Monday, October 31, 2011

Something Happened While Planning to Clean Up the Blogroll

It's almost the end of the month.  I've been stalling as long as I can before making the decision to turn on the heat in our house.  I know that the last sentence isn't providing any comfort to those of you out in the east coast, or even in the Rockies.  I've seen pictures of snow and the damage it's caused so far.  So my diatribe about turning on the heat, and thus keeping it on until late March or early April, is kind of moot and irrelevant at this point in time.  So to those who can even read this in those areas, you're in my thoughts and prayers.

But speaking of relevance, it's also the time of the month where the Sports Card Blogroll needs to be maintained.  Before I get into that, though, I need opinions.

The Cardboard Connection, a hobby news website that came along right around the time this humble, little blog started, has been growing as of late.  You know that the Connection has acquired Card Corner Radio (the home of Doug Cataldo and Rob Bertrand...that's the guy who runs VOTC...and their weekly Friday night broadcasts for more than ten years).  You probably know that they recently merged with Hobby message board Card Collector's World.  But did you know that CC has also purchased the Sports Card Blog Directory?  No, not Mario's first attempt at a site with all the Hobby blogs in one place.  And it certainly isn't the SCBR, but the intent is there, and there are plans to add more sites to it.  Not that I'm complaining (heck, the site gave this dog and pony show a ten-star rating) about it.  But Cardboard Connection reaches 12,000 people per day.  I'm lucky to get 100 hits, and maybe ten of those are googlebots.

Anyway, CC had a recurring feature about...Hobby Blogs.  And in September, they featured five of the more influential blogs of the past and present.  I say that only because one of the articles was about the now defunct Wax Heaven, which isn't even known as that in its current form (it's now called Card Collector Digest).  The other four were Hobby Blog staples Bad Wax, Stale Gum, SCU, and the original Baseball Card Blog.  And that was it.  Nothing more, and nothing since.  So I sent a note to Mike Smeth, the man responsible for Cardboard Connection,and mentioned, to the effect off, "there are a lot of blogs out there that are written by very passionate collectors who deserve the same recognition."  Fortunately, my ego didn't get in the way by mentioning this place. But I also mentioned that I noticed that the SCBR, which used to be on the front page of his site was replaced by this Sports Card Directory.

He sent a nice reply stating that he had just taken over the Directory.  Okay, that I'll understand.  It's his site, he can put a link to it on CC.  It's his right to do so.  But he also asked if I was interested in joining forces, combining the roster of the SCBR with the graphics of his new acquisition.  He even offered me the admin rights to maintain the site. I gave my response to him, saying that I was willing to allow him to get the sites on the SCBR for the Directory, and would help in any way I could (I'm no programmer).  But I'd rather have the SCBR still running as a separate site.  After all, it is a BLOGROLL, and should remain its own site.  I have not heard back from him since.  As wishy-washy as that reasoning sounded, what do you think I should have said or done?  I'm not totally against the idea of the Directory (after all, there are others out there), but I still want the blogroll to exist in its current form.

Back to the point. There weren't that many blogs added to the SCBR this month.  In fact, of the four that I did add this month...okay, the four I added today, two were making their return to the active roster.  Last month, there were 337 blogs listed.  Adding the four brings us up to 341. Slow month for sure.  Here are the blogs being removed due to six months of inactivity:
That's five blogs being removed, so our final total brings us down to 336 heading into November, a net loss of -1.  Not as bad as I feared.

Oh, there's one more thing.  Last month, I said that there was one blog that was going to reach six months of inactivity, and if that blog did get to that point, I was not only going to remove it from the active Blogroll, but I would also add the site to the Blogroll Hall of Fame. It would the third blog ever enshrined, and the first since Ben Henry's Baseball Card Blog to be inducted.  Sure enough, it made it to six months.  And if I actually had the time to do this post earlier this week, I would have done it. 

But then suddenly, something wonderful happened.


If you don't know the blog I'm talking about, the pronoun "she" should be a dead giveaway.  It's none other than one of the Hobby Blogging Community's legends, Dinged Corners!!! 


Dinged Corners is back!!!

One of my personal favorite blogs of all time, she's back.  She is a true Hobby blogging pioneer, and one of the people I'd go to for advice when I first started out in this mad, mad world.  She and her daughter, Lucy, have a very unique perspective when it came to baseball card collecting.  It was always about smiles, nice players, old technology, and witty observations about the cards and the players on them.  And some kind of fascination with the Mets that I haven't figured out yet.  She had been posting less frequently, due to...who cares??!  She's back and relevant again.  Welcome back, Patricia (and Lucy, wherever you are).  You've been missed.

But what does that mean on that "one blog will be added to the Blogroll HOF" stuff?  Well, why not?  There certainly isn't a blog more deserving for enshrinement right now than this one.  So even though Dinged Corners has not been removed from the Sports Card Blogroll, the site will now be added to the Blogroll Hall of Fame that's on the sidebar. 

So as always, if you, or someone you know, is or are planning on, writing a blog about the Hobby of Sports Card collecting, please feel free to contact me at so your site can be added to the Sports Card Blogroll.  If you're site is one of the ones being removed, or has been inactive or off the blogroll and you plan on getting your blog up and running again, let me know that as well (Hockey Card Heaven did just that earlier this week).


JayBee Anama

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Blogging at the Mechanics

So here I am on a Saturday morning gettin my brakes checked. And I'm going to be here a while. What better time to gather my thoughts about what is now the end of the 2011 MLB season.

First, congratulations to the St. Louis Cardinals for winning the 2011 World Series. Congratulations to hometown hero David Freese for being named the MVP. It was well deserved, and that is no understatement. You singlehandedly kept the Cards from the jaws of defeat in both games 6 & 7.

Congratulations go out as well to the Texas Rangers who put up a very good fight and for helping make this WS one of the most exciting in the last 25 years.

So while St. Louis celebrates, and the rest of the world prepares for a long offseason, this is just a reminder to all in the Hobby that we have no offseason and 2012 can't come fast enough.

I am still looking for a 2011 Topps Update Series Master Set to add to my collection. And you know I'm still on the hunt (money permitting) for the legends SP cards from the last three years. In 2012, expect Willie Mays and Roberto Clemente to show up in Topps flagship as SP subjects.

I still need 23 stickers (including one pair of team logos) to finish my 2011 Topps Sticker Album. I got to this point thanks to trades by both sruchris and Stale Gum (who still has not let me know if my end of the trade arrived to him yet). Now Chris Harris also included a Jefferson Burdick sticker with the stickers he mailed. I hope this means I made the Posse now. Here are the stickers I am down to now (feel free to jot these down and email me at if you have anything): 6, 11, 15, 19, 58, 64, 65, 88, 121, 136/302, 162, 169, 225, 232, 237, 238, 242, 257, 259, 264, 267, 289.

I also have all the packs that I bought two weeks ago here with me. This should keep me busy while my brakes get replaced. Just have to brace myself when the bill comes. That is the only thing I'm not looking forward to.

