game play, it can't be all that bad...right???


JayBee Anama

I Caved In...I Had No Choice...

PayPal and Facebook...two sites I never wanted to join...but...

Because of the new eBay rules of paperless transactions, I realized that if I were to continue buying and selling on the Bay, I had no choice but to sign up for their online payment service, PayPal. It has been a decision I've been dreading since the beginning of my online career (scared of all the bad stuff that I had read about on message boards ad nauseum, and all the bad seemed to outweigh the good, even though I never gave it the chance to try it myself). But now with them putting the hammer down on checks and mailing payments, I caved. I now have a PayPal account. So for friend of the blog Big Daddy, who wondered why if I spent so much on the "Infamous Series II Six" that I have not yet plunked down some money on the Palin cards (which had apparently dropped in price significantly...) that's why.

Also, after beating myself to death with the decision and after I was somehow gifted with it, I am now joining a site that I thought I would never use in my lifetime...Facebook. That's right. I'm joining the community. Hoping that it would add a bit more exposure to the humble little blog in the coming year, I've now assimilated with the Borg...I mean Facebook populace. Resistance is futile I guess. I am going to see how well this works. I'm not about to try and find people that I have not contacted since high school or college, but I'll see where this goes and hopefully it will do wonders for my readership. Besides, my wife was invited to register as an Avon representative. So I thought I'd try it out and see if it's worth it for her to join as well.

So, coming in 2009, a more modernized version of bdj610 (and there was much rejoicing. "Yay!")

(now looking for those darn Palin cards that Big Daddy was talking about...)


JayBee Anama

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Top Ten Things That Happened to Me in the Hobby in 2008.

As 2008 comes to an end, and another binder full of Topps cards has been put to bed, I am looking forward to what should turn out to be a great 2009 for Topps card collecting. With an awesome looking base set, and the promise of being able to collect cards of legendary players like Ruth, Gehrig, and the other CMG players, I'm already preparing for another long, and hopefully wonderful, journey.

With that said, I can't help but look back and think about the things that made 2008 a great year. I've compiled my list and am putting it in a Top 10 (or should I make it Topps 10...pardon the's 2:18 AM CST, and I'm not fully awake yet) format. These should be the reasons why 2008 was a fun year for me in the Hobby. (Cue introduction)

"From the home office in Chicago, IL. The category is the Tops Ten Things that Happened to Me, JayBee Anama, in the Hobby in 2008. Here we go:

10. Got to go to the National with my daughter. Seeing my kids starting to grow up and enjoy my Hobby. Isn't that what life is all about???

9. Toppstown. Another way to get my kids involved in the hobby, albeit online.

8. The chase for the "Infamous Series II Six" And realizing that, yes, I am crazed.

7. Kazuo Uzuki. I knew I should have learned Japanese. The fact that there were some people (all right, me included) that thought that this kid was for real (okay, I'm not that gullible) made this one heck of a chase card.

6. Acquiring a complete set of 2008 Topps Allen & Ginter, including a NNO Kosuke Fukudome card. If ever there was a second set for me to collect, this one is it.

5. Being able to capture all six cards from the "Infamous Series II Six" (Arnold Schwarzanegger 2012?, Al Gore, Johan Santana #661, WBC Fukudome, Ramirez, and Yabuta). If I can only get my hands on a Palin card...

4. My name finally appears in Beckett, along with the long quest for a 2005 Topps Barry Bonds MVP card to complete the seven-card set.

3. Both the Cubs and White Sox making it into the playoffs for the first time together since 1906. They may have both lost their playoff series, and yes, the Cubs are now 100 years removed from their last WS win, but it was one heck of a ride. I can only hope they can repeat and improve on the success of the last two years.

2. Completing my 2008 Topps set (series I, II, and U & H) along with all the insert sets (except for the U & H Target and WalMart sets still in progress).

And the number one thing that happened to me in the Hobby:

1. Starting this blog, and sharing my collection with the Hobby blogosphere.

I can't believe it's only been 8 months since I started this humble little blog, and I've at 18,000 page hits (many of them probably my own), and near 9,000 viewers. Now compared to a bunch of other blogs that talk about this great hobby of ours, my numbers may be low. But I know that over time, they'll grow. I feel like I've been accepted into the blogging community, and have enjoyed reading and commenting on many of the great blogs out there.

Next year, the goal is to improve and go back to what I wanted to do for the blog in the first place: talking about, and sharing with the world, my collection of Topps Baseball Cards.


JayBee Anama

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Another Package from Across the Pond.

Even before my package of Red Sox and unopened packs were set to be mailed over to John at the Pursuit of 80'sness (he sent me a whole load of Topps cards if you recall, and he even mentioned it on his blog), I received a second package full of Cubs cards from the man based in London. This time, about 43-45 (I can't remember the number John...I'll explain in a minute) cards were carefully packaged and again, full of Cubbies from various years and brands.

It turns out that my daughter is becoming quite a Cubs team collector (yay!!!) and is a big fan of Derrek Lee (not a bad choice, and he became the subject of her second grade school report...she's next to me and trying to tell me that she still has it...). She is taking claim to all the Cubs card that both dayf at the Cardboard Junkie and John have been so kind to mail to me (and mixed everything up in the process)

In honor of John's second package, I am now going to defer to my daughter, who will now share with the blogging public her favorite cards from the stack now in her possession. Warning, there may be Upper Deck cards mixed in with the pile.

