Saturday, February 28, 2009

2011 Topps Archives: Mickey Mantle

I want to thank friend of the blog tdlindgren, Steve from wait 'til next year, and Dan from The Other World for starting off the 2011 Topps Archives project with suggestions of who should be included. Many of their choices were of people I thought of right away (Ripken, Billy Williams, Molitor, the Killer B's), others were from way out there (Andy Seminick???). Hey, we have to start somewhere right?

Now in 2001, I'm sure Topps would have killed to have our first subject in the 2001 Topps Archives set. However, UD had the exclusive rights to him, so they couldn't. But now that he's back as a Topps exclusive, I don't think it should come as a surprise to anybody that the first cards of this set are going to be of Mickey Mantle.

First card: 1952 Topps #311. Last card: 1969 Topps #500.

Now, I don't actually have the real Mantle cards, these were blatantly taken from the 1996 Topps Mantle Reprint set. While it was easy to mask the Mantle patch on the 1952 card (all blue background can be covered by MS Paint), it was not as easy with the 1969 card. That's why the Arcvhives logo is much bigger here.

There are 199 players more to go...and I will take a number of players from the first set of comments under advisement.


JayBee Anama

Target Blasters are not in Yet. Hold Your Fire!!!

According to the gentleman who runs Trading Cards, TCG's and me, the Target Exclusives won't be out yet. Which is just as well as I didn't find any at the local shop. But he is showing a hint of displeasure in both WalMart putting this stuff out early, and for Topps for letting FanofReds in on the exclusive news. You can read what he has to say about it here. (Note: The link is no longer live as it has been deleted by it's author. I am leaving this part of my post up in case he decides to bring it back.)

I left these comments after reading what he had to say:


While I can certainly understand where you're coming from (as distributors, we have to make our money somehow), as a collector, I totally agree with Chris, dayf, Nachos, and the rest. If I didn't know this going into the store, and I bought a blaster of Topps, needing to complete a set, I would be wholeheartedly ticked if the cards I bought were different from what I expected them to be.

Now that we know, collectors have a choice...go for the regular set, go for the all black WalMart set, or go for the Target Throwback set. And now that we know what to look for, it makes it easy for us to know what we're looking for. That's not a bad thing.

However, many collectors don't read the blogs, and won't even see any of these posts. So they're going to go to their retailer, and find out for themselves. I'd rather not wait for the uproar this would bring.

One more thing...would it be possible for you (and if it's not, it's totally understandable) to put scans of sell sheets that the retailers get for these products similar to the way that some hobby shops scan their sheets online? Or would that kill any surprises that the retailers get? Would that be akin to "too much information?"

Because I also work for a distribution company (albeit for food), I can totally understand where he is coming from and why he's not totally pleased. But I'm happy to know that this information is out.

In the mean time, here is a scan of what the Target exclusive "Throwback" cards look like (see the old Topps logo). Now picture this card in the stock of 1952-1991 Topps.

It's time to party like it's 1989!!! Bring it on (well at least one blaster).


JayBee Anama

If You Were Looking For the Sports Card Blog Directory...

When I first started this humble little blog, one of the first things I did, (okay, it was at least the fifth or sixth) was try to get a little publicity that I was joining the blogosphere. To do that, I searched for blogs that I thought had a large viewing audience. Sure enough, after contacting a few people, I was added to a few blogrolls. One of them was the Sports Card Blog Directory, run by everyone's favorite Hobby Blogger, Mario Alejandro.

Mario's goal was to add more and more bloggers to the rolls, so that all of us who write about the Hobby we love so much, could get some recognition and at least show that this little niche is starting to grow. He even featured a number of bloggers in the main part of the directory so that the readers can see what each blog was about.

In July, I created the Sports Card Blogroll because I wanted the ability to keep up with some of other Hobby blogs, and click on the articles I wanted to read without having to search through other blogger's link lists to find their site. It was more of a tool for me to use, but as I said at the time I announced the creation of the site on my blog, others are free to use it too.

Lately, however, it seemed (as I was reading it, looking for new blogs to add) that the work involved in maintaining such a directory was becoming less of a priority. Mario even had admitted that he wasn't able to give as much attention to the directory as he had liked, and had asked around to see if someone could either take over the responsibility. He was able to update the blog (with the help of the guy from Treasures Never Buried), but that seemed to be a one time thing.

This afternoon, I received an e-mail from Mr. Wax Heaven asking what percentage of the Hobby Blogs do I have in my blogroll. As of right now, I have 197 active blogs (as far back as six months for some blogs who haven't posted in a while), which conservatively, could be at least 75% - 85% of the active blogosphere. After asking him why, he said he was thinking of shutting down the directory and wanted to recommend my blogroll. I said I'd be honored. This evening, he announced this on Wax Heaven:

The Sports Cards Blog Directory is officially closed.

and linked the Sports Card Blogroll as it's replacement.

So to all who have come looking for the Sports Card Blog Directory, I welcome you to my Sports Card Blogroll. Temporarily, I am removing the "view 25" option from the roll so that you can see all 197 sites that I have added over the last six months. If you have a Hobby blog, and don't see your site on the blogroll, please e-mail me at and let me know about your site so I can add it to the list. At 197 active blogs (give or take), we can show the Hobby world that the blogging community is growing.

Are we the new media? Perhaps. Will we take down the establishment? That remains to be seen. If that ever happens, at least we're here to pick up the slack.

Mario, I thank you for the opportunity. And to the Hobby blogging community, welcome to the Sports Card Blogroll!!! Feel free to click on the sponsor's site listed just underneath. I'm sure he could use a bit of publicity himself (okay ego, that wasn't necessary...).


JayBee Anama

Friday, February 27, 2009

Target in Sight...Ready...Aim...

I have to give credit to the gentleman who runs Nachos Grande. He took the initiative (why none of the rest of us did is beyond me) to send an e-mail to Topps asking about the "all black" cards found in blasters at WalMart. Needless to say, the answers are intriguing.

Ripped off verbatim from his e-mail response from the Topps Company:

Thank you for your inquiry. Please be advised, the Black bordered cards is a Wal-Mart exclusive.

To assist collectors in identifying the Wal-Mart exclusive “BLACK” cards in 2009 Topps Baseball Series 1, Topps is issuing the $19.99 Value Box’s 9-digit component code. This code can be found directly on the top of box’s bar code.

In addition, Target also has an exclusive $19.99 Value Box, which includes “THROWBACK” versions of 2009 Topps Baseball Series 1 featuring gray-back cardboard stock and the retro Topps logo. These boxes also have an identifiable component code found directly on top of the bar card.

The exclusive limited edition sets include each of the 330 subjects found in the 2009 Topps Series 1 Base Set. The codes are as follows:
Wal-Mart “BLACK” Cards
Code: 1-825-50-13-9
All the base cards found in this version of the VALUE BOX will be “BLACK”.

Target “THROWBACK” Cards
Code: 1-825-50-12-9
All the base cards found in this version of the VALUE BOX will be “THROWBACK”.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact our Customer Service team (By Phone: 800-489-9149, or by if you ever have any other questions, comments or suggestions. A customer service representative will be available to answer your questions between the hours of 8:30am-4:30pm (EST), Monday through Friday.
Consumer Relations
The Topps Company, Inc.

