Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Where I've Been...

It's been a few days since I last posted anything substantial. For that, I apologize. All the things I've promised to do, from the box breaks, to the book review, and other random things will still happen. I just have not had the time to get them all on lately.

Anyway, I've been watching the poll results. Unless a major swing change happens, it does look like either people don't want to see Twitter Feeds on the Blogroll. That's fine. I guess it's better that way. You could only throw out so much information in 140 characters or less.

I also have been in contact with the good people at WhatIfSports.com to see if I could do simulation games based on the All-Star Teams that I've been meaning to post. If all works according to plan, not only will I put on the blog which players made the teams during a particular year, but also show a simulated game or series between the two teams (NL vs. AL). If you've ever been on WhatIfSports.com, you know that they do the best game simulations in baseball, football, basketball, hockey, college FB and BB, and even racing. I think I know what I need to do to get it going, but I am hoping to hear back from them soon.

So that's it for now. With the All-Star Game fast approaching, I swear I'll have more posts. I love the ASG, so I won't have any excuses not to post anything substantial. Thanks for being patient with me.


JayBee Anama

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Imagine This Conversation Going on in Heaven...

So God tells Johnny Carson, "Look, that Conan guy is good, but I miss you doing the Tonight Show, Johnny."

"I'm honored. Thank you very much for the compliment," replies Johnny.

"You've been here a few years now, and I know we've talked about it before, but do you think you'd be willing to do the Tonight Show here in Heaven?" God asks.

After thinking it over for a few moments, Johnny replies, "Why not. Ed (McMahon) just arrived on Tuesday. I'm sure he'd go for it. And I'm sure a number of people here would want to appear on the program. George Burns, Jack Benny, McLean Stevenson, would make good guests."

"I was thinking," God continues, "you can get any star you want any time. Allow Me to book your guests for the first show."

"You know best," says Johnny. "I leave it up to You."

So on the First ever Tonight Show, Live from Heaven, after reuniting with his long time producer Fred de Cordova, and his right hand man Ed McMahon, after doing the monologue, and the first of what should be many Carnac skits, Johnny introduces his first guests, Farrah Fawcett, and Michael Jackson...

In all seriousness, they always say that deaths come in threes. This has been a very tough week as three celebrities who I grew up watching passed away within the span of 48 hours. Ed McMahon, even with his recent troubles, still seemed as if he was in good health and spirits (heck, he even did the commercial with MC Hammer for a "gold-for-cash" company). When I first heard on the news that he had died, my first thought was that Johnny wanted to get the show going again. Hence the conversation that began this post.

I had read online that Farrah Fawcett was not in good health, that she was battling cancer and that her health was rapidly deteriorating. While I will never forget watching her in Charlie's Angels (reruns...I'm not that old), she will probably be more remembered if not for her charity work, but for being the poster girl that EVERY young man in the 70's had to have in their possession. Some guys might still have it somewhere now...(ahem...)

As with all major news, I first heard about Michael Jackson's passing on a baseball card message board (because where else would I get this kind of news...) I had to check some credible sources first (MSN was my first choice) and they said that he had just suffered from cardiac arrest and was headed for the hospital. Moments later, it was announced that he died.

Whoa. The King of Pop. Dead at 50. I had heard on the radio that he was holding concerts in London next month, and that they were having contests to send people over there to watch him perform. The news said that these concerts sold out in minutes. Now what's going to happen? What of the children? What of his ex-wife (not Lisa Marie, she's doing fine...) and mother of two of her kids? As with many children of the late 70's and early 80's, I grew up with his music. From "Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough" to "I Wanna Rock With You," "Beat It" to "Thriller," from "Bad," to "Black and White," and "Man in the Mirror," the hits just kept on coming.

In the 90's, before (or probably during) his spiral towards bizzare behavior, he put out one song (and accompanying video) that I liked. My brother put it out on Facebook earlier this evening, and it made sense when it first came out, during his trials in the 21st century, and maybe now that he's no longer here with us. The song was "Leave Me Alone," and it was a response to all the gossip magazines, the tabloids, the paparazzi, and all the press that was always "dogging him around." The music video even includes images of the chimp, the elephant man, hyperbaric chambers, and other references that seemed to be written about him. I thought it was a good way to respond to all of the media attention he brought upon himself.

May Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, and Michael Jackson Rest in Peace, and may their families be comforted during this time of grief.


JayBee Anama

Bringing Boggs Home...