  • Two 1994 Topps Finest Cards (Karl Rhodes and Rey Sanchez)...shiny
  • One 1992 Donruss Cracker Jack Mark Grace mini card (did not believe when I told her that this actually came from a box of Cracker Jack.
  • One 2007 UD Goudey Aramis Ramirez card (told her that not all cards were 2½" x 3½")
  • One 2007 Topps Lou Pinella Manager card. Have to include the manager
So there you have it. John, I swear, I will get that package of Red Sox cards to you in the mail on Monday (need to find an envelope large enough first).


JayBee Anama (with assistance from lfa)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas Everyone!!!

To all maybe 10-20 regular readers of this humble little blog (and for everyone else who stumbles in because of a well placed internet search),

Merry Christmas!!!

Instead of the usual Topps talk (and whatever has been going on in the Hobby blogosphere in the last two weeks), I will give you my top three (or four, or five, depending on how many I can find), songs that I HAVE to hear for it to be Christmas:

The Muppets "Twelve Days of Christmas"

Nothing beats Trans-Siberian Orchestra's "Christmas Eve in Sarajevo"

This may be the reason why they play this song only at Christmas time. This is more than just a Christmas song. Sorry, but I couldn't find a longer version with the Peanuts cartoon on it..."Linus and Lucy"

Nothing says 80's and Christmas Songs like Band Aid's "Do They Know it's Christmas"

And finally...

Love the animation and I really love that my daughter digs this version of "White Christmas"

So there you have it. It can't be Christmas for me until I hear these songs. I'm off for now. Take care.


JayBee Anama

Monday, December 22, 2008

I Must Be Missing Something...

Okay, so the hot button topic of the last Beckett and all the good and bad things they have contributed to our Hobby. And there have been many arguments supporting them (to a point) to being outright against them (to a point).

I have made comments to bloggers on both sides of the issue. Needless to say, I can see both sides clearly, and to an extent, I agree with a number of their arguments. I have already posted where I stand in all of this, and nobody is going to change my mind one way or another about what I think about Beckett Media, their products, their website, or the company and the people who work there. I'm not ashamed to say I bought the latest Beckett Baseball magazine. I will say I wish there was a bit more in terms of articles other than a Phillies pictorial and the Donruss interview, but other features make up for it.

So my questions to all the bloggers who either are cool with the number one source in the Hobby or think that they are the problem with today's Hobby are these:

  • Why haven't I read any blogs that either slam or support the competition (if you're not familiar with them, I am referring to Tuff Stuff or Sports Collectors Daily...or is it weekly)?
  • Have they become irrelevant sources in the Hobby?
  • Is Beckett the only company worth criticizing because the company has the most recognizable name in the business?
  • In your critiques of Beckett, are you also putting the other two publications on notice?
I will say in full disclosure that I have not bought a Tuff Stuff magazine in more than eight years, because it is a multi-sport magazine, and all I care about is baseball. But I will read the magazine from time to time when I am at the grocery store. And I did buy their Topps Baseball and Football special editions when each reached their 50th anniversary (in 2001 and 2006). When I get to certain card shops that carry them, or even at a show, I will buy a Sports Collectors Daily (it's the one printed in newspaper format instead of a magazine).

Even though I don't pay much attention to their guides, the articles in Tuff Stuff are very informative, and a couple of the columnists are wells of knowledge about the Hobby. And while the SCD paper has more auction advertisements than any other publication out there, you can't get better information about the history of the Hobby and its pioneers anywhere else.

Are these other two publications not even worth the time of day to discuss or debate? What do you all have to say for yourselves? Please leave comments about this issue. I would love to hear what you have to say.

After this, all I want to talk about are Topps baseball cards.


JayBee Anama

Sunday, December 21, 2008

If This is His Topps Card, Then What Card is This?: LaMarr Hoyt

Set the WayBack Machine to 1983 boys and girls because we're going to be looking at a couple of cards from that year's Topps set. This week's What Card is This? subject was one of the key players of the "Winning Ugly" Chicago White Sox. With a record of 19-15 in 1982, and a Cy Young season the following year at 24-10, along with 11 complete games, he was the key component in getting ANY Chicago team into the postseason for the first time since 1959. He is the one, the only, LaMarr Hoyt.

In his 8-year career, LaMarr Hoyt was a dominating pitcher in the early 80's. After posting identical 9-3 records in 1980-1981 (helps that he was the key relief pitcher in 1981 with 30 games finished), Hoyt joined the starting rotation and promptly broke out the following year, leading the American League with 19 wins and striking out 124 batters. Not a bad year I'd say...but how do you improve on that? Easy. Hoyt lead the 1983 White Sox to their first division title since 1959, on the strength of his 24-10 record. He was the example of what a workhorse pitcher is in baseball. He pitched a lot of innings (a little more than 500 innings in 1982-1983 alone), and completed a staggering 25 games.