I have six new blogs to add to the Sports Card Blogroll (including two making their return to the active roll). One blog that hasn't been updated within the past six months will go into the Blogroll Hall of Fame. Will make that announcement soon. On an unrelated note, I received an offer to have the SCBR join forces with a Hobby website that could give the big roll, and more importantly the blogs within it, a lot more exposure. I sent my response to the offer, haven't heard back though. Details to come as they become available.

I hope you all are having a great day. Remember, our Hobby has no offseason. So keep collecting. Keep hitting the stores, sites, and shows. Have fun. I'll just sit here waiting for the mechanic to finish so I can join in on the fun...if I have any money left.


JayBee Anama

Friday, October 28, 2011

It All Comes Down to This...

Yes, the tv ratings have been down, and the teams that every preseason prognosticator were eliminated early in the month, but can there not be a more exciting World Series than we have right now??? 
For the first time since 2002, we have a Game 7 in the World Series?  It's the best of 1.  This is it.  For all the enchiladas (or tacos, or insert whatever your favorite food is here).  Somebody has to win this one.  And whoever does, gets the Topps World Champion Set treatment (see picture above).
Enjoy this folks, because when the last pitch is thrown, we will have a World Series winner, and the 2011 Major League Baseball season will finally end.
May the best team win.


JayBee Anama

Friday, October 21, 2011

A Better Topps Distribution Schedule for 2012...Maybe.

I'm reading Grand Cards' post called "Misjudging Customer Demand. It's a very well thought out post about how it seems that Topps seems to be cramming down a lot of baseball card products towards the end of the season while there were months during the season that there may have been only one or two products out a month. Of course, many collectors share his view. These would be the team collectors, the player collectors, the "I want to try everything at least once" type collectors. And to a degree, I agree with the apparent lack of proper spacing between products that we're now seeing six MLB products (and one MiLB product) come out within the past two months. Basically, we're looking at a new product hitting the shelves EVERY WEEK!!!

Now, is this all Topps' fault? I'm not here to apologize for them, but it's not. Could they have planned their distribution schedule better to guarantee success for their products? Absolutely. But what wasn't considered in his post was that there were other baseball related products that were put out in between the "lull" that was the period in-between the guaranteed 17 products that helped appease the appetites of baseball card collectors while waiting for the next new thing. These would include the MLB 17-card team sets (which I like), and factory sets of the flagship brand (you had your hobby, retail, All-Star edition, Opening Day, and Topps Attax, products that are not part of the "quota 17" were sold in between new releases. Not to mention the big bonus boxes that could be found at your local WalMart or Target store that had packs of different products in one easy to manage package. And of course, you have the…"ahem"…cough…cough…competition.

For a collector like me, who focuses primarily on Topps' flagship brand, I'm not really screaming to the heavens about the glut of products that showed up seemingly all at once at the end of the season. Yes, I liked this year's A & G, Gypsy Queen, and Lineage, but I would prefer to buy full sets on the Bay (or a reasonable facsimile of) than buy pack after pack to try for a complete set. That's not really the point. But for the player, team, type, high end, try-everything, collector, it is too much product at one time, at probably the most inopportune time of the year, especially when there was only too few products to hold us over during the course of the regular MLB season. But how long should it be between distributing new products? Two weeks tops (pun intended)? What time frame (months) would it be ideal (or profitable) to ensure that everyone is satisfied (there will never be a consensus as to what that means, but work with me here) with the distribution schedule?

Before we can even begin to figure that out, the first thing to do is to determine where each product stands in the hierarchy of collecting. As we all know, sports card sets/products are categorized into four specific groups: low-end, mid-level, high-end, and everything else.

Low end products are produced in higher quantity, has a huge following, appeals to everybody, sells well regardless of who buys it kind of products that are (relatively) inexpensive and sets can be completed with not too much effort on a budget. The hits are there, but not as important to those who collect them.

Your mid-level sets tend to be those are a bit more marketed towards the collector who doesn't necessarily have to have a complete set of everything. The technology used to manufacture the cards (ie. Chrome) is a selling point. The inserts and the hits take a bit more of a stage here as the reason to buy the product.

High-end products are the big-hit oriented products that come maybe three or four cards per box, or an even limited number of packs with maybe one or two cards in them. It's all about the relics, autos, white whales, whatever you want to call them products. It's the reason people shell out major league money on them, and for some people, the only cards that fuel the marketplace.

"Everything else" would refer to the rest of Topps' product line that the company makes and sells that doesn't affect their 17-product MLB quota. These products would be placed under the low to mid level products under normal circumstances. But for the sake of this article, we'll just keep them separated.

So what is there that can be done to improve the scheduling for next year? How could we suggest to those who know more than we ever will about how this business actually works, when to distribute the merchandise for 2012? Let's assume that the same products from 2011 are coming back for 2012 (in reality, some collectors are already on that mindset seeing what the 2012 Topps I product looks like). There are 52 weeks in the year, and at least 24 different baseball products (MLB and MiLB) to be brought to the masses. That is, on average, two sets per month in a 12 month calendar year.

Just focusing on the product lines that Topps was produced in 2011, here is how they would have broken down in the three categories (obviously, I could be dead wrong in the positioning of these products, but for the sake of the article, just work with me here, will you?):

  • Low-End (6): Topps (1 and 2…counts as one product but sold in two series), Update Series, Heritage, Allen & Ginter, Gypsy Queen, Bowman
  • Mid-Level (5): Topps Chrome, Lineage, Tribute, Bowman Chrome, Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects
  • High-End (6): Topps Finest, Marquee, Tier One, Triple Threads, Bowman Platinum, Bowman Sterling
  • Everything else (8): Topps Attax, Opening Day, Stickers, Team Sets, Factory Sets, World Series Team Set, MiLB Pro Debut, MiLB Heritage (all considered low-end with the possible exception of Heritage).
I think it would make sense to distribute no more than two products of low, mid, and high end product a month. And based on the categories, there can only be one product from each level per month. That means two high end items should not be sold within the same month. Items in the everything else category should be distributed during the baseball season, can be sold concurrently with regular product, and this should not affect the distribution schedule of the "quota 17." 

As Topps flagship products (Series 1, Series, 2) and Update Series are the company's number one sellers, these three sets should stand alone, and not distributed in months with mid or high end products. As there are three of them, each new series should be distributed every four months, beginning with February (the start of Spring Training). So on the first week in February, Series 1 comes out to whet our appetite. The first week in June gets Series 2 to heat things up. The first week in October brings us the Update Series to end the regular season on a high note. No mid level or high end sets should be distributed during these months.

In March, as spring training competition starts, Topps Heritage (low end), Topps Finest (high end), and Topps MiLB Pro Debut (everything else) can make their appearances. This will allow set collectors who don't do the base set but crave all things Heritage to begin their seasons. It allows high end collectors to start their season, and with Pro Debut out at this time, it gives player, team, and auto collectors, to possibly get the autographs of those up and coming players who might actually break camp with the MLB team. Heritage and Pro Debut should come out the first week in March, and Finest two weeks later.