So as soon as I get out of work, and before I get home, it's off to Target. I have to see this for myself.


JayBee Anama

Let's Try This for Fun...Who Should Be Included in 2011 Topps Archives?

Should these cards be included in a new product called 2011 Topps Archives?

Barring an unforeseeable catastrophe, Topps will be celebrating 60 Years in the baseball card business. Now as we all know, 2001 saw the return of Topps Archives, creating a 450 card set featuring the reprinted first and last cards of 200 players, along with 10 managers, and forty all-star, league leaders, and postseason highlights cards.

Let's imagine that MLB Properties decided to allow Topps to make a set or two featuring retired players again. And let's also pretend that we all work for the product development department for the Topps Company (akin to the gentleman who runs the Sports Card File). It has now been agreed to bring back Topps Archives to coincide with Topps' 60th anniversary. So now it's time to pick players to go into the set. We're not going to consider autographs, relics, patch cards, or whatever right now. We have to decide who in the last 60 years should be included in this base set.

There is just one requirement though...we need to find 200 NEW players to be a part of this set. Meaning that any player who was included in the 2001 Topps Archives set can not be included in this set. Meaning, HOF's like Hank Aaron, Roberto Clemente, Nolan Ryan, Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Dave Winfield, Ozzie Smith, Ryne Sandberg, etc, as well as Fan Favorites like Bill Freehan, Mark Fydrich, Joe Garagiola, Andy Pafko, Andre Dawson, and so on, can't be in this set.

So now who can we include??? That's what this new blog segment is all about.

During the 2009 baseball season, I'm going to scan the first and last cards of players I think should be a part of this set. But I can't be doing all the thinking, nor should I be. Remember, I said "Let's (let US) pretend..." This is where you come in. Start putting in the comments during any future "Archives" posts who YOU think should be included in this new set. The requirements are that the player MUST be retired (or have stopped playing going into the 2009 season...2010 cards have not come out yet!!!), and that the player did not appear in the 2001 Topps Archives set (the Future Archives, as talked about here and here and pictured below as well, do not count).

I'll even add this handy 2011 Topps Archives logo onto the cards:

How about it. I don't think we're going to have a hard time picking names from the last 60 years. I mean, yeah, we can't use the obvious names mentioned earlier, but there have to be 200 guys in the last 60 years that we could use. Should we give this segment a chance??? If so, let me know who you'd like to see going into this set.


JayBee Anama

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Hunt for the CMG Shortprints Frustratingly Continues

Friend of the blog Don Avery from the Topps Message Board did it again. He has sent, and I have received,

Walter Johnson #287.

Don, I have gone over your revised lists, and will have everything ready to ship on Saturday. I truly appreciate you sending the cards and hope that what I send will help knock down some of your wants from your wantlist.

With that said, today, I have been going back and forth with at least four people, with me asking what it would take to get the SP cards they were either offering or plan on trading off their hands. Needless to say, I'm getting very frustrated.

One guy wants high end stuff. If you read my blog, you know that I don't go for high end stuff, and don't have anything close to that. The relics and autos I do have are from base Topps, and about as high end as it gets. Needless to say, I probably won't be able to trade with him.

Another guy has me on "queue" for two cards. I have to wait and see if the person he's dealing with will back out. Here's hoping.

A third guy has three SP's (he somehow was able to get all 19 cards while I haven't even seen one in all the packs I've opened). This is the same guy that I promised the gold cards too, but he somehow has completed the 2009 Topps I gold set (330 cards, wow) and is a few cards short of completing the WalMart black set (owed it to good collation). I have to hope that I have what he needs now and pray that it would be enough. Somehow, I'm starting to doubt it.

I have not even heard from the fourth guy at all today for one card. I sent him what I found (he was not asking for much), and I can offer more items if need be, but he was pretty vague on what "and other stuff" means.

So between these four people, I had the opportunity to get 8 SP cards, all different. But in the end, I probably will end up with nothing.

I'm going to keep trying though. Worst case scenario, that tax refund is going to come in very handy when it shows up. Hopefully by then, the prices of these SP's will be much, much lower on the Bay. I'll be honest, I've found it much easier to trade with set collectors than it is with player collectors and high-end collectors. At least I know I have a chance with people building sets. In other years, I would have bought every last SP card on the Bay and be done with it. But right now, it's just frustrating.


JayBee Anama

UPDATE: Thursday, February 26, 2009.

That fourth guy mentioned in the above post finally responded to my e-mails. We have gone back and forth, and after telling me what he was interested in, he is getting a grand total of nine cards for a Christy Mathewson SP card. Here's to hoping. jba

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Enjoying the Darkness on These 2009 Topps Cards

So I did get to go to WalMart today and I did buy a blaster box after hearing the news of these black parallel cards. Sure enough, all 10 packs I opened had these black pictured cards in them, with only the player showing through the darkness.

I actually am beginning to like these cards. This, as some black stuff is starting to ball up and go up my arm like an alien symbiote...

They really don't look that bad. Just akin to 1995 Topps Cyberstats without that foil appearance. And because of the black borders, they are susceptible to chipping (just like 2007 Topps). I really think that these are similar to those unannounced parallels from the past two years (remember the red backs from 2007 and those gold foils in 2008). Which, if packed out properly, wouldn't be all that bad.

So what happened here? Did the vendor assigned to pack out these cards mess up? Did all Wal-Mart blasters for series I come from the same place? Will this be happening with series 2? Will these things show up at Target then? What's going on over there?

On the Stale Gum blog, the person who runs Trading Cards, TCG's and Me, the card blog from the distributor's point of view, left a comment stating that he will be able to "give a complete rundown on this" development. I'm looking forward to what he has to say.

Anyway, I'm going to keep the cards for now. I'm not planning on building a set of these...I just wanted to see what the fuss was about.


JayBee Anama

P.S. In case you're wondering, the bonus relic card that I got was of Nolan Ryan and the patch commemorating the 1969 World Series.

Sorry, someone has already claimed the card for trading. jba

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Beckett Better Catch Up!!! They Have These Listed in the Wrong Year!!!

Remember these cards???

I talked about them on this post a few months ago...take a look and then come back.

Well, the Number One Source in the Hobby finally got around to adding the first fifteen cards of this 30 card set (not 45 cards, just 30) into their database. There's just one problem though...

They have these cards listed as 2009 Topps KMart!!!

Eric, could you please ask the wonderful folks (they really are, after all, it takes a lot of patience to type each card onto a database) who add cards to the "My Organize" database to change the misleading year from 2009 to 2008? I also added in the Beckettpedia section the other fifteen cards that were included in 2008 Topps Series II from this set. Please get this fixed...otherwise you're going to have people looking in vain for these cards in packs and boxes of 2009 Topps, only to find out that they came out THE YEAR BEFORE!!!

Thank you very much.


JayBee Anama

I'm Heading to WalMart Tomorrow. Here's Why!!!

Okay, so I said I wouldn't be buying any more series I cards. But thanks to the Junkie (because I saw his post on it first), my curiosity has been piqued.