I love the blogging community. It is because of being a part of it that people can find me a lot faster than ever before. I received an e-mail from Jerry Paulus offering a Wade Boggs card in exchange for any inserts I can find from his want list. I found a number of them (10 cards total), and while that goes out in the mail, this card has already arrived:

Wade Boggs #340.

It's a beautiful card to say the least. One thing that troubles me though. If I didn't know better (trust me, I've never played third base in my life), that looks like a very awkward angle/position for anyone's body to be in don't you think??? I mean, on the computer it looks normal, but staring at the card for a while made me wonder if they just plugged a picture of Boggs onto a generic background. And, again, you can't really see it on the computer screen, but up close, it looks like somebody just drew a black dot over his left eye. Creepy.

Regardless, it will make a wonderful addition to the SP set. Eight down and nine to go. I'm almost halfway home. Thanks again, Jerry. Your cards are in the mail. Please let me know when you get them.


JayBee Anama

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

With Many of the Hobby Bloggers Signing Up on Twitter...

The second poll question ever on this humble little blog is this:

The latest trend in the Hobby Blogging Community has been to join the Twitter Revolution. All your favorite bloggers, from Stale Gum to Dinged Corners, from SCU and VOTC to Wax Heaven and the Cardboard Junkie, from Paul's Random Stuff to White Sox Cards, have all signed up for Twitter within the past couple of months.

Should the Sports Card Blogroll add another section for the Twitters amongst us? Or Should I create a new blog specifically for the Bloggers' Tweet Feeds?

Poll coming up shortly...this should be interesting.


JayBee Anama

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

And the 2009 Topps Red Hot Rookie #3 Card Goes To...‏

Those holding those Red Hot Rookie Redemption cards better get them logged in to Topps quickly as it has just been announced that card #3 belongs to none other than Andrew McCutchen of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

McCutchen made his major league debut on June 4 against the New York Mets. Batting leadoff for the Bucs that night, he went 2-4 with a walk, scored three times, drove in a run, and stole a base. That, my friends, is a productive debut, and is probably one of the reasons why Pittsburgh sent last year's all-star rep Nate McLouth to the Braves (who then summarily helped them beat the Cubs last night...). As of Tuesday, June 23, he is hitting a robust .333 (26-78), with one home run, thirteen RBI's, and stolen two bases.

Although it's not an autographed card, Pirates fans will want to add this card to their collections. Ladies and Gentlemen, START REDEEMING!!!

The updated checklist now includes:

JayBee Anama

P.S. Now that I know who I have for my Red Hot Rookie...should I cash it in, or should I trade it off??? jba

Ryno Charging Into the SP Collection.

When the list of Series 2 SP cards came out, one name stood above and beyond all the others. Not because he was a Chicago Cub. But for me growing up, he was THE Chicago Cub. Even if I wasn't going after any of the SP cards in either series, I knew I had to have this one. And somehow, in some way, I was going to get it.

And now, thanks to Mike Gellner over at JD's Wild Cardz, I have it. The card that means more to me than the Babe, more than Campanella, heck, even more than the President...

Forget the introduction, just get to the card!!!

Ryne Sandberg #350.

To Cub Fans everywhere, this card is a thing of beauty. Topps could have picked Banks. They could have picked Santo. They could have picked Billy Williams. Heck, they should have used a picture of Maddux as a young Cub (preferrably circa 1989-1991). But I am ever so grateful that Topps included Sandberg as a subject in the SP set. Now, his career numbers may not be on par with the likes of many of the Hall of Famers, but its the intangibles that he possessed that got him there. He played the game with honor, respect, and a sort of quiet class. He let his play do the talking.

I was so happy when it was announced that Ryno was going into the Hall of Fame in 2005. Granted he got 76 point something of the votes. But that was 1 point something above the required 75, and he deserved it. After Sandberg's speech at the Induction Ceremony, Don Sutton said that it "should be posted on every clubhouse door in the Majors."

How could you NOT admire that??? He was my favorite player when I was growing up and learning about the game, and why my son now has his name (middle name...long story).

Mike, your cards are on their way. Just let me know when you get them. Thanks.


JayBee Anama

Sunday, June 21, 2009

How I'm Going to Spend My Father's Day...

Let's see...

  • Breakfast in bed (here's hoping...)
  • Mow the lawn (it's been a few weeks since I last mowed. It hasn't helped that it rained really hard on Friday. Hopefully, Saturday's 80 degree temperature dried the ground enough.)
  • Drop my wife and daughter off at Sleeping Beauty ballet (being performed by my niece)
  • Hang out with my dad and my son at the bakery while waiting for girls at ballet (if not, church at night)
  • Sort through and put into binder pages of the series 2 Topps Master set that arrived in the mail on Friday!!!
Next to the breakfast and hanging out with both my dad and my son, I'm looking forward to poring over all the base and insert cards from Series 2. I still plan on showing off the box and pack breaks that I did last week while my daughter's final dance recital was going on (I went to the first one.)