As April rolls around, it's the beginning of the regular season. This is a good time to put out a set that focuses on retired players. But because the MLB Players Association (or is it MLB Properties, I'm not sure which) won't allow a full-on retired players set, they have to mix current players into the products as well. What better set to sell in April than the mid level Tribute set, Gypsy Queen (which is actually scheduled in 2012), and Opening Day? I know that Topps plans on putting Tribute out in February, but it just doesn't fit for me there. Opening Day would be sold during the week of…do I even have to mention it? Tribute comes at the same time, and Gypsy Queen two weeks after that.

I would put three products out in May. The season is one month old, and rosters are now firmly entrenched into the season. It is just the most appropriate time to distribute the Team Sets to the department stores, hobby shops who want them, and Team shops around the country. Bowman, with all its bells and whistles makes its appearance here, as well as the next high-end set for the year, Triple Threads. Bowman would come out during the first week of the month, the team sets a week later, and Triple Threads two weeks after that.

The kids get out of school in June. As mentioned earlier, Topps Series 2 gets the whole month to itself. But what better way to get the kids interested in cards again than with a game? Topps Attax, that European sensation, goes into store shelves two weeks after Series 2. This would also be a good time for the Stickers, and its accompanying album, to come to market.

July brings the All-Star break for everybody, majors and minors alike. And by now, the competition has heated up to a boiling point. Teams are starting to separate from the contenders to the also-rans. But every collector is out now and they are looking for something to sink their collective (another pun…get it) teeth into something. And with the National just around the corner, you need your proven products, the big sellers, to come out swinging like home run derby participants. This would be a great time for Allen & Ginter, Bowman Chrome, and the second MiLB product (be it another Heritage, or something else) to make an appearance now. A&G and Bowman Chrome are no brainers. Both have a huge…HUGE…following and people will bust cases of the stuff in their free time. These have to be out before the National. And now is as good time as any for the second MiLB product. The minor league season ends in August/early September. And it would be a really bad idea for this to come out any later. Put Allen & Ginter out first week of July, with Bowman Chrome two weeks afterwards. The MiLB product can be let out in-between the two MLB products. And, which reminds me, with FanFest out, now is a good time for the Factory Sets (Hobby, Retail, All-Star, and any Team-Specific) to make their first appearance.

The dog days of August are now upon us and all of our low-end products save for Update Series have now been put to market. This is now a good time to focus on the mid and high end sets to make their presences felt. Now I don't know the product lines, but if we were going with 2011's brands, this would be a good time for Topps Lineage and Topps Tier One. Lineage is that mid level set with inserts galore that people at the National would want. Marquee is a high end set that will keep the high rollers happy after solid months of Triple Threads. Either one could go live first with the other coming out two weeks later.

In September, as the playoff races are heating up, now is a good time for Topps Chrome and, again work with me, Topps Marquee (or whatever high end set you want to throw out here). But in this case, Chrome should go live first, then Tier One two weeks later.

October is Update Series month. All month. That's it. That ends the low-end product season. That ends the Topps brand season. That also ends the MLB season. Oh yeah, the World Series team set comes out soon after the WS is over.

It's November. Yes, we're already into the off-season. But with the draft in June, how quickly do you think Topps can get draft picks and prospects into a set that actually is called Draft Picks and Prospects? This is as good a time as any to put out Bowman's DPP. For high end junkies, Bowman Platinum can come out here as well. Draft Picks come out first, then Sterling two weeks later.  The Topps Holiday Factory Set appears in Hobby stores in time for the Holiday rush.

In the cold of December, with the Holidays fast approaching, nothing says "Happy Holidays" more than a box of Bowman Sterling. A high end set, with prospects galore to warm the hearts of many a prospector through the winter months.

And the good news is that in January, the 2012 season card season is over as we now wait for 2013 (and Series 1 to come out in February again).

If I haven't bored you to death with the above, here is the cliff notes version of what my ideal 2012 Topps Distribution schedule would look like (in order of when they would appear, assume every month has four weeks, and I don't necessarily mean the first day of the week, just week of):

  • February: Topps Series 1 (first week)
  • March: Topps Heritage, Topps MiLB Pro Debut (first week), Topps Finest (two weeks later)
  • April: Topps Opening Day, Topps Tribute (first week), Topps Gypsy Queen (two weeks later)
  • May: Bowman, Team Sets (first week), Topps Triple Threads (two week later)
  • June: Topps Series 2 (first week), Topps Stickers, Topps Attax (two weeks later)
  • July: Topps Allen & Ginter (first week), Topps Factory Sets, Topps MiLB Heritage (second week), Bowman Chrome (one week later)
  • August: Topps Lineage (first week), Topps Tier One (two weeks later)
  • September: Topps Chrome (first week), Topps Marquee (two weeks later)
  • October: Topps Update Series (first week), World Series Team set (end of WS), Topps Holiday Factory Set
  • November: Bowman Draft Picks and Prospects (first week), Bowman Platinum (third week)
  • December: Bowman Sterling (first week)
Would a distribution schedule like this work for collectors? What would you change? If I haven't bored you to death with the details, does my schedule make sense? Please let me know.


JayBee Anama

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Catching Up With the Codemaster

Today on the message boards, people are talking about the Ginter Code.  You mean to tell me NOBODY's solved it yet?

It looks like the promo cards play a major factor in the quest to crack the code, specifically, the clock that appears in the mirror which would be behind the "codemaster."  There are apparently ten different times on the clock, meaning at least ten different promo cards (although I think somebody mentioned that an 11th and/or 12th has been found).  The 10 "known" times listed per FCB (keep in mind I'm reading two different forums whose members are trying to figure it out…Blowout is on it as well) are:  1:11, 1:14, 1:19, 2:20, 3:14, 3:15, 4:00, 6:13, 7:27, 9:42.  Not sure how these are help, but people seem to be drawn to the clock. 

Now the Codemaster has been posting a poem on twitter (follow him at @TheGinterCode) to help people along (or maybe throw them off the trail).  Below are all his "tweets" from the master himself, the first from three months ago: 
  • As my uncle Reginald V. Thorpwell III said:  Codebreakers are defeated and bitter, who don't follow the Codemaster on Twitter
  • I've been composing a poem that may be of interest to some of you.  A few rhymes to work out, then we'll see what you think.
  • I am the keeper of the code
  • Puzzle seekers, heed my ode
  • One entry each, grave is the cost
  • One false step and all will be lost
  • At the first point of Aries do you stand now
  • The sky stretching west to east before you bow
  • Your Navigational Star is directly ahead
  • And beckons you east, so go where you're led
  • Find the keys to the doors
  • Turn them all and our domain is yours
  • So that's my poem. What do you think? Found those keys yet?
  • I hear people are stuck, maybe calling it quits. The path to the keys begins where the codemaster sits.
  • I'm really, truly not trying to tease, when I say you've had plenty of time to find the keys.
  • If you've put the puzzle together I hope you find it a beaut, because using it to solve the Ginter Code just does not compute
  • Best wishes to Jimmy Rollins on the day of his birth, I always like watching him play, for whatever that's worth
  • Apologies for any confusion caused by my 11:27 communique, sometimes I confuse the day for the hour and the hour for the day
  • Something about the clock hitting 6:17 means I've started to crave some Boston baked beans
  • Anyone see that movie about the hiker who fell and got stuck? I stay inside because that kind of thing is just my kcul
  • Sorry about the typo in my 1:27 tweet.  That last word being backwards leaves my rhyme incomplete.
  • As of yet, our domain remains undisturbed.  What will we do when we're waylaid by codebreakers perturbed?
That last tweet was from 16 days ago (from today, Thursday, October 20, 2011). 