It seems that both the gentleman who runs John's Old School Breaks, and the gentleman who writes for Nachos Grande, both discovered full packs...that's right...FULL PACKS...of cards that look exactly like this in their blaster boxes:

No, not the card on the left...the card on the right!!! Image courtesy of Nachos Grande.


I've just gone on the Bay. Maybe somebody would be able to explain this, if at all. This is what I found:

The people selling cards on the Bay are saying that these cards can only be found in blasters at WalMart. Holy Alex Gordon Batman! Don't tell KO!

Could this be the unannounced parallel cards, akin to the 2007 Topps Red Backs and 2008 Topps Gold Foil cards? Why are there full packs of this stuff? Why haven't we been warned about it? And how come people are only finding out about this now...more than three weeks since the product went live??? Topps,

What were you thinking??!

Wait I knew that if the blog world got a hold of this news, it would make us collectors want to buy more cards. Well you know what??? You got this one customer...hook, line, and sinker.

See you at WalMart!!!


JayBee Anama

Monday, February 23, 2009

One Down, 18 SP Cards to Go...

The chase is on folks. I have decided to go after the 19 SP cards in 2009 Topps Series I. I'm going to try and show restraint and as best as I can, try to acquire these either by trading or buying at eBay at extremely reasonable (meaning under $10.00) prices. Today, I begin my 19-card expedition. Introducing the first card acquired via trade...

George Sisler #115.

These cards are awesome up close. I think Topps did an incredible job picking the pictures to use for the SP's (by now, EVERYONE has seen what all of them look like). I want to thank new friend of the blog Don Avery from the Topps Message Board for this card. We are already in talks regarding the acquisition of the second SP card he has found, Walter Johnson. Don, I sent you the cards you needed. Please review, and let me know what you need, or if you have an updated list.

So, let the games begin!!!


JayBee Anama

I Lost Some People. I'm So Sorry!

I know that I don't have as many "followers" as other blogs (they write more often than I do, they write a whole lot better than I do, and they truly deserve the numbers of people who publicly follow them), but I do look at the followers section from time to time, and I am always happy to see the number of people who actually follow the blog go up when it does. Yesterday, I had 41 followers, and I thank each and every one of you for even thinking that my blog is worthy of following/keeping up with/reading.

This morning, however, I noticed that I have 39 followers. Which means that two people left. Needless to say, I was mortified.

This situation reminded me of that old United Airlines commercial, where the boss is telling his office staff that after 30 years, their oldest customer fired them. And he knew the problem. It's because of a lack of personal communication. Business used to be done with a handshake. Now it's done with a phone call, and a fax. To remedy this problem, the boss gave each employee airline tickets to go meet their customers in person. One of the employees asked, "So Ben, what are you going to do now?" Ben responded, "I'm going to see that old customer who fired us this morning."

After figuring out who did, I wonder if I've lost a step. I wonder if I have not lived up to their expectations. I wonder if I have not kept my promises (actually, I KNOW I haven't kept some promises on this humble little blog). But does that mean that I've no longer become good enough to a couple of people?

I promised last year that I'd review the All-Star teams I created in my younger days. I never got around to it because I had to find my notebook and other loose papers. I've found them all. They will be announced one year at a time (we're talking about 1988-2008 people...). There will be columns on the blog (which when I tried it last year, there was a huge gap that I couldn't figure out how to shrink...), with names. Lots of names. Players whom you may not have thought about. There are Hall of Famers on many of these teams. And there are guys who you'll wonder what possessed me to put them on an All-Star team. But I promise, I'll do better.

There will be more cards pictured. There will be more "What??!" of the week articles, and I hope to find more variation cards for the "If This is His Topps Card..." segment, as well as more "Light of Day" stories. The point is, I've got to start becoming more relevant.

All this will be done on this humble little blog...after I send e-mails to the people who stopped following the blog, apologizing for my inconsistencies.


JayBee Anama

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Overdue Responses to Comments and the Last Box Break!!!

Okay, I know it's been a while, but it's time to respond to questions, comments, complaints, and apparently, trade requests.

First, let's focus on yesterday's box break.

Joey, I'll have to get back to you to see if the Kinsler is still available. The person I'm talking to said he needed the card, but is getting more cards, so it's going to be a wait and see thing. I'll e-mail you when I find out.

Rod, thanks for the history lesson on Eddie Kunz. If anything, this should go to show that I don't do any kind of prospecting due to my not even knowing who this guy is.

Speaking of the Kunz card, two people have expressed interest in the card. I'm not looking for much, but any 2009 SP card, or any Target or WalMart exclusive Legends of the Game cards would work. Please e-mail me at with what you would offer for the card.

William, I'd take any 2009 SP card if you have one for the Ripken patch. If not, I'd be interested in selling it to you. Please e-mail me as well if you are interested.

To friend of the blog the drizz, I knew you'd want that Granderson card (did I over hint that???) I e-mailed you and the cards will be on their way to you this week.

Now, on to other questions and comments...

Dan, that Jed Lowrie card you asked about is the 1/1 Platinum card. Golds are numbered /2009, the black cards are /58.

Anonymous, (why be anonymous...I don't bite) printing plates are not variations. They are what you'd consider parallels, and even that is debatable. I wouldn't call it a variation because the image is the same as the regular card. Now if it was entirely different, then we have another story.

Eric, thank you very much for the comment. That does mean a lot to me. I was exposed to Panini a long time, and their products may have shaped the way I look at collecting cards today. I still think that it's too bad that Topps is being taken out of the hoops game, but it's only for three years...right???

Jeremy of the Hall of Fame Cards blog, thanks for the legal insight. I don't think Topps gave the license to the O-Pee-Chee brand to UD, I think UD bought the rights from Nestle (or whatever company owned the name). O-Pee-Chee has been around longer than Topps, and if UD really wanted to capitalize on the name, they would use the OPC designs from the 30's and 40's. Using the "designs" from the 60's through the 80's is akin to openly mocking Topps in my opinion. I think, if they are able, that Topps should sue. But what do I know, I'm no lawyer. I'd like to think that Topps wouldn't be crazy enough to stoop down to the level UD is at right now (and that's pretty low).

The gentleman who writes for the Sports Card File boldly predicted that if MLBP decides to go with the one company exclusive route, that they would award Topps with the license. That would be nice, but I think competition, even if it is with one other company, is good for the hobby.

That's all for now. The Oscars are over. Again, I saw none of the movies that was up for the running. So now, I'm packing it in for the night. Until later...


JayBee Anama

Saturday, February 21, 2009

2009 Topps Series I Jumbo Box Break

It's been two weeks since I bought this thing and I've finally gotten around to breaking it open. Needless to say, I got my complete set, 50 insert cards, and 6 "hits."