To all dads out there, have a good one. To all those expecting to be dads soon, let me tell you that it's one of life's great joys to be a dad. There is a saying I heard that I actually agree with when it comes to fatherhood. I don't know who originally said it.

"Any man can be a father, but it takes a special kind of man to be a Dad!"

Last year, I did a post on Fathers and Sons who appeared on Topps cards. Well, kinda. I did a father's day post last year, and forgot about the Topps cards. So the cards had their own special post. Friend of the blog Big Daddy found this page on the Baseball Reference site that features fathers and sons who played in the bigs (so many that it needed a second page!!!)

(on a final note, I wish to end today's post with what I wrote last year to all fathers:)

My wish to all fathers out there is to continue showing the love and caring that you do to your kids. They truly need you in their lives, even though they won't admit it. Show an interest in what they like and what they don't like. Teach them to love themselves and others around them. Teach them to behave like adults, but remember to let them still be kids. Be there for them, regardless if they want to share their problems with you or not. Because they eventually will, you will never have to force them to do it. And even if they don't, at least be a good listener, and show that you truly are concerned. Learn from your kids. They will teach you just as much as you want to teach them.

And finally, to Dads Everywhere:

Your children love you, even more than you love them. Why??? Because you've loved them for only a little while. Your children have loved you all their lives.

So be a good dad. Go out there and spend some time with your kids. You don't need to be reading anything else I have to say today. This is your time to be with them. So turn off the computer, and have fun with the kids. I'll be here on Monday when you get back.

And Happy Father's Day.


JayBee Anama

Saturday, June 20, 2009

That's It...I Twit!!!

Okay, so I decided to follow the other bloggers and join in the Twitter Revolution.

The feed will be along on the right hand sidebar, and I'll use this whenever I add a new site to the big Sports Card Blogroll, as well as whatever else happens on my Hobby journey.

So follow along as I continue to figure out this internet thing on Twitter. Thanks.


JayBee Anama

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Will UD Get Their Litigation Staff Together After Seeing This???

So back in February, I wrote about how the boys at the other company decided to release a set called O-Pee-Chee. Not necessarily a bad idea as they've acquired the rights to the name. However, one of the biggest points of contention was that they were going to include an insert set that resembles extremely closely to Topps' 1971 design (don't forget, OPC and Topps had an agreement and OPC used Topps' designs). Topps sued. The courts threw the suit out of court, UD is happy and proceeds to print, pack, and distribute the cards.

You remember this from February right???

The cards are now out, and I'm sure you've already read what the rest of the blogosphere has had to say about it. Needless to say, it's not pretty. Because even though UD got what they wanted (by in effect winning their case), there are no 1971 OPC tribute insert cards in this set. What the masses who bought this product got instead was...this:

Okay, not the best example, but WHAT??!

In an unannounced move, UD has replaced the 1971 designed cards with what you see above. It essentially is a black-bordered parallel card. Needless to say, there are a few not too happy collectors out there. As for me, I'm not too concerned. After all, it's a UD product. I didn't buy it.

Now, on to the point of the title of my post.

The number one source of the hobby has announced that in this year's Allen & Ginter product, there will be insert cards utilizing paintings done by noted Topps sketch artist Brian Kong. Kong is replacing renowned (and Topps exclusive) artist Dick Perez for the honors this year. That's fine. Based on the samples provided, the cards look great.

But there's a problem.

The cards look eerily like Upper Deck's now defunct Masterpieces brand. Let's compare. First, thanks to Beckett, a scan of a sample card from the Brian Kong insert set.

Now, thanks to the Junkie, a scan of a couple of cards from UD Masterpieces.

Note the texture of both cards. It's strikingly similar. And even if we all know that there won't be a UD Masterpieces set this year, do you think there would be enough people out there who wouldn't be able to tell the difference, even if the brand name of the cards are printed right on the cards?

Now my first thought upon seeing the Topps insert cards for the first time was that they looked like UD Masterpieces. And this was before reading the comment from another person saying the exact same thing. The card designs themselves are not even closely similar (compared to the proposed but now scrapped UD OPC 1971 set vs. Topps 1971 set), but somehow, I get the feeling that the other company is getting their lawyers together to see if they have a case. After all, it's been done to them. I wouldn't be surprised if the tables were turned and now Topps would be on the receiving end of a lawsuit.