So, what does this all mean?

The first code means that you have to be on Twitter to get the clues. The second indicates that the clues are going to be given in a poem form.  Lines three through twelve is the poem that was originally written to help those trying to solve the code.  But what are those keys???  Are those the guide cards that have the one clover design on them (and the number on the back)?  Lines 14 and 15 were posted as it became apparent that the code wasn't going to be solved quickly. 

It's tweet number 16 that throws everybody off the trail.  "If you've put the puzzle together I hope it's a beaut, because using it to solve the Ginter Code just does not compute."  Well then why the heck would you put these patterns on the cards?  Thanks to eBay, Nick and Mike were able to get all the cards needed to crack 2009's code, and Nick and friends used the same idea to crack 2010.  This year, eBay sellers (many of them anyway) were smart by not putting pictures of the code cards themselves, or at least covering the corners so that budding breakers couldn't use scans (thus not have the cards) to help their quest.  But with everybody focusing on these cards with the black or gold colored corners, are they no longer useful? 

By this point, many probably would have given up.  But those still hunting now found themselves looking at or for the promo cards that announced the contest.  After all, the instructions on last year's promo cards included a big step in getting started. 

Let's now start on tweet numbers 17 through 21.  Number 17 wishes Jimmy Rollins a happy birthday.  Rollins, the Phillies' star shortstop was born on 11/27/1978.  Tweet 18 apologizes for the "11:27 communique…confuse the day for the hour and the hour for the day."  Obviously, that means on the day that the codemaster wished Rollins a big happy birthday that it wasn't really his birthday.  But that also gives people an extra time on the clock.  Number nineteen adds 6:17 to the list of times.  Tweet number twenty has a glaring typo (kcul).  And the codemaster acknowledges it with his next line, indicating a time of 1:27.  But does that mean that the time is backwards (through a mirror, 1:27 would really be 10:33) or is the time itself as it is written backwards (7:21)?

The last tweet indicates that the code still has not been cracked.  And that's where I'll end.  Rest assured I'm not even trying to solve this.  I just thought I'd put all the tweets together in one place and offer some of my opinions as to what it may all mean.  It doesn't mean I'm correct, and I don't think those trying to solve this would want to use this article as a guide.  But it's certainly nice to see that months after A & G came out that people are still trying to figure out the code.  Good luck to you all.


JayBee Anama

UPDATE:  Saturday, October 22, 2011.

Someone offered up an interesting tidbit regarding tweet #19.  617 (6:17) is the area code for Boston (crave some Boston baked beans).  Now people are thinking that a phone number may be involved.  What do you think???  jba

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

2011 Topps Packs Galore!!! And a 2011 Topps Sticker Update!

Over the weekend, I may have over-done it in the card buying department.  Not only have I bought four 10-card hobby packs, one 50-card jumbo pack, and three 36-card retail jumbo packs of the newest 2011 Topps Update Series, but I bought the same number and same kind of packs for both 2011 Topps Series 1 AND 2. 

Not that I needed any more cards from either series and I should be focusing on the new product (until I can scrounge up enough money for the master set anyway). But they were there, and I decided to take a chance (and see if there are any SP cards I need). 

I'm taking the day off, but I'll be running around the suburbs.  I should be able to open all the packs and will display the spoils when I'm done.

On an unrelated note, I am almost done with getting my 2011 Topps Sticker Album done.  I had posted on twitter (I'm on there as @bdj610) that I was down to about 50 plus stickers and was trying to decide if I should buy more packs, buy singles at a show, or trade.  To my surprise, both founding fathers of Baseball Cardpedia (that would be sruchris and Mr. Stale Gum himself) sent me replies asking to show a want list. With that done, both offered stickers that I needed to add to my album. 

Now sruchris sent me a package of 25 stickers last week. Much appreciated Chris.  I mailed a package out to you.  I wasn't able to find any stickers you needed.  But I do hope what you receive will suffice.  Still waiting on the other package (I have stuff ready for Mr. Harris, but I didn't get his address, so I'm hoping what he sent through the mail comes soon).

I have to run. Hopefully, after next week (payday), I can purchase a master set.  Based on what I've opened so far, I am loving the cards and can't wait to complete my binder.

Speaking of binders, do you think I should send money to the Topps Company to buy the 2010 and 2011 Topps Baseball binders they have for sale?  I don't think they will fit for my regular sets, but they would make good books for my 30 team sets.  Thoughts?

And don't forget to enter the "Guess the All-Star Rookie Team" contest.  I read Bad Wax' post on the legalities of contests and that all card bloggers should read it.  Great timing since I just started the contest last week.  But based on the article, I think my contest is legal (I should put those "void where prohibited," "no purchase necessary" and "must be 13 and older to send submissions" be safe).

That's it.  Gotta run. 


JayBee Anama

Thursday, October 13, 2011

It's Contest Time!!! Predict the 2011 Topps All-Star Rookie Team

If you missed the post yesterday regarding the Top Rookies of 2011...why didn't you read it??!

Anyway, it's time once again for the Annual "Predict the All-Star Rookie Team" Contest held here at this humble little blog. What do you have to do to enter?

Starting today, through Tuesday, November 1, 2011, e-mail me at with "2011 All-Star Rookie Team Contest" in the subject line (do not leave your picks in the comments section) your picks for the tenor eleven players you think that the 30 MLB managers will vote onto the 2011 Topps All-Star Rookie Team. Your guesses should include:

  • One First Baseman
  • One Second Baseman
  • One Third Baseman
  • One Shortstop
  • Three Outfielders (it doesn't matter what position they play)
  • One Catcher
  • One Right Handed Pitcher
  • One Left Handed Pitcher
  • One Relief Pitcher
Now last year, Topps added the Relief Pitcher position onto the team (conspiracy theory time) to get their Golden Boy Stephen Strasburg added to the team, relegating Neftali Feliz to the relief pitcher's spot.In the event that Topps reverts to a ten-man team, if any two of your three picks for pitchers are selected, then your guesses will be considered correct, regardless of what position you had placed them originally.

The object of the contest is to outguess me regarding the players on the team. For example, if I correctly guessed on seven players who made the team, and you placed eight or more players, you will automatically win a pack of 2011 Topps Update Series. If I get eight right, then anyone with nine or more will win. If I get six get the idea. This also means if I totally whiff on all eleven picks, anybody who gets at least one right will get a pack of cards.

Anybody who correctly predicts all eleven players will not only get a jumbo pack of cards from 2011 Topps Update Series, but will also be entered into a drawing for a chance to win the grand prize:

A complete 150-card set of 2005 Topps Rookie Cup (suggested Beckett Value $20.00 - $40.00). The drawing (if needed) will be held after Topps makes the official announcement (normally done late in November) and all winners will be notified via e-mail. Their names will be announced on the boards soon afterwards.