I'm not going to spare you the details on the cards as by now you've already seen them. Unfortunately, I did not get an SP card (and remember, the Mantle card IS NOT A SHORT-PRINT!!!), nor a WBC redemption. But while the box guaranteed two relics and an autograph, I got my two relics, and TWO autographs. Here are the results:

Ten ToppsGold Cards:

  • Rafael Furcal
  • Fredi Gonzalez
  • Vladimir Guerrero
  • John Baker
  • Andrew Miller (sorry Mario, it's spoken for...unless you got it already)
  • Erik Bedard
  • Ryan Church
  • Jeff Francoeur (sorry dayf, it's spoken for...I'll explain why in a minute)
  • Roy Halladay
  • Scott Rolen
Two Blue Jays, Three Marlins, and Vladi. How cool is that. Unfortunately, all are spoken for. Why? Because someone traded me five WalMart Dick Perez cards last year, and asked for ToppsGold cards. I promised him all my Gold cards that I get. So along with a Ryan Sweeney and a Manny Delcarmen gold card that I got from the 28 packs, this gentleman is getting what you see above. Now unless someone can quickly e-mail me and can cough up the WalMart Lance Berkman card I need...

Ten Ring of Honor Cards:

  • Dwight Gooden (1986 Mets)
  • Ivan Rodriguez (2003 Marlins)
  • Darryl Strawbery (1999 Yankees)
  • David Ortiz (2007 Red Sox)
  • Ryan Howard (2008 Phillies)
  • Orlando Cepeda (1967 Cardinals)
  • Andy Pettitte (2000 Yankees)
  • David Justice (2000 Yankees)
  • Gary Carter (1986 Mets...foil missing on top half of name)
  • Jim Leyland (1997 Marlins)
Not bad. Now remember, all the ROH cards in series one are odd. Why? Because the even cards will be the in-store promotion this year.

Ten Legends of the Game Cards:

  • Christy Mathewson
  • Walter Johnson
  • Babe Ruth
  • Mel Ott
  • Jackie Robinson
  • Roy Campanella (twice)
  • Bob Gibson
  • Nolan Ryan (and you won't believe what also came in the pack this card came from)
  • Cal Ripken, Jr (see Nolan Ryan)
These look really nice. Now it makes me want to go after the cards from both Walmart AND Target. And I thought that Topps was cutting me a break here.

Ten Turkey Red Cards:

  • Ian Kinsler
  • Andre Ethier
  • Ryan Ludwick
  • David Ortiz
  • Jose Lopez
  • Garrett Atkins (twice)
  • Aubrey Huff
  • Cole Hamels
  • Geovany Soto
Most of these are reserved for a guy who may be trading two of the SP's. Stay tuned.

Ten ToppsTown Cards:

  • Chipper Jones
  • Hanley Ramirez
  • Evan Longoria
  • Ryan Howard
  • Alex Gordon
  • Lance Berkman (gold)
  • Ryan Howard (gold)
  • Alex Gordon (gold)
  • Johan Santana (gold)
  • Hanley Ramirez (gold)
Not bad. So that means, with one ToppsTown Gold card from the 26 packs, I have six gold cards to split between my two kids and me. All codes are going to be used.

Okay...I've bored you to death with the inserts. Here are the "hits":

One Silk Card:

Johnny Cueto

One Topps Black Card:

Randy Johnson

Two Autograph Cards:

Curtis Granderson

I can only imagine that this card is going to somebody as a prize...he's still thinking about it though...)

Eddie Kunz

Mets prospect. Don't know who this is...


Sorry, it's time for Wheel of Fortune. Hold on...

Pat: Okay, Brenda, you're up.

(Brenda spins the wheel. Stops at 1,000 triangle.)

Pat: One thousand.

Brenda: I'd like an N please...

(The board lights up two squares. Sound effect "ding" two times. Vanna walks across boards, touching button to reveal...

Pat: That's two N's Brenda...and two thousand dollars. Would you like to solve the puzzle???

Okay, that's enough Wheel. The two relics were manufactured patch cards of Cal Ripken Jr, and Nolan Ryan. The funny thing was that each card appeared in the same pack as it's Legends of the Game card. What are the odds???

Well that's all for tonight. I have to e-mail a few people this evening. I'm not buying any more cards for now. But at least I came up with something good. If anybody wants any of the above cards, let me know.


JayBee Anama

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Answer for This Week's Trivia Question, February 16, 2009.

Thanks to all who participated in this week's trivia question. Before I give out the answer, let me show you the actual set:

Here is the 1998 Topps Clout Nine Set...can you tell who the "seat filler" is?

It's Vinny Castilla!!! If you notice on all of the other cards his picture moves from one spot to another, filling the space of the person who is in the middle of the card.

The winner of the trivia question turned out to be the first person to respond. To friend of the blog the drizz, I won't ding you for mis-spelling the guy's name. But you win the prize. I will e-mail you with a list of cards so you can pick one (either a relic card or an autograph card).

The backs of each card show leaders, by position, in "clout quotient" which Topps describes as "the sum of on-base plus slugging percentages, a statistically meaningful measure of comprehensive batting performance." Rotisserie players know this statistic as OPS (on-base percentage + slugging percentage). And six years later, Topps added this stat to the backs of every batters cards (WHIP or walks + hits / innings pitched was added to all pitcher's cards).

So congrats to the drizz, and to all who commented, thanks for playing.


JayBee Anama

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A Few Quick Thank Yous and Notes About ToppsTown in 2009.

A huge thank you is in order for the gentleman who runs Grand Cards (the Curtis Granderson mega-blog). For sending him a number of cards off his wantlist, I got in exchange the five cards that make up the 2008 Topps Detroit Tigers factory bonus set (previously discussed here). Love the cards and have added it to the increasingly heavy binder that holds all my 2008 Topps cards.

Another thank you has to go out to friend of the blog Jason Fry for sending me three Mets cards that came exclusively in the factory sets, specifically for the Angel Pagan card found in the 2008 Mets factory set. Former Cub factor here. And that reminds me that I will have to do a "Light of Day" post sometime before the end of the week.

Also, I have just finished sorting through the 12 + 16 packs of 2009 Topps that I bought at Target (wait...I didn't mention that I went back and bought 16 more packs???). I know with those I'm nowhere near a complete set (which is a moot point since I bought a full master set on eBay). My kids and I have already sorted out the ToppsTown cards (so don't ask for codes, you can have the cards though after they've entered the codes in the computer though). And will enter the codes later this week. I've already entered mine (we each got nine cards each, and there is one gold card that will go to one of the kids), and in either my haste or my sleepiness, I must have transposed a couple of letters or something because I am now the proud owner of 8 ToppsTown BASKETBALL cards. So I want to publicly say I'm sorry to the person who will get this actual code, try to enter it, only to find out it was already used. Nobody stars amongst the eight I got, so don't panic, but still, I'm sorry.

The ToppsTown cards look great, and each one has their own Topps Attax statistics ready for play. I entered the code on the Topps Attax card (which by the way is the same code on all cards, but you can apparently use it once per account), and got bonus ToppsTown cards to boot. I really can't wait for this Attax thing to start.

Finally, I'd like to welcome back friend of the blog (and eBay rival) Craig in Texas to the blogosphere. With the upcoming release of Topps Heritage, he's been posting on a more frequent basis. Check him out at his blog called My Topps Cards. This guy has an incredible collection, with complete sets dating back to the 60's. He is probably about a hundred or so cards away from completing the ultimate master set of Topps cards...from 1952 to now!!! He was even able to get those 2006 Topps Alex Gordon cards before KO jacked up the price.