During the 1983 ALCS, he pitched a complete game, and only gave up one run. The White Sox scored twice to give him the win. Sadly, the White Sox went on to lose the next three games, getting bounced from the playoffs without giving Hoyt a chance to pitch again. The next year saw his record drop to a disastrous 13-18, even though his numbers were on par with the last two years. At the end of the season, he was traded to the San Diego Padres for four players. One of which brought a young Venezuelan shortstop named Ozzie Guillen to Chicago. It was a trade that worked out for both teams as Hoyt became an All-Star for the first time (why he was never one with the Sox is beyond me) with a 16-8 record and Guillen became the American League Rookie of the Year.

Enough with the history, let's go to the cards. Here is Hoyt's 1983 Topps card #618:

I love these 1983 cards. I noticed that a number of players in the set wore full beards and mustaches in their head shot picture, but the big picture showed an almost clean shavened player. Maybe it's just a Chicago thing as there were a couple of Cubs players who were pictured the same way (Bill Campbell, Scot Thompson). Gotta love those 80's White Sox jerseys. Shame you don't see those anymore. Well, here's card number 2:'s the same card...or is it??? This one has some words on the top left corner reading "AL-19 Victories." Is this the precursor to the modern day gimmick card? Was this card a short printed variant card? This can't be a league leader card (those were horizontally oriented, and he shared his LL card with Steve Carlton). So the question remains...

What Card is This???

If you have the card, you'll know exactly where it came from. We'll see. The correct answer (possibly provided by someone leaving comments) announced soon. Good luck.


JayBee Anama

UPDATE: Saturday, January 3, 2009.

Reader jacobmrley not only left a comment stating where this card came from, but even showed two eBay auctions. This card indeed is from the 1983 Topps '82 Leaders sheet. The most unique card on the sheet belongs to Reggie Jackson and Gorman Thomas, who share a card because they both led the AL in Home Runs that year (they tied with 39 HR's a piece).

I actually have one extra sheet of this. So if there is anyone out there who wants one??? jba

Friday, December 19, 2008

It Bears Repeating...Beckett is Still Relevant at Least in My World!!!

After reading blog after blog after blog about the latest BASEBALL BOX BREAK from the number one source in the Hobby, somehow I'm not surprised about the backlash. After all, the people who hate them now have more ammunition to fire away about how irrelevant they have become. But why am I not surprised about how they reacted? Because even if they didn't pull 1 of the 25 printed Joe Jackson cards that everyone is screaming about, they would find something else to yell about.

Where am I going with this?

I thought I was the only person in the blogging community who believed that Beckett is still relevant in the modern Hobby. In many cases, they still are. But today I find out that the gentleman at Cardboard Icons actually thinks the same way about Beckett the way I do. Now he's not giving them a free pass on all the bad things they have been reported to have done either. But he has kept enough of a distance that he still sees some good in them. Especially about that all important thing...what was it...oh yeah...the price guide.

His final words in the post:

"...I still find Beckett as a whole necessary for the hobby. I may be in the minority, but I can’t be the only on who feels that way. Am I?"

I was compelled to respond:

"You are definitely not in the minority. I look at Beckett magazines exactly the same way you do.

"It is a guide. They even specify that it’s a guide. The section before the guides, whether it’s in the magazine or the big books says explicitly:

They (prices) do not reflect the FOR SALE prices of the author, the publisher, the distributors, the advertisers, or any card dealers associated with this guide. No one is obligated in any way to buy, sell, or trade his or her cards based on these prices.”

"Beckett also has one of the most accurate checklist collections in the world, and that’s why I use them.

"I am not going to argue the negatives, because I do see them and can understand why the aggravation. But they really don’t affect me. One bit. If they get that hit on Donruss EEE or Topps Triple Threads, or UD whatever, so be it. I don’t really care.

"Maybe the people who gripe the most are the ones who spend the most on those special cards. I am not one of them, and will still continue to buy Beckett for the articles and the guides.

"I’ve already posted about this once before on my humble little blog…it may be time to bring it back up again for kicks!!!"

And for those who missed it the first time, here is the link to my first post about this issue:

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

I ask that if you plan on leaving a comment (positive or otherwise) about this topic that you read the above post first. Then you can tell me whether I'm nuts or that I might be on to something.


JayBee Anama

Just Happy to Be on the List...Thanks Fielder's Choice

So here I am, working on this humble little blog, realizing that I am still way low on the totem pole of popularity/readership/viewership/whatever you want to call it, when out of the blue I get an e-mail from Dave at Fielder's Choice. The title of the e-mail simply stated:

You've been entered into a FREE group break at Fielder's Choice!‏

Curious, I click on the link. He indicates that he's hitting a few huge milestones for him:
  • 6 months since starting the blog
  • 25,000 hits (already past 26,000)
  • 200 posts
Inspired by a box breaker on YouTube, and because it's the season to be giving, he purchased a tin (warning) of 2007...wait for it...Upper Deck Sweet Spot. His plan, to give the cards in the tin to those on the net who've made his blogging experience fun. He invited 30 bloggers, box breakers, etc, threw their names into a hat (okay, some kind of randomizer thingy), matched them with teams (well, based on what team they preferred, I didn't respond), and posted everything on his site.

Looking at the names on the list of people he invited, it's like an all-star list of bloggers. It seems that all the heavy hitters (pardon the pun...couldn't resist) were invited. And there I am, second to last on the list. If this was an all-star team, I'd be the token Pirates or Nationals player...the "just happy to be here" guy (not that there is anything wrong with it...I'm truly grateful!!!). I commented that I was happy that he thought of me and congratulated him on the milestones.