Only one entry per person. Entries must be received by Tuesday, November 1, 2011 at 11:59 PM CST.

On November 2, 2011, I will post my picks for the All-Star Rookie Team. In the past, I made the announcement first, then let the contest start. This time, I am withholding my picks until the very end. Hopefully, this will encourage more to participate.

Good luck to all.


JayBee Anama

Disclaimer: This contest is not officially sponsored by The Topps Company Incorporated. bdj610 does not work for, and is not affiliated in any way with, the Topps Company Incorporated, Madison Dearborn Partners, nor the Tornante Group,or any of their corporate partners, associates, or vendors. bdj610 has no idea who is on the ballot or who will be picked and will be waiting just like everyone else to see who will be named onto the 2011 Topps All-Star Rookie Team. Good luck to all. jba

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Meet the Possible Contenders for the 2011 Topps All-Star Rookie Team

Okay, the season is more than two weeks over, and the Championship Series on both sides are getting extremely interesting.  But before the World Series begins, I'd like to go over the Top Rookies of 2011.




Because these are the guys that are going to be strong contenders for the 2011 Topps All-Star Rookie Team, that's why.


Anyway, perusing the MLB website, they have added a set of statistics in a section called the Top Rookie Tracker. This section features just a handful of the players MLB believes are contenders for either League's Rookie of the Year. And believe it or not, the players on the list they have provided stats for well represent each of the positions Topps uses for their Rookie All-Star team (1b, 2b, 3b, ss, three outfield, c, rhp, lhp, and relief pitcher…ahem...will explain this in a minute). So below is a list of potential nominees that the 30 MLB managers will see when they cast their votes for the 2011 Topps All-Star Rookie Team. The stats are as of the end of the 2011 regular season:

First basemen:
Jesus Guzman, SD (76 G, 0.312, 5 HR, 44 RBI, 0.847 OPS)

Eric Hosmer, KC (128 G, 0.293, 19 HR, 78 RBI)

Mark Trumbo, LAA (149 G, 0.254, 29 HR, 87 RBI)

Freddie Freeman, ATL (157 G, 0.282, 21 HR, 76 RBI)

Lucas Duda, NYM (100 G, 0.292, 10 HR, 50 RBI, 0.852 OPS)

Brandon Belt, SF (63 G, 0.225, 9 HR, 18 RBI)


Second basemen:
Jose Altuve, HOU (57 G, 0.276, 2 HR, 12 RBI)

Justin Turner, NYM (117 G, 0.260, 4 HR, 51 RBI)

Jason Kipnis, CLE (36 G, 0.272, 7 HR, 19 RBI, 0.841 OPS)

Dustin Ackley, SEA (90 G, 0.273, 6 HR, 36 RBI)

Darwin Barney, CHC (143 G, 0.276, 2 HR, 43 RBI)

Danny Espinosa, WSH (158 G, 0.236, 21 HR, 66 RBI, 17 SB)

Jemile Weeks, OAK (97 G, 0.303, 2 HR, 36 RBI, 22 SB)


Third basemen:
Daniel Descalso, STL (148 G, 0.264, 1 HR, 28 RBI)

Brent Morel, CWS (126 G, 0.245, 10 HR, 41 RBI)

Eduardo Nunez, NYY (112 G, 0.265, 5 HR, 30 RBI, 22 SB)

Brett Lawrie, TOR (43 G, 0.293, 9 HR, 25 RBI, 0.953 OPS)


Tsuyoshi Nishioka, MIN (68 G, 0.226, 0 HR, 19 RBI)

Dee Gordon, LAD (56 G, 0.304, 0 HR, 11 RBI, 24 SB)


Eric Thames, TOR (95 G, 0.262, 12 HR, 37 RBI)

Ben Revere, MIN (117 G, 0.267, 0 HR, 30 RBI, 34 SB)

Casper Wells, SEA (95 G, 0.237, 11 HR, 27 RBI)

Doug Jennings, TB (63 G, 0.259, 10 HR, 25 RBI, 20 SB, 0.805 OPS)

Jerry Sands, LAD (61 G, 0.253, 4 HR, 26 RBI)

Domonic Brown, PHI (56 G, 0.245, 5 HR, 19 RBI)

Josh Reddick, BOS (87 G, 0.280, 7 HR, 28 RBI)

Mike Trout, LAA (40 G, 0.220, 5 HR, 16 RBI)

Jason Pridie, NYM (101 G, 0.231, 4 HR, 20 RBI)


J.P. Arencibia, TOR (129 G, 0.219, 23 HR, 78 RBI)

Hank Conger, LAA (59 G, 0.209, 6 HR, 19 RBI)

Wilson Ramos, WSH (113 G, 0.267, 15 HR, 52 RBI)


Right Handed Pitchers:
Brandon Beachy, ATL (25 GS, 7-3, 3.68 ERA, 169 K, 1.207 WHIP)

RHP Tyler Chatwood, LAA (25 GS, 6-11, 4.75 ERA, 74 K, 1.669 WHIP)

RHP Josh Collmenter, ARI (24 GS, 10-10, 3.38 ERA, 100 K, 1.069 WHIP)

RHP Rubby De La Rosa, LAD (10 GS, 4-5, 3.71 ERA, 60 K, 1.401 WHIP)

RHP Kyle Drabek, TOR (14 GS, 4-5, 6.06 ERA, 51 K, 1.805 WHIP)

RHP Dillon Gee, NYM (27 GS, 13-6, 4.43 ERA, 114 K, 1.376 WHIP)

RHP Jeremy Hellickson, TB (29 GS, 13-10, 2.95 ERA, 117 K, 1.153 WHIP)

RHP Jordan Lyles, HOU (15 GS, 2-8, 5.36 ERA, 67 K, 1.415 WHIP)

RHP Guillermo Moscoso, OAK (21 GS, 8-10, 3.38 ERA, 74 K, 1.094 WHIP)

RHP Juan Nicasio, COL (13 GS, 4-4, 4.14 ERA, 58 K, 1.270 WHIP)

RHP Ivan Nova, NYY (27 GS, 16-4, 3.70 ERA, 98 K, 1.331 WHIP)

RHP Michael Pineda, SEA (28 GS, 9-10, 3.74 ERA, 173 K, 1.099 WHIP)

RHP Vance Worley, PHI (21 GS, 11-3, 3.01 ERA, 119 K, 1.23 WHIP)


Left Handed Pitchers:
Zach Britton, BAL (28 GS, 11-11, 4.61 ERA, 97 K, 1.451 WHIP)

LHP Danny Duffy, KC (20 GS, 4-8, 5.64 ERA, 87 K, 1.614 WHIP)

LHP Cory Luebke, SD (17 GS, 6-10, 3.29 ERA, 154 K, 1.067 WHIP)


Relief Pitchers:

LHP Aroldis Chapman, CIN (54 G, 4-1, 3.6 ERA, 71 K, 1.300 WHIP, 1 SV)

LHP Tim Collins, KC (68 G, 4-4, 3.63 ERA, 60 K, 1.493 WHIP, 0 SV)

LHP Jake McGee, TB (37 G, 5-2, 4.50 ERA, 27 K, 1.500 WHIP, 0 SV)