That's all for now. Until next time.


JayBee Anama

President's Day and Topps Insert Sets

Another holiday has come and gone, and again, I'm late with posting a baseball card related topic on this humble little blog. Either I save this for next year, or release it to the masses now.

Better do it now...

I'll admit, while I'm really good at geography, I was never that great at US History. It doesn't mean I was a bad student, I did get good grades in History, but it wasn't high on the interest list when I was younger. Looking back, I should have paid a lot more attention as I realize now that the current events that I lived through will become the History lessons my children will be learning about when they get older. In the last decade, I've watched and listened to the news on a daily basis. While I will admit that I'm not too keen on current events, I do try to keep up with it as best as I can.

For the last two Presidential election years (2004 and 2008), Topps has honored the distinguished gentlemen that have taken the oath of office of the President of the United States of America by inserting cards about them in their baseball card products. Now while Presidents have always been a trading card subject, it was only recently that Topps specifically included these politically-influenced cards in packs of baseball cards and other sports cards.

In 2004, Topps Series II included a 42 card set called Presidential Pastimes. From the kids in George Washington's time playing a game called one old cat, which involved a batter, pitcher and two bases, or goal ball, where the batter had to reach a number of goals or bases, to George W. Bush's involvement in the game as owner of the Texas Rangers, each card was full of information about Presidents and their connection to the game of baseball, no matter how far they could stretch the game's history to the President. Most of the pictures used for this set utilize the actual Presidential Portraits, but beginning with President William Taft, the rest of the pictures (with the exception of Jimmy Carter, who is pictured sawing a piece of wood), show the Presidents throwing out, or preparing to throw out, the first pitch of a ball game. Did you know that President Ronald Reagan used to broadcast baseball games for the Cubs???

In 2006, Topps included cards for each of the signers of both the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution of the United States. Both sets featured men who would eventually become President. The 2007 Turkey Red set also included an insert set of cards of all 42 POTUS as well (looking like Presidential Portraits with those wood borders...classy). All three years of Allen & Ginter even had cards of selected Presidents who served around the era of the original A & G cards.

In 2008, another election year, Topps went President-insert-card-crazy. It all started with the Presidential Candidates set introducing six candidates from both the Democratic and Republican parties in series 1. This twelve card set eventually became a 16 card set, which included an ex-Vice President who wasn't even running, a governor who Constitutionally can't run for President (until they pass that 63rd Amendment before the year 2032...Demolition Man reference), and two cards of the GOP VP candidate, one of which included a picture of her winning a beauty pageant.

Topps Series 2 introduced us to the Historical Presidential Campaign cards in series 2 which included the election results of every Presidential election from 1792 to 2004, along with one card that commemorating the Democratic campaign of 2008. If I ever wanted to know how many times George McGovern or Adlai Stevenson lost in the elections, this set will definitely help answer those questions.

With 2008 Topps Updates and Highlights, the First Ladies of 41 of the POTUS (James Buchanan was a bachelor) took center stage alongside their husbands for their own insert set. Can anybody (Punk Rock Paint, or Goose Joak) make a card featuring the newest First Couple???

There has been mixed reaction to these cards being included into packs of Topps Baseball Cards. While many people welcomed these cards and sets into their collections, others were angry that these cards were even created.

"Why include non baseball subjects in our cards?"
"I don't like them."
"I don't want to see these kinds of cards in my baseball cards!!!"
"If I wanted to buy President cards, I'd do that. But I'm buying baseball cards. These should not be in here!!!"

Why the outrage? This is American history. What do you people think baseball cards are? Pictures of history, even if it is baseball. Why not have these cards in packs? Ten years, we'll remember 2008 as a historic year. The Presidential campaign took up a lot of space on TV, radio, the newspapers, the Internet. Years from now, I'll whip out my 2008 Topps album, look at all the Presidential cards and think back to what may have been current events then, but will become part of US History my kids will be studying. I'm not saying that I'm going to let my kids use these cards as references when they do their reports, but at least they'll have something interesting to display when they need visual aids. And what better flash cards to use if they ever have to remember the names of the POTUS than these cards?

In 2012, another Presidential campaign will be thrust upon us. And guess what? We'll get to look forward to more Presidential cards. Isn't that exciting???


JayBee Anama

Monday, February 16, 2009

Topps Trivia Question of the Week, February 16, 2009

It’s time I post on a more frequent basis, and what better way to kick off the new week with a new Topps Trivia Question of the Week. This week’s question involves one of the lesser known, but tremendously impossible-to-find-in-complete-set-form inserts from 1998 Topps called Clout Nine.

1998 Topps Clout Nine was a nine-card set found at a rate of 1:72 packs of 1998 Topps Series 2 featuring the top hitters by position (your usual eight plus the designated hitter). The design was very interesting (as was many of the insert sets Topps included that year). The background picture of ominous blue-grey clouds looks like a storm is about to hit, with a color picture of the player positioned in the middle of two columns consisting of eight (four per side) small trapezoidal black (or blue, or gray) and white pictures of the other players in the set. Today’s question involves the small pictures on either side of the player on the cards.

As many of you probably know, during one of those awards shows (like the Academy Awards or the Emmy’s), the producers hire people to fill the seats lower part of the theatre. A “seat-filler” if you will. So that if someone has to run to the bathroom, present an award, or perform on stage, someone can sit in that seat to make it appear that there is a capacity crowd and that no seat was left empty. It’s kind of like musical chairs with no missing seats. Can you imagine what that would be like? “Okay, Brad Pitt just left his seat, go and sit next to Angelina while he’s presenting an award…”

Okay, WAKE UP!!!

Let’s get back to the point, shall we? All but one player in this set was assigned a specific square on each card, leaving the last person as the “seat-filler.” On each card in the set, the “seat-filler’s” picture got to appear where the player normally would be among the eight squares. And the only card that showed all eight players in their assigned square was on the “seat-filler’s” card itself. Hopefully, you get what I’m talking about.

I do not want to show scans of the cards themselves because then the answer would be obvious. I’ll save the scans until I post the answer later this week. The question is:

Who is the Clout Nine “seat-filler?”

Your choices are:
  • C1 Edgar Martinez, DH
  • C2 Mike Piazza, C
  • C3 Frank Thomas, 1B
  • C4 Craig Biggio, 2B
  • C5 Vinny Castilla, 3B
  • C6 Jeff Blauser, SS
  • C7 Barry Bonds, LF
  • C8 Ken Griffey, Jr., CF
  • C9 Larry Walker, RF
The answer will be posted later on this week. Please feel free to answer the question in the comments. The first person who gets it right will get a prize this time. I spent the weekend (the reason why I didn’t post anything substantial) reorganizing the chaos called “my extra cards.’ I didn’t realize this, but I have a good number of relics and autographed cards from the last few years that were in amongst the mess. Whoever gets the answer correct will win their choice of a list of relics and autographed cards that I found (relics include Tony Gwynn, Chase Utley, Mike Piazza, Ichiro, Alex Gordon; autos include Tom Gorzelanny, Steve Holm, Mike Neu, Bert Campaneris, Curtis Granderson). You only get one answer, and you can only leave a comment once. Even if you don’t have the cards (or for that matter have no idea what I was talking about above), you can still leave your response in the comments. Good luck.