JayBee Anama

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

One More 2009 Topps Factory Set...All-Star Game Exclusive

The MLB All-Star Game and ensuing festivities are only four plus weeks away. I can't believe I didn't see this until now. While there hasn't been any news about what exclusive cards Topps will have in store at the annual MLB FanFest, MLB.com and other sites already have for pre-sale the 2009 Topps All-Star Game exclusive factory set (see picture).

Yes, there will be bonus cards, this time of five current Cardinals players:
  • Albert Pujols
  • Chris Carpenter
  • Ryan Ludwick
  • Khalil Greene
  • Rick Ankiel
along with the 660 regular cards. According to the item description, the bonus cards are going to have a different design (why??? This year's Topps design looks great! Hopefully they mean different pictures) and the ASG logo stamped onto the cards.

All-Star Game Managers Joe Maddon and Charlie Manuel have already named their coaches (managers from the other teams to go along with their respective coaching staffs). Charlie Manuel is bringing in loads of ASG managerial experience by getting both Joe Torre of the Dodgers and Tony LaRussa of the hometown Cardinals to sit on the NL bench. On the other hand, Joe Maddon has invited Trey Hillman of the Royals and Don Wakamatsu of the Mariners, to join him on the AL bench. It would be the first time for both Hillman and Wakamatsu to be a part of the ASG in any capacity.

I know that I haven't posted a lot lately, but rest assured that the Series 2 cards that were purchased over the weekend have been sorted and scans of the hits will be coming soon. And if you were here last year, as the ASG comes closer, there will be a lot more posting. Why??? Because I live for the All-Star Game!!!


JayBee Anama

Monday, June 15, 2009

And the 2009 Topps Red Hot Rookie #2 Card Goes To...‏

Those holding those Red Hot Rookie Redemption cards better get them logged in to Topps quickly as it has just been announced that card #2 belongs to none other than Gordon Beckham of the Chicago White Sox.

Gordon was just recently called up to the White Sox and made his major league debut on June 4 against the Oakland Athletics. So far, he is 4-35 for a .114 batting average, but has driven in 4 runs for the Pale Hose (as of June 15, 2009).

There is something new that Topps is going to try with Beckham's cards. One in every ten of Beckham's cards will be autographed card. That's right, for every ten redemptions, one lucky collector will get his card autographed by Beckham. White Sox fans will want to add this card to their collections. Ladies and Gentlemen, START REDEEMING!!!

Reviewing the early checklist, we have: Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

P.S. In my jumbo box, I got Red Hot Rookie #3. I can't wait to see who I get this time. jba

Saturday, June 13, 2009

I Have Series 2 Cards...Finally!!!

And I was feeling left out...

With everybody in the Hobby Blogosphere showing off what they got from Topps Series 2, I've been feeling left out. Sure, I had my nine packs of Target retail, and I already have six of the seventeen SP's, but I still felt like I had nothing to contribute...

Until now.

I now have one full jumbo box, four regular packs, and six 36-card packs to open this weekend. The results will be coming later this week. I can tell you now that I can now say that one of my packs resulted in an SP...but thanks to my luck, I already have it. I'll explain it all when the box break/pack break posts come.


JayBee Anama

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Updating the Big Blogroll Again...My Turn to Comment on the Disappearance of the Sports Card File.

I've been getting more and more e-mails from new bloggers to add them to the big Sports Card Blogroll, and I realize that as I add more blogs to the roll, I find that I have to remove others because they've reached six months of inactivity. While it's always nice to have more people dive into the big Hobby Blogging pool, it is a sad event when I have to remove blogs because the writers have decided (whether willingly or not) no longer to continue writing.

Is it writer's block? Perhaps. Is it because real life has taken over their Hobby life, and the blog has become less of a priority? That probably has happened. Were a few bloggers forced out by other circumstances (will get to that in a minute)? Maybe. But regardless, it's that time once again where we say goodbye to the following blogs (their links, whether active or not, appear here for posterity, and to show what they were about):
Now, on to other pressing matters. I'm sure by now you many blog readers know that Steven Judd's The Sports Card File is now out of commission (actually, it now reads, "Sorry, but you are looking for something that isn't here." What??!) Also, on a possibly related note, the boys and girls that banded together to ask all who stumble upon their blog to boycott "the number one source in the hobby," have now been hit with possible legal action by their personal antagonist. I'm sure you've also read the opinions of some of the other bloggers about this new situation. Whether you like it or not, here is mine...