After the dust settled, I wound up with the Brewers. Meaning that if there were any Brewers cards in that tin, they'd be mine. Now, it's an Upper Deck product, so obviously, I have no idea who's in it. So after going to the number one source of the hobby, I learned that there are four Brewers cards in the set:
  • Ben Sheets #12
  • Bill Hall #13
  • Prince Fielder #82
  • Rickie Weeks #84
Each card is numbered to 850, meaning that this set is not for the normal set collector (unless you have unlimited funds, and a whole lot of patience at shows and online). There didn't seem to be any relics or inserts involving Brewers players, but I'm not picky, anything will work for me.

To all in the pot, I wish you all good luck. I hope you get what you want if you get anything. To Dave, congratulations again. Thanks for making the blogging experience fun for me. And again, thanks for thinking of me.


JayBee Anama

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Part of a Nutritious Breakfast...

Back in 1996, Topps sold their factory sets in a package akin to those single serve multi-packs of cereal. I'm only reminded of this fact because that's what my wife bought for the kids to eat for breakfast this week. We're down to five boxes of cereal (it was an eight pack), and the only reason why I'm thinking about this now (it's only 5:42 PM CST as of the time I'm writing this), is because although discovered and discussed by the gentleman over at Hand Collated, I'm only getting around to talking about this now.

The Breakfast of Champions. Comes in three delicious flavors. And it's a part of a nutritious breakfast.

Each comes with a binder emblazoned with the Topps logo, 10 Ultra-Pro nine-pocket pages, and 56 cards (52 base, 1 Legends of the Game, 1 Turkey Red insert, 1 Ticket to Toppstown, and one platinum refractor card-the free prize normally stuffed towards the bottom of the box).

Why couldn't they come up with this when I was younger??? This would make a good starter kit for kids who are new to the hobby. I might just buy a couple of these so that the kids have something for the 2009 season. And I'll even give these to them at breakfast time. Just as long as the kids don't spill milk on them...


JayBee Anama

Monday, December 15, 2008

So I Finally Went to KMart Today...

Amongst the blaster boxes of UD Masterpieces (both 2007 and 2008), 2008 Topps Basketball, 2008 UDX, and 2008 Topps Cubs and Retail Factory sets, repack boxes and assorted football products,


Either they were immediately sold out of this product (highly doubtful as the cards were hidden from view at the far end of the registers), or there really aren't any special blaster boxes for KMart of this product.

After months of scouring the internet (eBay and such), knowing that even Beckett doesn't even have a checklist of this stuff, and after more than enough people on the Topps Message Boards have searched in vain at their nearby KMart's (there are so few left now), I am going to temporarily remove my "want list" for the 2008 Topps U & H Gold Rookie Variations, as I am beginning to think that maybe there isn't anything here and the set is complete at 30.

Now if somebody does find 2008 Topps U & H blasters at a KMart, please let me know right away!!! Otherwise, I'm calling the set done at 30.

Although, maybe it's time to get on the horn to somebody at the Topps Company, send a polite e-mail, and ask...


JayBee Anama

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Blog Bat Around - How Hard Can it be to Choose the Best Card in My Collection???

The first one went so well, even though nobody left a comment (Ego...ahem). I guess I should have complained about being the last one listed on the first Blog Bat Around huh Gellman (ha ha ha...just kidding). It was really a nice thing to read everyone's take on the topic of what kind of collector the blog writer is and why he or she decided to become that type of collector.

The next Blog Bat Around discussion topic is a bit more challenging for a collector like me:

We all have blogs that focus on the hobby, but its few and far between where I get to see your favorite/best piece of your collection. It does not have to be a card or worth a million dollars, it just needs to be a part of your sports collection. Please post your favorite(s) on the post, and go from there.

Some questions you may want to answer:

How did you get it? How much did it cost? What is the value today? What makes this item the centerpiece of your collection? Would you ever sell it?

Also, with the enormous number of player/team collectors out there today, has the focus shifted away from obtaining a centerpiece to build around to becoming more of a quantity thing? Has the hobby created 1/1 monsters that don't focus on the sentiment and memories behind the cards? Do you attach memories to your favorite pieces?

That's like asking what your favorite blade of grass is in a whole lawn or your favorite ant in the colony. Okay, that may be an exaggeration, but you have to understand my dilemma.

As I pointed out in the first Bat Around, I have a total of 42,072 + cards in my active collection. I say "+" only because I have 14 cards between both 2008 U & H Target and WalMart cards and am not even close to finishing both sets. I'm not adding them to the total until both are complete (yes, I'm crazy). How in the heck am I supposed to choose my favorite card out of all my cards??? What card is the best piece in my collection??? Aren't I emotionally attached to all of them (okay, that's stretching it a bit)?

After a couple of days to think it over, I did begin to think about the cards in my collection that are near and dear to my heart. Not necessarily because the person on the card is my favorite player, or plays on my favorite team, but because of how I was able to get the card, and what the circumstances were in acquiring them. They were the cards I needed that finished a set for me after long period of searching for them. They were the cards that taunted me as I sifted through the pages of my incomplete albums. They were the cards that kept me up at night (again...stretch much???). They were the cards that gave me the greatest satisfaction when I finally had it in my hands, slipped it into its waiting space on the nine-card sheet, and call another set completed. Those are the cards that I can call my favorites. Because even if I have not physically seen the card after a long period of time, I can still picture it in my mind.