JayBee Anama

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Mickey Mantle's 2009 Topps Card is NOT a Short-Print or Variation Card!!!

I've been going over auctions on the bay, seeing if the prices of the 19 Topps SP cards included with 2009 Series I have gone down. And they have, to somewhat reasonable levels (currently anywhere from $1.00-10.00, I'll wait until they come down some more...). However, I've noticed something disturbing here.

First, there are a number of auctions for the 2009 Topps Mickey Mantle #7 card (I do NOT want to put links to the offending auctions here, they do not deserve the publicity) on the Bay stating that this card is a short print variation card.

WHAT??! The Mantle card is a short print??! There's a variation??? SINCE WHEN??!

Maybe it's because his Topps card lists him as a shortstop, and the picture does show him in a possible shortstop throwing pose (think turning a double play). Maybe it's because there are 17 other legends short printed in the set. Maybe it's because some message board poster linked one of my posts, where I wrote, "And yeah, Mickey Mantle comes back as card #7. This time though, there is no current player that gets short printed as a variation...YET!!!"


Please repeat after me...


There has been no news about this card being short printed, nor is there an actual living player who is listed as card #7 in the set. There is no second card of Mantle in 2009 Topps showing him as an outfielder. In fact, until Topps no longer has Mantle as an "Exclusive", card #7 will be reserved for Mantle in the big eponymous set. He was not part of the 17 player CMG deal. Stop calling this card a short print!!! And besides, even if it was one, don't you think (and I'm talking to you eBay Sellers!!!) it would be a good idea to put in the "regular" number 7 card for comparisons sake??? Here, I'll even put a picture of it here to show you what it looks like:

2009 Topps #7 Mickey Mantle Card. Not a Shortprint, nor a Variation!!!

Please compare this card to the scan of your "short-printed" variation card, and tell me if there are any glaring differences between the two? Guess what??? You can't!!!

So I am asking all of you, imploring all of you, buyers and sellers alike, on eBay or otherwise, please stop calling this card a short print. Please don't buy it or treat it like any of the other 19 cards. It is not a short print. It is not a variation card. I can't say it enough.

Rant over. Stepping off the soapbox. We now return you to your regularly scheduled blog posts.


JayBee Anama

P.S. For those who think I'm nuts for posting this, if you do indeed have a short printed Mantle card and want to prove me wrong about the whole thing, please send the card to me. Send an e-mail to, provide me a scan, I'll give you my mailing address, send me the card, and I will cease and desist all further posting about this topic. jba

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Blog Bat Around: In Ten Years...It Will Be All About Albert and Ichiro

The ladies at Dinged Corners are hosting the fourth edition of the Hobby Blog phenomenon known as the Blog Bat Around. For those who are new and/or don't know what I'm talking about, by all means, click here, here, and here to see the first three editions. I'll wait until you come back...but don't take too long!!!

The question for this round, although brief, was really a challenge for me to answer. I may have been around the Hobby for 22 years, meaning I've seen enough ten year periods, but to come up with products now that actually might be valuable in ten years??? I'm no prognosticator. Heck, I'd make a terrible prospector. I couldn't tell you what prospect is going to make an impact in the upcoming season, let alone ten years from now. And I still have my old Topps Magazines from 1990-1993, and looking back almost twenty years later, even the Topps company swung and missed at what players were going to do well in the big leagues.

The topic for the fourth Blog Bat Around is this:

Which baseball card or set do you believe will be valuable in ten years? In other words, no matter what happens with the player(s) or industry going forward--injury, steroid accusations, drugs, gambling charges, the demise or ascendancy of Topps, Donruss and Upper Deck--what single card or set from baseball cards past or present do you believe is an absolute BUY and HOLD?

Now, as a set collector, the most vogue pick right now would be the 1992 Bowman set. So many rookie cards in this set. From Manny, to Mike Piazza to Mariano, and on and on...many who've made their mark in the majors who will get to Cooperstown when their time comes. But I don't have this set, so this is not my answer.

Nor would vintage cards be it (anything produced before the 1950's). Why? Because we already know that these cards, from the T206 Wagner, to the DeLong Gehrig, to the Bowman Mantle, and every card in between will always command high prices, and even the commons are in constant demand. Whether it be ten years from now, or a fifty years from now, these cards will always hold their value, if not increase. So this is not my answer either.

The Bowman Albert Pujols Gold Refractor Autograph card? The reason why prospecting is the biggest trend in the Hobby presently? Well, yeah. But even that card has had it's share of controversy. Specifically the fact that for some unknown reason, there has been sightings of at least three of these cards numbered 5/whatever the print run is. Because Pujols' number is five, that seemed to be the most valuable card from its entire print run. But it seems that some jokers were able to wipe off the number and change it to a five. Thus, increasing it's value. I don't even have this card I'm not going to use it as my answer.

If I were to pick one set that I feel will hold or increase it's value ten years from now, it would have to be the 2001 Topps set.

I'm sorry...WHAT??! Did this guy just say 2001 Topps? That green bordered set?

Yes, that one. If you really want me to be precise, it would be this and it's Traded and Rookies counter part. And perhaps the Chrome set as well.

Now why would I pick this set out of all the other ones? I'll give you two players...and these two guys carried the Hobby in 2001. Period. End of sentence.

Ichiro Suzuki and Albert Pujols. It is these two guys that made collecting popular in 2001. Not a day during the 2001 season went by without a story about how Pujols just seemed to come from nowhere to become this bonafide power hitter, or how Ichiro was silencing all the critics who said that a Japanese player couldn't make it as a hitter.

Topps was able to add Ichiro to their series II product,

but for some reason, they were not able to sign him to a contract to appear in a number of their other sets. In fact, after 2001 Topps, Ichiro didn't appear in any other product until Topps Gallery (in both an English and Japanese version no less). So he was left out of Heritage, Bowman, Bowman Chrome, Finest, Stadium Club, and Topps Chrome products.

Nobody expected Albert Pujols to make the team out of spring training. He had only played A ball the year before, so it was understandable. Still, because he did make the 25 man roster in St. Louis, Pujols appeared in many of the products that Ichiro did not, and they were all considered his true rookie cards. But Topps still left him out of the base set.

They both made their respective All-Star teams that year (in Seattle, no less). Ichiro helped spark the Mariners to the best record in baseball. While in St. Louis, the Cardinals were kept in contention thanks to the offensive firepower the future "Phat Albert" brought to the plate. And after the dust settled, and the Diamondbacks won the World Series, there was no doubt who would be named Rookie of the Year in either league.

I mentioned earlier that Pujols was left off the eponymous set. But Topps somehow made up for this slight. Because they had not signed Ichiro to a contract, he was left out of a number of other products, including Topps Chrome. Guess who was added to the set as a Late Addition?

And then, when the time came for the Topps Company to put out it's Topps Traded and Rookies set, they decided not only to distribute these in pack form (compared to the last two years where it came in a factory set), but also add two Topps Chrome Traded cards in every pack. Every card in the traded set, even the 45 card reprint set (the Traded version of the 50 Card Topps Through the Years set), would have a Chrome version. What a great idea.