It is one thing to quit a blog if you've decided to move on to other ventures. It is one thing to let a blog die due to inactivity. It was a great day in the Hobby when Mr. Judd's blog started, as bloggers and collectors alike FINALLY were able to read the thoughts and opinions of a man who actually was IN the Hobby, instead of speculating about it. We got to know the inner workings of what actually happens in those big boardroom production meetings, and what the thought processes are of the people involved in making the decisions as to what appears on the shelves for us to buy. Even if he bounced around constantly (he even admitted that he wasn't the easiest guy to get along with), he and his expertise were obviously in demand because ALL THREE CARD COMPANIES PLUS THE HOBBY PUBLICATIONS HIRED THE GUY!!! Yes, there are times where he took shots at his former co-workers based on the decisions they made. But its not like he was outright insulting them. So why is his blog a blank slate now? Did he suddenly have a change of heart??? Everyone has a theory. But it might be best if we heard from the man himself. So what happened??? Whatever the reasons, his voice should not have been silenced.

On the other hand, if you've ever wondered why I never linked to the Boycott Beckett site, first of all, let me tell you it's not because of my "positive opinion" of the company. I may buy their products and use their website, read their blogs, and everything else, but it's not as if the things other bloggers have pointed out regarding their actions and their practices are fabrications. As they say, every lie has a sliver of truth to it. But regarding the Boycott blog, even if they linked my site to them (simply as bdj610's), I didn't think I could add them to the Blogroll only because what I read truly does not contribute anything about the Hobby. It's one thing to question the practices of the new management, but to insult a person based on his grooming habits??? Even as the writing style improved tremendously on this site, it's hard to give credibility to it when some of the "tags" used as categories included:
  • skinny Johnny Cash wanna-be owner,
  • smells funny
  • smelly
  • Lindberg odor
  • hobby killer
and those are some of the milder ones. Now, I know other sites use worse, but based on their history, it's understandable. In the case of the above, I don't see where or how this relates to the Hobby at all. If I had to give a reason, it's because this site does not talk about the Hobby. It talks about the grievances that the writers have against their former employer and how jobs are being transferred out to other countries. I don't think I ever saw mention of cards at all.

The one thing that I do get out of that blog is the fact that the employees that were laid off were truly passionate about our Hobby and have good reason to question and complain about the direction of where the magazine is headed. My only complaint is that while they say they are ex-Becketteers (and there is no reason to doubt that fact at all), it would have been nice to show some form of proof that the writer or writers of this blog actually did work for the company they now loathe. If in the beginning, they had announced that they would not add their real names to the blog due to fear of repercussion, then so be it. But it looked like that was never the case. I admire the fact that they plan on continuing their fight. They have a right to their say. I'm sure Lindberg was not exaggerating about how much money the company has (even though it was boneheaded of him to say this in his letter to the geeeks) to sue, only because he is combining the cash flow of the different magazines his company publishes, not just Beckett.

But again, based on the state of the economy as it stands, we all have to realize that Beckett Media is a business. And business exists for one thing only...to make money. In the book The Enthusiast, even Henry Bay, the main character in the story, after working for many small publications, winds up working for the company that was buying out many of the small time magazines (a book report will come soon, I promise). He may not have liked it, but even he knew that if he was to continue earning a living, it had to be done. That's probably what is on the minds of the people who are still around.

Maybe the people who left, voluntarily or not, should band together and start up another Hobby magazine (or webizine) from scratch. Maybe they can get the good Doctor to join them in a new venture. I'm sure he's not liking what he's seeing. Maybe they would let some of us have a say in the publication.

Maybe they'd hire Mr. Judd.

I'd buy it.


JayBee Anama

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Yes We Can!!! Yes We Did!!! And It's All Thanks to the Blogosphere!!!

The chase officially started on February 23, 2009.

Don Avery from the Topps Message Boards sent me the first two SP cards, George Sisler and Walter Johnson.

Tim Guillotte, also from the TMB sent me the third, Ty Cobb.

After not seeing it earlier in the day, the package that Dorrey Kimber of the TMB sent did in fact include Christy Mathewson.

A dozen 2009 Topps Gold cards to Joe Hoelscher netted me Tris Speaker. At the same time, Craig Parker of My Topps Cards generously mailed three SP's: Honus Wagner, Rogers Hornsby, and Johnny Mize.

For some Josh Hamilton cards, Tricia Hall, of The Hamiltonian, sent over Cy Young.

At the Chicago Sun Times show, I bought Jackie Robinson, Babe Ruth, and CC Sabathia's SP cards.