Now, the first one that comes to mind is a 1992 Topps Jose Tolentino card #541. I wrote about this particular card before. You can look at that story later, but for the sake not leaving until you're finished with my post, I'll summarize the history between me and this specific card here:

Jose Tolentino 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.

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, being able to read through the wrapper to see the name of the player on the front of the pack. 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 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 head shot, as if he was mocking me, saying, "Nyah nyah na nyah nyah, you can't find me!!!"

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 shouted. 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.

I can list a few other cards that drove me insane (not as nearly) as the card above:

  • 1984 Topps Greg Brock #555 (bought what I thought was a full set only to find I was one card short. Went back to the store, complained, gave me the card I needed and $5.00 for selling me an incomplete set...too bad that store is gone.)

  • 1990 Topps Chuck Cary #691 (gave up on it when I bought the factory set)

  • 1993 Topps Bo Jackson #400 (one of three cards needed, all found in the same pack)

  • 1995 Topps Orel Hershiser #61T (didn't get the card until the fall...of 1996!!!)

  • 2002 Topps Traded Andres Galarraga #T39 (Short printed veterans cards...What??!)

  • 2004 Topps World Series Programs 1945 Tigers vs. Cubs (either through trade or eBay)

  • 2004 Topps All-Time Fan Favorites Willie Horton #142 (went on a pack ripping binge. Told the store I will buy every pack I open until I get this card. Wound up opening about 10 packs of the stuff before getting the card. Expensive lesson...would have been a lot easier to spend if found in the first one or two packs)

  • 2005 Topps Turkey Red Rich Harden #28 (caved, bought online)

  • 2007 Topps Horacio Ramirez #549 (held a contest on the Topps Message Boards. Person would guess what card would be the last one I'd need. This was the winner.)

Nowadays, since I've had a bit of disposable income, it's much easier to complete a set by buying one or two boxes of product. I could always get the insert sets online. But when I was younger and had to build my sets by hand, or even now when I decide to tackle an large insert set (ie. 2007 Topps Generation Now) by hand, it's always that last card that eludes me that gets me going. It's always that last card that mocks me. Haunts me. Taunts me. Until the day comes that I get my hands on it, the chase is on. And while many times I feel like Dick Dastardly failing for the umpteenth time to catch Yankee Doodle Pigeon, I'm the happiest man in the world when I find that last card.

Regardless of how one collects, every collector has a centerpiece to build around for his or her collection. It may not be the most expensive card in their collection. It may not necessarily be the one with the most number of colors on a piece of cloth. It doesn't have to have the cleanest on-card signature of their favorite player (or any player for that matter, unless you're a set collector of course). There is a friendly competition taking place between all collectors, seeing who has the best collection of whatever it is they collect. I can't speak for player or team collectors, but I have this impression that one of the factors in determining who has the better set is by how many cards of their focus they have. The more cards, the better right? The big competition between player collectors of the same player would be those elusive 1 of 1's. Bidding wars can make for classic stories, for the buyer, the seller, and even the person who lost out on it. As for me, the number of cards I have may be impressive, but when it gets dissected into what I have, then that might be a different story entirely.

For a set collector like me, the most important card is always the last one I need to finish a set. And it's always that last card that provides me the most memories about my adventures in card collecting.


JayBee Anama

Saturday, December 13, 2008

If This is His Topps Card, Then What Card is This?: Jose Guillen

And you thought I gave up posting for good. Did you miss me??? (Ego! That's it! Step away from the computer and don't come back until you settle down!)

I know it's been a few days since the last post, and it's been a busy time for me lately. Anyway, it's the weekend, and it's time for another stirring edition of everyone's favorite guessing game (geez, enough of the "it's" already!!!), What Card is This??? This week's subject played only one season with the Seattle Mariners as their right fielder (was one of the reasons why Ichiro was moved to center field). He is the ultimate journeyman, playing for seven teams before arriving in Seattle, and then after a year of playing at Safeco Field, left before the end of the year and joined the Royals to man the outfield at Kauffman Stadium. His name is Jose Guillen.

Jose Guillen signed with the Mariners as a Free agent before the end of 2006, and became their starting right fielder. Before you say, "Wait, wasn't that Ichiro's position???" Well, yes...yes it was. Ichiro was moved to center field to take advantage of his blazing speed and rocket arm, leaving right field open for the incoming Guillen. Now Guillen had a pretty decent year in 2007, hitting .290 with 23 home runs and 99 runs batted in. His contributions led to an 88-74 record, good enough for a second place finish in the AL West for the M's. To celebrate his arrival into the "Emerald City," Topps added his card as part of 2007 Topps series 2. Here is that card:

For many who may not be familiar with what Jose Guillen looks like, this card may not be a big deal. But for his friends and family, Jose Guillen card collectors (and there are some out there), and die hard fans of the Seattle Mariners, something was horribly wrong. This was not Jose Guillen. And they'd be correct.