Sure enough, Pujols made his regular Topps card debut:

But wait, he already had a Chrome card. Does that mean he would also get a Topps Chrome Traded card too? Well, yes he did (sorry, I don't have that one. Just pretend that the card above looks a lot darker...darn scanner...and has a Topps Chrome logo on it).

Because they were now including a Chrome version of the Topps Traded set, Topps decided that because Ichiro did not make the regular Chrome set, that he would be included in the Traded set. So he was added to the Traded set, as a Chrome card only, #T266. The regular Traded set ended at #T265, so there was no base Traded card for Ichiro.

Now that's not to say that there is nothing else to talk about with 2001 Topps or Topps Traded and Rookies. Let's go over the rest of the set. It was the last year that Topps made cards of Cal Ripken, Jr. and Mark McGwire as players. As fans and collectors, we were on a first name basis with many of our heroes Sammy, Derek, Barry, Nomar, Randy, Vladimir, Pedro, and Chipper. Or if you had to use last names, you had Bagwell, Biggio, Piazza, Griffey, Maddux, etc. All names screaming superstar. All-Stars from 2008 like Grady Sizemore, Joe Crede, and Adrian Gonzalez, along with CC Sabathia, Barry Zito, Hee Seop Choi, were among the prospects or draft picks that had cards in the big set. You even had the first card of a certain 100 Million Dollar man in his new Rangers uniform, as well as a superstar Tribesman appearing for the first time in Beantown's colors. Guys like Jake Peavy, Jose Reyes, Austin Kearns, Justin Morneau, Hank Blalock, and Travis Hafner were prospects that made it into the Traded set.

And think of all those perfectly timed insert sets that were included in either Topps or Topps Traded. The Topps Company found ways to honor their past (the 2001 set was their 50th anniversary set), celebrate their present, and look forward to the future in many of these beautifully done inserts. From the 50-card 2001 Topps Through the Years retrospective (and the subsequent 45 card Traded subset), to the Golden Anniversary set (five 10-card subsets featuring players from the past 50 years). From Topps Noteworthy (featuring 25 current and legendary players), to A Continuing Tradition. From Before there was Topps (10 legends who played before Topps entered the Hobby), to What Could Have Been (10 Negro Leaguers who could have played in the majors leagues at their peak). From A Look Ahead (predicting the futures of 10 young superstars) to Who Would Have Thought (the 20 card Traded insert set). Heck, even the autograph cards (Golden Anniversary Autographs) and relic cards (King of Kings, the Bo Jackson/Deion Sanders cards), looked great. All very hard to find individually now, and impossible to find sold in set form.

But the 2001 Topps and Topps Traded sets are still all about Ichiro and Pujols. Think about this...ever since these two guys, many collectors have been looking for the next big thing. The next players who are going to give the Hobby, and the Game, a boost in popularity. While this is not a new concept in the Hobby, the Prospecting niche seemed to kick into high gear after 2001, because everyone was in search for the next big superstar. And right now, we have so many players to choose from. But in ten years, who knows what may happen to those guys. In ten years, both Ichiro and Pujols will either be retired from the game, or winding down their respective careers. They both are, unless something incredibly bizarre happens to either man, going into the Hall of Fame as soon as they are eligible.

To review (you mean you're not done yet???), I would pick 2001 Topps to hold its value, if not increase, ten years from now (that's 2019 right?). Sure there may be other sets, other cards, other players that could surpass this one. And it might not be the best pick I've ever made. But I assure you, the way we see collecting now changed the day that Ichiro Suzuki and Albert Pujols made their Rookie Card Debut (and I mean First Year on a Card playing in the Majors.) We have yet to, though we may never, see someone the likes of either man since. And they both showed up for the first time in 2001 Topps.


JayBee Anama

Monday, February 9, 2009

O(Pee-Chee)h No, They're Going to Get Sued!!!

I'm not one to advertise the Evil Empire's products, but what I saw today on the old Magazine-Exchange website made me think that Topps couldn't have gotten a hold of their lawyers fast enough to get a restraining order or a cease and desist order (I'm not a lawyer, I don't know what actually applies here).

So Upper Deck has the rights to the O-Pee-Chee brand name. And it's bad enough that even before this newest development, their "UD Vintage" line first ripped off the 1963 Topps design, and then the 1971 design the following year (okay, close enough). Then this year, UD included an 50 card OPC insert set that looks similar (thank goodness not close to) the 1975 set. But this...THIS!!! This is just asking for a lawsuit.

The 2009 UD O Pee Chee sell sheet was modified for the purpose of this blog post. After all, who here actually wants to see UD products on a Topps blog???

It was bad enough that the UD company took Topps' Allen & Ginter concept and turned it into Champs Hockey, but this takes the cake. Now the questions remain:

  • Does Topps have a legitamate complaint here?
  • Should Topps do something to stop this product from leaving the factories?
  • Is this another way UD is getting back at Topps because of their failed attempt to buy the company?
All we can do now is wait and see...


JayBee Anama

Friday, February 6, 2009

It's Official...19 Short Prints in 2009 Topps Series I

The fine folks at Beckett confirmed it with Topps this morning. Along with the seventeen known short printed legends (CMG) cards, there are only the two unannounced SP's that were discovered this week on the Bay.

For those keeping score, here is the official SP checklist:
  • #1 Alex Rodriguez. #1b Babe Ruth.
  • #2 Omar Vizquel. #2b Pee Wee Reese
  • #10 Dan Uggla. #10b Rogers Hornsby.
  • #30 Ken Griffey, Jr. #30b Jackie Robinson.
  • #44 Geoff Jenkins. #44b Barack Obama.
  • #60 Mariano Rivera. #60b Cy Young.
  • #66 Dustin Pedroia. #66b Ty Cobb.
  • #115 Kevin Youkilis. #115b George Sisler.
  • #170 CC Sabathia/Brewers. #170b CC Sabathia/Yankees.
  • #195 Tim Lincecum. #195b Christy Mathewson.
  • #200 Chase Utley. #200b Jimmie Foxx.
  • #205 Miguel Tejada. #205b Honus Wagner.
  • #210 Geovany Soto. #210b Roy Campanella.
  • #240 Ryan Braun. #240b Mel Ott.
  • #270 Grady Sizemore. #270b Tris Speaker.
  • #287 Greg Maddux. #287b Walter Johnson.
  • #290 Albert Pujols. #290b Lou Gehrig.
  • #305 Ivan Rodriguez. #305b Thurman Munson.
  • #320 Miguel Cabrera. #320b Johnny Mize.
I knew the original checklist was subject to change.


JayBee Anama

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Topps Insert Set of the Month: 2001 Topps What Could Have Been

It's February, 2009. And all over the country, we are celebrating Black History Month. While I am in no position (and most certainly am I not qualified) to give social commentary about the current state of affairs, we as a nation should truly be proud of where we are now compared to what was going on even 50-60 years ago. I am sure there is still a lot of work to do with race relations, on every side of the table. But what has been accomplished in the last five to six decades has made our lives a lot better socially, and that racial divide has shrunk tremendously. Heck, even through all of the media attention at this year's NFL Championship, I think I heard more about how young Mike Tomlin was compared to his race (which to be honest, I don't think it was ever a topic of discussion at all). And I believe that was the point.