Patricia and Lucy of Dinged Corners sent their Roy Campanella as a thank you for the David Wright card from this past summer's Topps Target Back to School set.

Joe Hoelscher and I made another trade, this time for Jimmie Foxx.

Kevin Clark of the TMB mailed a Lou Gehrig card (did you ever e-mail me your 1978 & 1979 Topps wantlists???)

Steve Brown, writer of The Easy Life, decided that he wasn't going to pursue the SP set like he had originally intended, and sent in the mail Pee Wee Reese.

Due to either desperation or just plain old caving in, $12.90 with shipping paid to eBayer rld4230 brought Mel Ott to Des Plaines.

Jeremy DeJong accepted my 2008 Topps Allen & Ginter Carl Crawford card in exchange for Thurman Munson.

And so tonight, Wednesday, June 9, 2009, three months and fourteen days after the first card arrived, on the same night that my niece Keira Anastasia was born (9:12 pm, congrats Charles and Cathy)...


Ladies and Gentlemen, introducing, for the first time ever on this humble little blog...

The President of the United States of America!!!

(Cue "Hail to the Chief")

Barack Obama #44.

The man to thank for bringing the chase to a dramatic conclusion is William Regenthal of foul bunt. Not only did he send me the POTUS, but he is also to thank for bringing me almost a third of the way home with the series 2 SP's by including:

Robin Yount #595.

Carl Yastrzemski #660.

To everyone named and mentioned above, thank you very much for helping me complete the 19-card Series 1 SP set. It is a testament to the generosity of the people who share in this great Hobby of ours that an undertaking such as this can be successfully accomplished.

Thank you...One and All!!!


JayBee Anama

P.S. Oh yes, six down, 11 to go for the Series 2 SP's. I just hope they don't try this again for the U & H set...jba

Monday, June 8, 2009

Did You Ever Wonder Where the Paintings Go Once Topps is Done with Them???

I received an e-mail from a gentleman named Vincent Rosario. He asked if I happened to have extra cards from the 2008 Topps Dick Perez Walmart set of Ryan Braun and Daisuke Matsuzaka. Unfortunately, I didn't. But then he explained why he wanted them.

He said that he had the original paintings used for the Dick Perez set of Mickey Mantle, Jake Peavy, Braun, and Dice-K. I had to ask how he came about getting them, and if he could send some scans of the paintings. He was more than happy to oblige.

He said that he bought all four at the Frank and Son's card shows in the City of Industry, CA. The person he bought the paintings from won them from a major auction house that acquired them from Mr. Perez himself. He bought the Mantle and Peavy cards on the Bay, but couldn't find any cards of the other two players.

He included scans of all four of the paintings he acquired:

Daisuke Matsuzaka

Ryan Braun

Jake Peavy

Mickey Mantle

I think it'd be pretty cool to see the actual paintings and the cards created from them together. If framed properly, the pairs would make wonderful conversation pieces. It's nice to see that these paintings aren't just collecting dust in some warehouse and that they are displayed in regular people's collections.

Good luck finding those other cards Vince. I wish I was able to help. But here's hoping that somebody might be able to give you a hand. If anybody happens to have extra cards from the 2008 Topps Dick Perez set of either Braun or Matsuzaka, (or both), and are willing to part with them, please e-mail Mr. Rosario at vincer7@yahoo.com.


JayBee Anama

Saturday, June 6, 2009

If This is His Topps Card, Then What Card is This?: Greg Maddux

On this edition of What Card is This?, we honor (again) a man who in five years be inducted into Baseball's Hall of Fame. Why?:

  • He is a 300 game winner.
  • He is a 3000 K pitcher.
  • He is one of only two pitchers EVER to throw fan more than 3000 while walking less...LESS...than 1000 (he stopped right at 999...how's that for leaving a mark...).
  • He won four Cy Young Awards, consecutively.
  • He won a World Series.
  • He is an 8-time All-Star.
  • He is an 18-time Gold Glove Winner (winning it thirteen times straight before being interrupted in 2003, only to win it five straight years after that).
Need I say more about our man of the hour? He is Greg Maddux.

In the mid 1990's, there was nobody on the mound more dominant, nobody who could put fear in the hearts of batters stepping up to the plate, nobody more unhittable, and nobody more accurate than Greg Maddux. He could go for long stretches without issuing a walk. He knew exactly where to aim, and in almost every case, he hit the spot, causing hitter after hitter to look bad at the plate.