LHP Chris Sale, CWS (58 G, 2-2, 2.79 ERA, 79 K, 1.113 WHIP, 8 SV)

RHP Al Alburquerque, DET (41 G, 6-1, 1.87 ERA, 67 K, 1.154 WHIP, 0 SV)

RHP Aaron Crow, KC (57 G, 4-4, 2.76 ERA, 65 K, 1.387 WHIP, 0 SV)

RHP Marco Estrada, MIL (43 G, 4-8, 4.08 ERA, 88 K, 1.209 WHIP, 0 SV)

RHP Javy Guerra, LAD (47 G, 2-2, 2.31 ERA, 38 K, 1.179 WHIP, 21 SV)

RHP Kenley Jansen, LAD (51 G, 2-1, 2.85 ERA, 96 K, 1.043 WHIP, 5 SV)

RHP Craig Kimbrel, ATL (79 G, 4-3, 2.10 ERA, 127 K, 1.039 WHIP, 46 SV)

RHP Vinnie Pestano, CLE (67 G, 1-2, 2.32 ERA, 84 K, 1.048 WHIP, 2 SV)

RHP Eduardo Sanchez, STL (26 G, 3-1, 1.80 ERA, 35 K, 1.000 WHIP, 5 SV)

RHP Michael Stutes, PHI (57 G, 6-2, 3.63 ERA, 58 K, 1.242 WHIP, 0 SV)

RHP Jordan Walden, LAA (62 G, 5-5, 2.98 ERA, 67 K, 1.243 WHIP, 32 SV)


If you're wondering why I separated the starting pitchers from the relief pitchers, allow me to explain (conspiracy theory time folks…get something to drink, this may take a while). 

As you all know, Topps instituted what I am calling the "Stephen Strasburg" rule in 2010 (Somehow, Strasburg was added to the ASRT even though he only pitched in 12 games.  Now, Strasburg is a right-handed pitcher.  But so is Neftali Feliz, the star closer for the Rangers, and a player many people believed should have been named onto the team as the RHP.  In past years, it didn't matter if a pitcher was a starter or a reliever, only ONE RHP or ONE LHP was chosen for the team (of course there were exceptions…tie votes came into play). 


So what does Topps do?  For the 2010 Topps All-Star Rookie Team, they added a relief pitcher spot.  This ensured not only Feliz' spot on the team, but gave Topps justification to include their poster boy Strasburg.


Back to the point.  As in past years, this blog has done a contest where the object is to outguess me in choosing the Rookie Teams.  The Grand Prize, if a contestant correctly guessed all the members of said team, was a complete 150 card set of 2005 Topps Rookie Cup (appropriate, no?).  Anyway, while few have come close, none have won the grand prize.  Those who did guess more players correctly than I did would win a pack of that year's Updates and Highlights/Update Series. 


Well, we're doing it again. 


So take a look at the list above, send me an e-mail ( with your picks by November 1, 2011.  At that time, I will make my selections and then we will all wait together until the formal announcements have been made.  If you out guess me, let's say I guess seven of the 10 or 11 spots correctly, and you guess eight or more, then you automatically win a Hobby pack of 2011 Topps Update Series.  If you guess all the players correctly (if there are ten or eleven, who knows), then you will be entered into a drawing to win the 2005 Topps Rookie Card base set (Beckett Value $20.00 - $40.00).  It's that easy.


So here's to hopefully many entries by November 1.  Good luck.




JayBee Anama


Monday, October 10, 2011

bdj610’s 2011 End of Year MLB All-Star Teams…The Final Rosters

After pouring over stats and arguing with myself as to who deserves to be on the team, I have finally finished completing my 36-man teams. I think I can say with confidence that the players who made my All-Star Teams were worthy of inclusion, not just because many of them are major superstars, but because their statistics were high enough above their peers that made them stand out from the rest.

So, without further ado, here are the players who made my 2011 MLB End of Year All-Star Teams (in alphabetical order by position):

(If there is a large space of nothingness here, don't ask. I don't know.)

American League

First Basemen
  • Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
  • Adrian Gonzalez, Red Sox
  • Paul Konerko, White Sox
Second Basemen
  • Robinson Cano, Yankees
  • Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox
  • Ben Zobrist, Rays
Third Basemen
  • Adrian Beltre, Rangers
  • Evan Longoria, Rays
  • Mark Reynolds, Orioles
  • Elvis Andrus, Rangers
  • Asdrubal Cabrera, Indians
  • Jhonny Peralta, Tigers
  • Jose Bautista, Blue Jays
  • Michael Cuddyer, Twins
  • Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox
  • Alex Gordon, Royals
  • Curtis Granderson, Yankees
  • Josh Hamilton, Rangers
  • Torii Hunter, Angels
  • Adam Jones, Orioles
  • Josh Willingham, Athletics
  • Alex Avila, Tigers
  • Mike Napoli, Rangers
  • Carlos Santana, Indians
Designated Hitter
  • Michael Young, Rangers
  • Neftali Feliz, Rangers
  • Gio Gonzalez, Athletics
  • Brandon League, Mariners
  • Mariano Rivera, Yankees
  • David Robertson, Yankees
  • CC Sabathia, Yankees
  • James Shields, Rays
  • Jose Valverde, Tigers
  • Justin Verlander, Tigers
  • Jered Weaver, Angels
  • C. J. Wilson, Rangers

National League

First Basemen
  • Prince Fielder, Brewers
  • Ryan Howard, Phillies
  • Joey Votto, Reds
Second Basemen
  • Brandon Phillips, Reds
  • Dan Uggla, Braves
  • Neil Walker, Pirates
Third Basemen
  • Chipper Jones, Braves
  • Aramis Ramirez, Cubs
  • Pablo Sandoval, Giants
  • Starlin Castro, Cubs
  • Jose Reyes, Mets
  • Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies
  • Lance Berkman, Cardinals
  • Ryan Braun, Brewers
  • Jay Bruce, Reds
  • Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies
  • Matt Kemp, Dodgers
  • Carlos Lee, Astros
  • Andrew McCutchen, Pirates
  • Hunter Pence, Phillies
  • Mike Stanton, Marlins
  • Brian McCann, Braves
  • Yadier Molina, Cardinals
  • Miguel Montero, Diamondbacks
Designated Hitter
  • Michael Morse, Nationals
  • John Axford, Brewers
  • Heath Bell, Padres
  • Tyler Clippard, Nationals
  • Yovani Gallardo, Brewers
  • Zack Greinke, Brewers
  • Roy Halladay, Phillies
  • Ian Kennedy, Diamondbacks
  • Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers
  • Craig Kimbrel, Braves
  • Cliff Lee, Phillies
  • J. J. Putz, Diamondbacks

Most of the position players were chosen based on statistics comparing the top eight position players in each league (hits, runs, home runs, rbi's, walks, strikeouts, stolen bases, caught stealing, and batting average). In most cases, the players I had chosen earlier due to the one person per team rule made the top three.