With the MLB Network featuring the Negro Leagues, I thought that the best way to celebrate this month is to feature the set that asks a very important question. During Topps' 50th anniversary, even they had to wonder this as well. And in effect, a ten card set was created to honor the biggest names in the Negro Leagues. Almost all the subjects in this set (save for one) were kept out of both the National and American Leagues, just because of the color of their skin. However, even in a league all of their own, the players here dominated the game of baseball like no other player in either "major" league. The question Topps wanted to have all of us ask in 2001 was, "What Could Have Been?"

Inserted into packs of 2001 Topps Series 2 (1:25 hobby/retail, 1:5 HTA) were cards from a ten card set called 2001 Topps What could Have Been. The subjects of the ten cards were among the best players in the Negro Leagues. Their stories are legendary. Their feats and statistics boggle the mind. Because accurate statistics were never kept, many of their numbers, if real, are mythical in proportion to what was seen in either the National or American Leagues.

The players included in this 10 card set are:
The backs of each card gives a brief summary into the player's career, his numbers, and some legendary stories. How fast was "Cool Papa"? How many pitches did Satchel have? These players were compared to Babe Ruth (Gibson) and Honus Wagner (Lloyd) in the way they played the game.

Stories have been told about how the Major Leaguers would play exhibitions and barnstorming games against the Negro Leaguers and were just astounded by the way the Negro Leaguers played and how their pitchers could just shut them down at the plate. These guys could play. They were that good. Why aren't they playing in the majors? But then again, they were not allowed. And that's the biggest injustice these players faced. Did that faze them? Perhaps. But they kept on playing, waiting for the day that, if not them, others, would soon play in the majors.

It wasn't until 1947 that Jackie Robinson and Larry Doby finally got the chance to play for the Dodgers and Indians respectively. They had played in the Negro Leagues too, and when the opportunity came, they became the first to clear that hurdle. To become major leaguers. And because of them, the country got to see players like Roy Campanella, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Ernie Banks, Roberto Clemente, Willie McCovey, Frank Robinson, Bob Gibson, make it to the bigs. Their legacy lives on today. And MLB makes sure that nobody forgets it.

Did it have to come to this though? The struggles just to get up there. The racial threats. The taunts from opposing players. Being told that they couldn't stay at the same hotels as their teammates. Many of us today can't imagine what that was like, let alone picture ourselves in that kind of society. But that was the reality then. And for the ten legendary figures chosen for this set, and the rest of the peers, it was sadly a way of life. That didn't stop them from playing the game. They did not allow all of that to kill their hopes, dreams, and ambitions.

The set is now eight years old. The foil used for the fronts of these cards are very fragile, and susceptible to chipping. So mint condition cards are hard to come by. If you do find these cards at your local shop, show, or online, get them. Don't hesitate. Why? You're getting a card of a legend. Who in their prime, could out slug and clearly out play the best the majors had to offer. But sadly, we will never know how they would fare if they played in either league during their peak years. All we are left with is what could have been.


JayBee Anama

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

I'm Perusing the Bay and What Do I "CC"???

As I was going through the cards I had, along with the ones already scanned on the blogs, I noticed that the usual airbrushing/photoshopping that had occurred with previous Series I cards was not as prevalent in this year's edition. I mean, for example, CC Sabathia's press conference upon signing with the Yankees should have given Topps the opportunity to make a Yankee card of him, instead of a Brewers card.

Alas, I saw a number of CC (he doesn't like the periods in his name apparently) cards depicting him as a Brewer (like this one below from the Junkie). Which was nice. After all, he played for Milwaukee last year, and these cards should be a reminder of the season prior. Plus, it does look awkward to see him depicted as a member of one team, and then to look on the back and see that he played for another team the year before. I mean, it's not a traded card, so...

Okay, back to the point. Perusing the Bay for an affordable 2009 Topps Master set (I'm still buying a Hobby box, I just want to save me the agony, plus the money in the event I go after the 18 short printed cards...wait...)

What??! He's in a Yankee's uni already??!

Ladies and gentlemen, here is 2009's unannounced SP/gimmick card #2. CC Sabathia as a Yankee. Make that 19 SP cards to chase (if you're into that sort of thing...) I'll give this another week. Hopefully SOMEBODY will have an idea of what's going on. And, for that matter, how many more of these are we to expect??!


JayBee Anama

2009 Topps Gimmicks...Should I Even Bother???

Thanks to Hand Collated via Stale Gum for the tip, but it seems that there is an 18th variation card mixed in with the base set. As we already know from the initial checklist, the seventeen CMG exclusives are numbered as short printed variation cards within the base set. However, this one was not announced.

Card #44 in 2009 Topps Series I is Geoff Jenkins. Card #44b is:

Found on the bay. Only one up as of right now for $500.00.

I plan on getting the set with seventeen SP players...should I try for the eighteenth???


JayBee Anama

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Pack Breaks This Evening...Did Anybody Get Any Checklist Cards???

If I can get home early enough this evening, I'll scan the results of the 12 packs of 2009 Topps Series I that I purchased yesterday. As a preview, I'll let you know that the first card from the first pack that I opened was of A. J. Pierzynski of the White Sox. I also got a Derrek Lee card which will go to my daughter (she's found her favorite player). Lee's picture is great, reminds me of a Mark Grace card from at least a decade ago (must find card for comparison).

I love the pictures used this year. Not only because of how large they are (compared to the ones from the last two years) on the card, but the photographer's zoom lens must have been used on almost all the cards. You don't need a magnifying glass to identify the player in almost all cases.

Did anyone who bought their cards from Target get any checklist cards? Out of twelve packs, I have zero checklists. This can't be a good sign. And out of twelve packs, I didn't get a single variation card, although I did get those Gold parallel Legend cards. Those look nice. I'll have to stop by Walmart later and get a comparison as to what the Platinum parallels look like.

There will be another installment of the Topps insert set of the week. Realistically, it should be te insert set of the month, seeing as we're in February now, and it is Black History Month (should give you an idea of what set I will be talking about later).

There will be more coming this evening. Until then...


JayBee Anama

Monday, February 2, 2009

Groundhog Day...Ick!!!

Curse you Phil and Willie the Groundhogs!!!

I wanted to post this earlier today, but I forgot to scan the card before leaving for work...

If you have kids who watch the Disney Channel, you're going to understand where the line for the caption above came from. It's how I felt as soon as I watched the news this morning, and they showed Punxsutawney Phil, and then later on, Woodstock Willie (Woodstock, IL, by the way, is where they filmed that timely holiday classic, Groundhog Day), or at least the people holding the cute little rodents, announce the same darn thing:

"Phil (Willie) saw his shadow this morning. That means six more weeks of winter!!!"

(insert mix of boos and groans here)

Dr. Doofenshmirtz, I understand. Really. I do. But just remember, there are 12 more days until pitchers and catchers report for spring training, so it will be over soon!!!


JayBee Anama