He started out his career with the Cubs, but after his first Cy Young season in 1992, signed with the Atlanta Braves. As Jeff Foxworthy once said when visiting Chicago, "Thank you very much for Greg Maddux." Alongside Tom Glavine and John Smoltz, he was part of a trio that put fear in the hearts of every team that were scheduled to meet the Braves. And you knew there had to be times that in every series, opposing teams had to face at least one or two of them (pity those who had to see these three guys in a row in a series). On an unrelated note, there is a card blog named Maddux, Glavine and Smoltz. Check it out when you can. Lots going on there because of the recent developments in the A-T-L.

But Maddux was the cerebral one. He studied hitters tendencies. He believed in studying videotape so he knew where to locate his pitches when it was his time to step on the mound. And during his later years, from his return to Chicago, to his LA to San Diego and back swing, he was somebody that EVERY other pitcher turned to for advice. Who needed a pitching coach? Then again, I'm pretty sure the pitching coaches weren't complaining.

He called it a career in 2008, leaving with a 355-227 record 3,371 K's, an ERA of 3.16 in more than 5008 innings of work.

So on to the cards. Topps decided to honor Maddux by including him in the Series 1 set:

Hey baby??! Have I told you lately that you're prettier than Greg Maddux??? Baby??! 2009 Topps Greg Maddux #287.

That should have been the end of the run of Topps Baseball cards for Greg Maddux. From 1987 Topps Traded to 2009 Topps, he appeared in more than 22 years worth of cards. And eventually, when the 2011 Topps Archives project gets back into full swing (it's coming back, I promise), we'll add the Topps Archives logo somewhere on this card. So if the above card was his Topps card,

What card is this??! Wait. He just retired. Why is there a Braves card of him in this set? And how do I have this card?

Well, thanks to frequent commenter and friend of the blog jacobmrley, I now have the SP Maddux card from series 2 Topps. Max, a package of cards is on its way to you as a thank you. Again, late, but it's in the mail.

It's only a couple of weeks since Series 2 came out, and I'm nearly a quarter of the way done with the SP set. Thank you all for your generosity. I can confidently say that if it weren't for the generosity of blogging community, this dream of collecting the SP cards would be just that...a dream.


JayBee Anama

The Easy Life Presents...Lefty!!!

Steve Brown, writer of The Easy Life sent me an e-mail recently stating that he had opened some Series 2 packs (or boxes), and said that he had the Steve Carlton SP card. Now, as you recall, Steve was also the gentleman who sent over the Pee Wee Reese SP card, no strings attached. Well, I'm not going to let him get away with that this time.

So after perusing his 2009 Topps Series 2 needs, I have a good package on its way over to him as a thank you for this wonderful card:

Steve Carlton #350.

Thank you Steve, again, for your generosity. The package is on its way to you (later than I had hoped, but it's on its way...I swear). That's three SP's, and I don't even have the full regular set yet (I've been in talks to get that master set with a guy...hopefully by next week).

Until then, three down, fourteen to go.


JayBee Anama

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Generation NOW Set Has Returned...But Guess Who's Using It???

As we head into summer, and the kids get out of school, is it too early to discuss traded sets? While it's probably way to early to even think about a traded set (I'll probably start thinking about it after the All-Star break...unless the sell sheets for Topps' Updates and Highlights set comes sooner), the people at the other company have already announced their plans (thanks to the number one source of the hobby for the tip).

Along with the usual base set, they are going to include an insert set called...get this...Generation NOW.


Didn't Topps already use Generation NOW as a theme just a couple of years ago? And now UD is going to use it as an insert set in their Update set?

I'm sure Topps will be laughing at the effort from the competition, (I don't think they can sue...even if they wanted to, it's a safe bet they won't), only because they drove the concept to ground with that 535+ card behemoth of an insert set in 2007 (the 54 card K-Mart set, on the other hand, was awesome and probably what UD is going for here).

Then again, you'd think there would be at least an ounce of originality coming out of the company in California. Oh well...


JayBee Anama

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Why Aren't There Checklist Cards for 1992-1994 ToppsGold sets?

An excellent question. According to Topps Magazine (Winter 1992), ToppsGold cards are "similar to their 'regular' counterparts except that the player and team names are engraved in gold foil...Collectors can also obtain complete ToppsGold Ffactory sets, produced, however, in limited quantity. But there's an added surprise: Six new player cards will replace the six Checklist cards..."

Okay, so that doesn't give an explanation as to why. My guess is that because the odds of finding ToppsGold cards in packs (while in 1993 and 1994, they came one per pack, 1992 cards were impossible to find in packs. In all the packs of 1992 Topps that I bought, I never found one...ONE...ToppsGold card) was so high that I'm pretty sure that not too many people would be thrilled that the one ToppsGold card they pulled was a checklist card. In hindsight, it was a smart move by Topps to replace the checklists with six new player cards.