The first card is an error card, ladies and gentlemen, as the picture in front belongs to Mariners shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt. How do I know??? Okay. The Guillen card is number 588 in the 2007 Topps set. Betancourt's card (the one above) is number 576, so anyone team collector, or astute set collectors would know that something immediately was amiss.

Now for those who still don't believe that this is an error card, Topps did something unique in 2007. They added a small square picture of the face of the player on the back of the card. And instead of using a new picture, they used the SAME one on the front. See below for both the backs of Betancourt and Guillen's cards:

As you can see, the back of the Guillen card has an entirely different picture than the front. This should prove that the card on the front is not Jose Guillen. With that said, here is card number 2 for comparison:

If you notice, the picture on the front matches the little picture on the back of Guillen's card. But the 2007 Topps Guillen card was never corrected. Even in the 2007 Topps Factory sets where they were able to do this, Topps didn't bother taking the time to correct the Guillen card and sneak it in.

So now, I ask that ever important question...

What Card is This???

I'm sure people will get this. Well maybe. Good luck. The answer will come either when someone gets it right, or in a couple of days, whatever comes first. Good luck.


JayBee Anama

UPDATE: Wednesday, December 17, 2008.

Scott C, writer of the Red Sox-oriented blog Green Monster chimed in with the correct answer this week. This card is from the 2007 Topps Seattle Mariners 14-card team set sold in retail stores. I was not going to dispute jacobmrley's answer of this card coming from the 2007 Topps Pepsi set. But after reviewing the checklist, the only Guillen on the 220 card set was Carlos Guillen, not Jose Guillen. I have an idea of what to do for the next installment. The knowledge of those in the Hobby blogosphere is incredible. jba

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Jeopardy! Tribute to Greg Maddux. The Category is: In Five Years.

I love Jeopardy. Haven't watched it in a long time (that's what I get for being away from home when it's on). But with the news that Greg Maddux has announced his retirement, I thought that this would be a fitting way to introduce this next subject.

Contestant: I'll take In Five Years for $2,000, Alex.

Alex Trebek: All right, in the category In Five Years. The answer is:

"In Five Years, after announcing his retirement from baseball on December 9, 2008, Greg Maddux will be this."

Contestant: What is...

Alex Trebek: You are correct.

(Cue polite audience applause).


JayBee Anama

P.S. : Please note that I don't have the actual card in front of me, I took the scan from an earlier post. When I get home tonight, I'll scan a better picture. jba

Topps Turns Back the Clock from 1986 to 1990.

Can't believe I'm wide awake for this right now. It's something I've thought about writing on this humble little blog, and is always something I've wanted to do since I bought my 1986 Topps set about 12 years ago or so.

Starting in 1986, Topps included a little subset called Turn Back the Clock amongst the 792 cards in their eponymous set. Now while this was not their first attempt at this (there had been a Turn Back the Clock subset in 1977...thanks to night owl for the correction), this was the first year that they included actual Topps cards to depict the year being discussed. The cards went spaced out in five year increments, so you had a card for Five Years Ago to Twenty-Five Years Ago. In 1986, that meant the focus was on the years 1981, 1976, 1971, 1966, and 1961. The fronts of each card had a picture of what that year's Topps cards looked like, and the backs of each card had a "Year in Review" in which the highlights for that particular year was discussed. The last highlight always had something to do with the player depicted on the front of the card. For example, Fernando Valenzuela's 1981 Topps card was featured on the front of the first 1986 TBC card #401, and the last highlight on the back of the card reads:

...but the major story in 1981 was written by Fernando Valenzuela whose 8 Shutouts earned him both NL's Rookie of the Year adn Cy Young Awards.

The other subjects that year were Tom Seaver (1976), Willie Mays (1971), Frank Robinson (1966), and Roger Maris (1961). Each player chosen was the "major story" of that particular year (each subject was introduced with the same words "...but the major story in...")

The following year, the Turn Back the Clock subset made it's heralded return, this time featuring the Topps cards of Rickey Henderson (1982), Reggie Jackson (1977), Roberto Clemente (1972), Carl Yastrzemski (1987), and Maury Wills (1962). And again each card had the highlights of that particular year and of course the "major story" was the player depicted in front of the card. Now all would be fine and the subset would have probably been an afterthought if not for the fact that Maury Wills did NOT have a Topps card in 1962. His first official base card was in 1967 Topps. So where did this card come from??? As with the 1975 MVP subset, they had to create a card of Wills just for the subset. How's that for tricking the collector. Can you imagine people who owned the 1962 set going, "Wait...I don't remember seeing thes card before? Do I have one???"

In 1988, the third year of the TBC subsets. Not knowing back when I started collecting that Topps had done this previously, I thought it was neat to see what cards from the years depicted looked like. The subjects featured that year were Nolan Ryan (1983), Jim Rice (1978), Ron Blomberg (1973), Bob Gibson (1968), and Stan Musial (1963), and highlights of that particular year was written on the backs of each card?

When 1989 Topps came rolling around, the five card subset made another appearance, and at that time, I actually did put both 1988 and 1989 subsets together to see what the cards looked like on consective years (1983-1984 for example). Featured that year were Dwight Gooden (1984), Lou Brock (1979), Hank Aaron (1974), Gil Hodges (1969), and Tony Oliva (1964). Tony Oliva was featured on a card with two other players, so Topps created a special card just for this special card.