In previous years, I tended to show a little more bias to Chicago players (on both sides) in cases where if I thought I could choose them over another person, I would (hey, I'm from Chicago, what can I say). But since I'm now announcing these publicly (compared to doing this privately in my mind), I thought I'd try to be as open minded as I can and pick the proper deserving players. And while there is only one White Sox player on the AL team this year (Konerko), there are two Cubs players on the NL side (Ramirez and Castro). Other one-person teams this year include the Blue Jays (Bautista), Mariners (League), Royals (Gordon), Twins (Cuddyer), Astros (Carlos Lee), Giants (Sandoval), Marlins (Stanton), Mets (Reyes), and Padres (Bell). The Rangers send seven players to the AL squad, most players from one team on either league, the Tigers and Yankees each send five. On the NL side, the Brewers have five players to the team, most in the NL, the Braves and Phillies each send four.

Lots of familiar names to recent All-Star Teams are absent this year. There is no A-Rod, no Jeter, no Ichiro, no Pujols, no Lincecum, et al. Changing of the guard perhaps? Probably. Eighteen of the thirty-six players on the AL roster, exactly half of the team, are first timers on my All-Star teams. In fact, there are 30 players on both rosters making my All-Star teams for the very first time, the most since 2009. The Pirates have more than one representative on the NL side for the first time since 2007. The Athletics have more than one rep on the AL side for the first time since 2005.

Are there snubs? You bet. There were four outfield positions filled due to the one-man requirement (Lee, Stanton, McCutchen, and Berkman). Braun was an automatic pick (I think there'd be protests if I didn't have him on). Kemp is the only Dodger outfielder on this year's team. Just like last year, it was a tossup between him and teammate Andre Ethier. Since Matt Kemp had a phenomenal season, a career year if you will, I had to choose him. Bruce, Gonzalez, and Pence were the best of the rest of the NL outfield, so they were added. I probably will get heat picking Neil Walker over Chase Utley, but Walker had the better year. My Cubs bias couldn't let me pick Darwin Barney.

On the AL, the DH spot is an issue, only because I only allow one spot on the roster for it. David Ortiz had a great year and if I allowed three DH's, he'd certainly be listed above. But Michael Young had another excellent year, with numbers that eclipse Big Papi. In the shortstop position, both real All-Stars Cabrera and Peralta are here. Derek Jeter, Alexei Ramirez, Marco Scutaro, and Andrus among others were put to the statistical comparison described above. Elvis scored the highest. And just like the Dodgers and their outfielders, it is always a tough choice between Nick Markakis and Adam Jones.

So ends the presentation for my 2011 End of Year MLB All-Star Teams. Please feel free to comment, debate, tell me that I did a good job, or that I don't know what I'm talking about and should have put in this person for another.

Later on, I will run the simulations, just like I did last off-season, for these teams to see which one is better. This off-season, I will run simulations to determine which of my All-Star teams are the best of All-Time. I just have to review the rosters, and possibly make some roster additions for the teams (like the 1988 and 1989 squads with extra pitchers). And it will give me something to do before the 2012 Topps cards come out. Hopefully, this can be accomplished without major headaches.

Let the debates continue.


JayBee Anama

Friday, October 7, 2011

bdj610’s 2011 End of Year MLB All-Star Teams…Every Team Needs a Representative

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

Now the pitching staffs from both sides locked in one representative from seven of the NL teams and seven of the AL teams, almost half the teams in either league. So that means in this post, I am going to name nine position players in the NL, and seven in the AL, to each of their respective league's rosters.

In the NL, the Diamondbacks, Braves, Dodgers, Brewers, Padres, Phillies, and Nationals, have representatives. These nine players will ensure that the NL has all 16 teams represented:
  • SS Starlin Castro, Cubs (.307, 10 HR's, 66 RBI's, led NL in hits with 207)
  • 2B Brandon Phillips, Reds (.300. 18 HR's, 82 RBI's)
  • SS Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies (.302, 30 HR's, 105 RBI's)
  • OF Mike Stanton, Marlins (.262, 34 HR's, 87 RBI's)
  • OF Carlos Lee, Astros (.275, 18 HR's, 94 RBI's)
  • SS Jose Reyes, Mets (.337, 7 HR's, 44 RBI's)
  • OF Andrew McCutchen, Pirates (.259, 23 HR's, 89 RBI's)
  • OF Lance Berkman, Cardinals (.301, 31 HR's, 94 RBI's)
  • 3B Pablo Sandoval, Giants (.315, 23 HR's, 70 RBI's)
It looks like the shortstop position is filled, with Castro, Reyes, and Tulowitzki the best three shortstops in the NL. While the trio doesn't exactly scream Dunston/Larkin/O. Smith or even Garciaparra/Jeter/A. Rodriguez, it looks like the SS position could be held by any one of these three players for most of the 2010's. Stanton, Lee, McCutchen, and Sandoval were the best hitters on their respective teams this year (and in "el Caballo's case, probably the only bright spot left after both Hunter Pence AND Michael Bourn were traded in the Astros' annual "playoff push fire sale.")

On the American League side, the Tigers, Angels, Athletics, Yankees, Mariners, Rays, and Rangers, have representatives. These seven players will ensure that the AL has all 14 teams represented.
  • OF Adam Jones, Orioles (.280, 25 HR's, 83 RBI's)
  • 1B Adrian Gonzalez, Red Sox (.338, 27 HR's, 117 RBI's)
  • 1B Paul Konerko, White Sox (.300, 31 HR's, 105 RBI's)
  • SS Asdrubal Cabrera, Indians (.273, 25 HR's, 92 RBI's)
  • OF Alex Gordon, Royals (.303, 23 HR's, 87 RBI's)
  • OF Michael Cuddyer, Twins (.284, 20 HR's, 70 RBI's)
  • OF Jose Bautista, Blue Jays (.302, 43 HR's, 103 RBI's)
Because I have nine outfield spots on each side, I have noticed that many players who wind up being the only person on their team to make the list normally is an outfielder. And that might be the case here with these AL picks as now four of the slots are filled.

Now before you start to say, "Where's this guy?" or, "Why didn't my guy make the team?" Please keep in mind that I'm not done filling out the team. These 16 guys are only here so that all 30 teams have a player. The best (trust me) is still yet to come.


JayBee Anama

Thursday, October 6, 2011

bdj610's 2011 End of Year MLB All-Star Teams...The Starting Pitchers

Yesterday, I named the bullpens for each of my End of the Year All-Star Teams. Now it's time to name the starters.

To recap, here is my National League relief corps:
  • John Axford, Brewers
  • Heath Bell, Padres
  • Tyler Clippard, Nationals
  • Craig Kimbrel, Braves
  • J. J. Putz, Diamondbacks
And the American Leauge bullpen:
  • Neftali Feliz, Rangers
  • Brandon League, Mariners
  • Mariano Rivera, Yankees
  • David Robertson, Yankees
  • Jose Valverde, Tigers
So, who would they be relieving???