But...which players do you use here? Do you now include a card of the ultimate bench player, who in other sets would never get a card? How about bonus rookie cards using five "up-and-comings?" In 1992, Topps replaced the checklists for their ToppsGold product with the following players:

Mathews played for nine years during the 90's. He finished his career with a 22-21 record, struck out 300, saved 10 games, and had an ERA of 4.25. His was on the playoff roster of the Baltimore Orioles in 1996 & 1997.

Beck might be the biggest name of the 17 players featured today. He was a three-time All-Star closer for the San Francisco Giants, Chicago Cubs, Boston Red Sox, and San Diego Padres. He finished his career with a 3.30 ERA, 38-45 record, 286 saves (including a NL record 51 in 1998), and struck out 644. Sadly, the "Shooter" passed away in 2007, but he will always be remembered as one of the games' unique characters in the 1990's.

Perezchica finished his career in 1992, only playing in 69 big league games in his five-year career.

McDaniel lasted only one season in the bigs 1991, so the stats on ack of his card are complete (23 games, 6-29 for a .207 avg).

Ditto for Ramos. His only season was in 1991, (10 games, 8-26 for a .308 avg).

Williams played for nine seasons with the Astros, finishing with a 26-38 record, six saves, and 397 punchouts.

Topps extended the ToppsGold program into its Traded set. Back then, these only came in factory form, so it was not as if these came inserted into packs. And as with the six checklist cards, checklist card #T132 was replaced with Seattle Mariners prospect Kerry Woodson (not to be confused with Kerry Wood).

In 1993, Topps sold their baseball cards in series for the first time since 1973. And while it was a lot easier to acquire the Topps Gold cards, Topps still recognized the disappointment that would be made possible if they made Gold parallels of their checklist cards. So, enter the following six players to make their trading card debuts:

Brito, a power hitter in Triple-A, did play sparingly in three seasons with the Twins. But because of the crowded outfield situation, was constantly squeezed out. He did hit five home runs for the Twins.

McNamara played in 34 games as a Giant (his only games in the bigs) in two seasons. While his hitting left a lot to be desired (.210, 1 HR, 10 RBI's), he was practically flawless behind the plate defensively (,993 fielding avg in 152 total fielding chances).

Savuer made his MLB debut in 1986, but rarely stayed around long enough in the bigs. He was last seen in the Majors with the Oakland Athletics...in 2000.

Brown last pitched in the majors in 1992, so the stats on the back of his card are complete (2-2, 3.40 ERA, 23 K's).

After his one year stint with the Rangers, McGinnis resurfaced with the Royals in 1995 for a three game cup of coffee. That would be the last time Russ played in the majors.

Like Keith Brown, Walker's only year in the bigs was 1992 (0-3, 7.36 ERA). This card is an error because it shows his stats with the M's happened in 1993 (this card is from 1993...oops???)

In 1994, Topps reduced the number of checklists for their 792-card set from 6 to 4. And again, Topps included four "bonus" player cards to replace the checklists for the ToppsGold set. This time, they mixed a couple of prospects and big league veterans as checklist replacements:

Brennan pitched for two seasons in the majors, making his debut with the Dodgers in 1988, and in eight games in 1993 as a Cub. The stats on the back of his card, then are complete (for the majors anyway, 12 games, 2-2, 5.18 ERA).

Bronkey spent parts of three seasons with the Rangers and Milwaukee Brewers. For some reason, in a May 30, 1993 game between the Rangers and the Boston Red Sox, Bronkey had to bat (0-1).

Mike Cook finished his five year MLB run withe Baltimore Orioles with a 1-6 record, 5.56 record.

I never understood why Dan Pasqua was used as a bonus player. Here you have a 10-year veteran of the majors, an established hitter, and a role player for the White Sox. And suddenly, he's not in the regular set. They didn't even add him to the Traded set. His lone Topps card is from ToppsGold.

Topps put the ToppsGold program on ice after 1994, only to bring the set back again starting in 2001 (and serial numbering the cards to boot). By this time, checklist cards were just extras for the set, not part of the actual set. So there was no need to create bonus ToppsGold cards since. Many of the 17 players didn't have an impact in the bigs. The few that did, became all-stars or role players for most of their careers. But each of them can claim the fact that while they were not part of the flagship set, they did have a card that year.

And their names were embossed in gold.


JayBee Anama