The final time this subset was included in the big 792 card set was in 1990. I did again take all my subset cards and put them together to make a bigger timeline (three years in a row). While it was nice, I knew then that something was missing. It didn't take long to notice that Topps had done these the years before (1986-1987), and I was eventually determined to get all the cards together. The final five subjects for this five year, twenty-five card subset, were Dick Howser (1985), Mike Schmidt (1980), Fred Lynn (1975), Johnny Bench (1970), and Sandy Koufax (1965).

I bought the 1986-1987 Topps sets when I was much older, and although I said I wanted to put all twenty-five cards together to see what the full time line looked like, I never got around to do it. The cards were put away, never to be seen unless I take them out of their binders. Well, that ends tonight folks.


Not only did this subset give me (and most collectors) a crash course in baseball card history, but also in baseball history. It took a 25 year segment of baseball lore and condensed it into a way that kids could learn about the key events, people, and even what the cards looked like. It also gave older collectors a chance to look back and remember the events of their youth and the cards that captured those moments in time.

When the 2010 Topps baseball set comes out, it means that another 25 year period has ended (1986-2010). Will Topps bring back this subset for 2011-2015 Topps? Would they treat this as an insert set or a subset within the eponymous set? Can you imagine the events that have happened within the last 23 years alone? And who knows what could happen in the next two? How much information would they be able to squeeze onto a card? It would be nice to see this subset brought back to life in the near future. We'll just have to wait and see.


JayBee Anama

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Somebody Forgot to Respond to Comments!!!

In my blatant stupidity, I forgot to respond to some of the comments that were left on my humble little blog. This is my chance to make up for it.

Ninety comments were left since the last time I ran this segment. I can't comment on all of them (and in some instances I even responded to comments on the actual post itself), so here are some of the ones I can respond to:

To dayf the Junkie, who complimented me on listing the themes of the last 12-13 years of Topps cards, thank you. And sure enough, not only are the CMG exclusives going to be a major factor in the 2009 set, but they are going to be part of the base set as short prints similar to what they're doing with their basketball set. I guess the experimented this novelty in the basketball sets and it was received rather warmly. I am honestly hoping that this is just a one year run for the eponymous set. I'm kind of leery looking at the prospect of having to deal with shortprinted base cards in the money set. I mean it's fine for Heritage and A & G, but the name brand??? I'll get over it though...

The night owl posted a comment in my post about the 2002 Topps Future Archives "Light of Day" set about my persistence in searching for these cards. Honestly, it was my last resort. If nobody was going to respond, I was just going to give up. I was surprised that Clay Luraschi would take time to answer though. He helped the Topps company keep a customer that day.

Both of the above gentlemen also responded to my Post Halloween post regarding "the Voice of God" Bob Sheppard. I'm not one to criticize looks, and I know the guy is old. I just think that Topps could have found a better picture of the man. Thanks for understanding.

Thanks to the "anonymous" poster (who is a regular commenter) for being an unintentional accomplice for the biggest Punk'd in the Hobby blogosphere. You see, the guy at the Writer's Journey announce that he had the 2009 Topps design on his blog, and GOGOSOX60 was the gentleman who included a llnk to the post. I fell for it hook, line, and sinker. I'm not mad, and looking back, it's quite funny. That's what I get for being antsy about what the 2009 Topps design was going to look like.

To dayf, the guy at needmomorneau, friends of the blog the drizz and tdlindgren, and Mr. Anonymous again, thanks for the sympathy comments. My daughter was disappointed that her design was not the final one chosen for 2009 Topps, but her necklaces were a big hit in her school craft fair. And to the gentleman over at the Writer's Journey, who got more traffic on that one post than're welcome. That's what happens when I post stuff on message boards. Curiosity kills cats...big time.

To the gentleman who writes about White Sox Cards, thank you for the kind words. That last sentence should be posted on every English writing / journalism classroom across the country. "Write what's true to your heart and the rest will fall into place." That's powerful stuff right there.

About that post, I did get an e-mail from a blogger (won't mention who, but you might know who I'm talking about) regarding what I wrote. At the time, I was just upset about a few of the things that I was reading from both sites, and that made me think about what I was doing. He's was just upset that some companies are not willing to deal with bloggers while others have opened their arms to them. One day, some day, soon we'll have some pull with those first companies. We can only wait.

To another anonymous poster (I wish people would leave a name so I can acknowledge them properly), I don't know how John Lannan got in. I had Glen Perkins of the Twins myself. But I guess it doesn't matter what the W-L record is, Lannan had better stats than Perkins in 2008. So that may have put him over the top.

To dayf (again), and the girls over at Dinged Corners. I actually had no idea what the Junkie's post had to do with mine about the 100th birthday of Take Me Out to the Ballgame, but after seeing the video... Wow!!! That's all I can say. That's impressive.

That does it for another installment of responding to comments. This should be a once a month thing (unless I can respond within the post). I have to remember to get this going next month.


JayBee Anama

The Sports Card Blogroll Says Goodbye to...

When I created the Sports Card Blogroll, I mentioned that if a blog had not been updated in at least six months, it would be removed from the site. I wound up becoming extremely lenient with some of the blogs I added from the very beginning, in the event that the person who was in charge of it decided to come back. Alas, I've waited long enough. For the sake of cleaning up the blog roll (it looks bad when some of the blogs have not been updated in almost 11 months!!!), I am going to remove the following blogs from the roll:

I added links to each of these so if you can see what each blog was about. It's all about being committed to it I guess.

Now for those blogs that have ceased because they have completed it's run (like the 1988 Topps Basebal Cards - 88 Topps Cards) or those blogs who helped pave the way for many of the current crop of bloggers today that have announced their retirement (Ben Henry's The Baseball Card Blog), I am going to move those blogs from their current category to a new category called "Retired Sports Card Blogroll." It's not a Hall of Fame of sorts, but when a long time blogger decides to call it a career, then his or her blog deserves a permanent home on the blogroll. I will just have to be sure to take off the "last post" information on there, and just leave the name on the site on the blogroll. This is not a hall of fame section, but because the information on those sites will always be relevant to our Hobby, they deserve to remain long after the blogs closed for business.

If you are a new blogger to our Hobby and want to be added to the blogroll, please feel free to contact me at, so your site can be added to the Sports Card Blogroll.


JayBee Anama

Thursday, December 4, 2008

If This is His Topps Card, Then What Card is This?: Eric Hinske

I can't believe I forgot about this last weekend. Where is my head? Anyway, to make up for it, I hope that this week's What Card is This? is a bit more challenging.

This week's subject was the 2002 American League Rookie of the Year. In his four years with the Toronto Blue Jays, he was sent to different positions when upper management decided to bring in other players via free agency. Regardless of where he was assigned, he was always ready to play. And with the Blue Jays luck (or lack of it in many cases), there was always a place for him in the lineup. He can also lay claim to the fact that he reached the World Series in consecutive years with two different teams. He was part of the 2007 World Champion Boston Red Sox, and also a member of the 2008 AL Champion Tampa Bay Rays. This week, our subject is Eric Hinske.

Thanks to his stellar rookie season (.279, 24 HR's, 84 RBI's), major league managers had no problem voting him in as the third baseman for the 2002 Topps All-Star Rookie team. That meant that his 2003 Topps cards, the ones with the easily chippable blue borders, would include the prestigious rookie cup. So let's get to it shall we? Here is his 2003 Topps #40 card:

This card looks really good. These solid blue borders make any player from the Blue Jays, or for that matter, any team whose primary color is blue (like the Cubs, Dodgers, Royals) a work of art. And this one is no exception. The picture is nice and clear, and shows Eric on his follow through to first, as if the ball is about to drop in front of the outfielder for a hit. Done looking yet? Here's card #2:

I know what you're thinking. "It's the same card." "What kind of trick is this?" I can assure you that this is no trick. The above card is an actual card. Now before you get the pitchforks and torches out, just take a good look at card number 2. Do you notice anything? Anything at all? Is there something amiss? Can you figure it out? I'll give you a hint. I've mentioned it throughout the post.

Wait...there IS something missing. What in the...Where did it...

What Card is This???

Just to let you know, I did not remove anything from card number two. This is a real card. But now it's up to you to figure out what set this card is from. Good luck.


JayBee Anama

UPDATE: Saturday, December 6, 2008.

I thought that this would be a challenge. But the guy over at Stale Gum got the right answer. Yes, the second Hinske card comes from the 2005 (or is it 2006, I never could figure it out) Topps Rookie Cup set. If you are not familiar with this obscure set, it was Topps' way to cash in on all those collectors who seriously collect the players who make this team, specifically, the ones with the trophy on it. Now for a set devoted to the ASR team, I found it quite ridiculous that Topps failed to include the darn rookie cup in the reprint. And quite frankly, I didn't even know the guy (Chris) actually reads my blog.

On another note, friend of the blog tdlindgren (please check out his blogin's good reading) said that this card could be it's own What??! topic. Frankly, many cards in the 150-card reprint set could be a What??! topic. Why???
  • If Ryne Sandberg made the 1982 team (as stated on his base card), why did Topps reprint his 1984 card???
  • It also seems that Topps forgot what year Ozzie Smith was named to the team. He was the shortstop for the 1978 team, he had his rookie card in the 1979 Topps set, but they reprinted his 1980 card for their reprint set.
  • All six 1998 reprint cards have the wrong colored borders on it (I actually think they switched the colors from the 2002 set with this one).
  • On a couple of the 1994 cards, the borders are extremely thin (if not even existent).
  • What happened to Willie McCovey, and why was his card not included with this set?
  • How did they get six cards from the 2006 Topps set on here? I can understand including players from the 2005 Topps ASR team (as this was supposed to be a 2005 set), but the 2006 Topps cards had not come out yet? Why didn't they just put all ten guys in the set on here? Better question, what the heck are you supposed to call these cards? I mean, technically, they're reprints, but they came out before the regular cards did? I guess in the grand scheme of things, it won't matter, but...I don't know...

I love the set. I really do, and as of now, of the ten "prospects" they added (possible future ASR rookie team members), they got one right. Troy Tulowitzki was included as a short printed autograph card. And he did wind up winning the award in 2007. It remains to be seen what happens to the nine other guys (although I think Yunel Escobar has now missed his opportunity as he is no longer a rookie). jba