Starting with the National League six-man rotation, we have (in alphabetical order):
  • Yovani Gallardo, Brewers (17-10, 3.52 ERA, 207 K's)
  • Zack Greinke, Brewers (16-6, 3.83 ERA, 201 K's)
  • Roy Halladay, Phillies (19-6. 2.35 ERA, 220 K's)
  • Ian Kennedy, Diamondbacks (21-4, 2.88 ERA, 198 K's)
  • Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers, (21-5, 2.28 ERA, 248 K's)
  • Cliff Lee, Phillies (17-8, 2.40 ERA, 238 K's)
Honorable mentions go out to (meaning, if I had more space, I'd would have added) Matt Garza (10-10, 3.32, 197 K's), Cole Hamels (14-9, 2.79, 194 K's), Daniel Hudson (16-12, 3.49, 169 K's), Tim Hudson (16-10, 3.22, 158 's), and Tim Lincecum (13-14, 2.74, 220 K's). Yeah, some of the ERA's could be considered on the high side, but when the lowest strikeout total of the six is 198, you have power pitching.

In the American League, my All-Star six man rotation includes:
  • Gio Gonzalez, Athletics (16-12, 3.12 ERA, 197 K's)
  • CC Sabathia, Yankees (19-8, 3.00 ERA, 230 K's)
  • James Shields, Rays (16-12, 2.82 ERA, 225 K's)
  • Justin Verlander, Tigers (24-5, 2.40 ERA, 250 K's)
  • Jered Weaver, Angels (18-8, 2.41 ERA, 198 K's)
  • C. J. Wilson, Rangers (16-7, 2.94 ERA, 206 K's)
Honorable mentions go out to Josh Beckett (13-7, 2.89, 175 K's), Felix Hernandez (14-14, 3.47, 222 K's), Derek Holland (16-5, 3.95, 162 K's), Ivan Nova (16-4, 3.70, 98 K's), and Ricky Romero (15-11, 2.92, 178 K's). The AL rotation shows a lot of balance between power pitching and low ERA's.
So the pitching staffs are done. Next, we'll get to the position players. The first step is to ensure that every team has a representative, regardless of what position he plays. At this point, seven AL teams and nine teams from the NL need to have a player. I have a few people in mind. Who will they be? Tune in some time tomorrow and find out.


JayBee Anama

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

bdj610's 2011 End of Year MLB All-Star Teams...The Relief Pitchers

As I have done every year for the last 23 years, I am going to compile lists of players for my 2011 End of the Year (or 2012 MLB) All-Star teams. If you want to know what the heck I'm talking about, please review the introduction and brief history (ahem...brief???) as to why I have done this every year for the past 23 years.

Quick rules on how I comprise the teams:

  • Two teams, one American League team, and one National League team
  • There are 36 spots on each team (three first basemen, three second basemen, three third basemen, three shortstops, nine outfielders, three catchers, six starting pitchers, four relief pitchers/closers, one relief pitcher/set-up, and one DH-the NL spot is taken by the player with the highest average who did not make the team at any position)
  • Every team gets a representative. No exceptions. If a player gets snubbed by a guy who is only there because a team needed a rep, then that's sadly the way it goes.
This is going to be a four-post process. Today, I will announce the bullpen staffs for each team.

Why start with the bullpens?

Because it's relatively simple. The top four guys with the most saves are automatically on the teams. Usually.

Last year, I started with the American League staff, this time, I'll begin the National League closers. On this year's team are:

  • John Axford, Brewers (2-2, 1.95, 46 saves)
  • Craig Kimbrel, Braves (4-3, 2.10, 46 saves)
  • J. J. Putz, Diamondbacks (2-2, 2.17, 45 saves)
  • Heath Bell, Padres (3-4, 2.44, 43 saves)
Now I know that Drew Storen of the Nationals had the same number of saves as Bell, and Joel Hanrahan of the Pirates has a much lower ERA than both Bell and Storen.  It was really a tough call to pick between these three. But the truth is that I picked Bell because he might be the only Padre to get on this team.  And before you ask, yes, I checked the stats of the rest of the Padres' roster. 
The American League closers for the 2011 team are:

  • Jose Valverde, Tigers (2-4, 2.24, 49 saves out of 49 opportunities)
  • Mariano Rivera, Yankees (1-2, 1.91, 44 saves)
  • Brandon League, Mariners (1-5, 2.79, 37 saves)
  • Neftali Feliz, Rangers (2-3, 2.74, 32 saves)
It was a tough call between Feliz and Chris Perez of the Indians for the final spot as Perez saved four more games than Feliz. But Feliz has more strikeouts (54 to 39), a lower ERA (2.74 to 3.32) and lower WHIP (1.16 to 1.21) than the Tribe closer (and card collector).

If recent All-Star Game history has shown us, it's that middle relief pitchers, those guys who ride the bullpen, and barely ever get any baseball cards, are now an important part of any All-Star bullpen.  And the two middle relievers this year not only made their respective league's All-Star roster, but got to pitch in the game.

The NL Middle Reliever for the 2011 team will be the Tyler Clippard of the Washington Nationals. He is the 2011 NL leader in holds with 38, had a 3-0 record, sports a dazzling 1.83 ERA, a minuscule 0.84 WHIP, and struck out 104 batters.  He beats out fellow NL All-Star Johnny Venters for the middle relief

The AL Middle Reliever for the 2011 team will be David Robertson of the New York Yankees. The AL co-leader in holds in 2009 with 34, Robertson went 4-0 this year with a 1.08 ERA and 100 strikeouts.  The runner up for this spot was the other AL holds leader, Daniel Bard.

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

On Thursday, I will name the six starting pitchers that will round out the pitching staffs on each team.

By Friday, every team will get a representative as I announce just some of the players who will take spots on both leagues' rosters.

And finally on Saturday, I will round out the rest of the rosters and introduce the complete National and American League teams.

Wait and see. It's going to look good I promise.


JayBee Anama

2011 Topps Update Series is Now Live! So Who Are the SP Legends in This Set?

If you've been paying attention to the Bay, you would know that 2011 Topps Update Series has now arrived, even though it was supposed to be released today (10/5/2011).  So while waiting for master sets to show up on the auction site, I thought it would be a good idea to look around and see what players were given the SP treatment.

Leave it to eBay powersellers brentandbecca to have all the answers in one convenient location.

They presently have two auctions up for a complete set of all 25 cards, each with a BIN of $439.99 (you could start the bidding at $379.99, but we'll see how far that will take you), and all 25 cards are picture in all their glory.

So to save time, hassle, and agony, here are the 25 players whose cards will be mixed in with the regular 330 at short printed levels:
  • #US4 Carlton Fisk
  • #US10 Hank Aaron
  • #US18 Joe DiMaggio
  • #US21 Willie McCovey
  • #US31 Paul O'Neill
  • #US38 Roger Maris
  • #US42 Frank Thomas
  • #US50 Nolan Ryan
  • #US58 Bert Blyleven
  • #US59 Rickey Henderson
  • #US85 Tom Seaver
  • #US138 Paul Molitor
  • #US140 Sandy Koufax
  • #US154 Babe Ruth
  • #US195 Larry Walker
  • #US207 Frank Robinson
  • #US229 Roberto Alomar
  • #US230 Al Kaline
  • #US238 Darryl Strawberry
  • #US249 Ozzie Smith
  • #US258 Monte Irvin
  • #US260 Ty Cobb
  • #US278 Tris Speaker
  • #US291 Andre Dawson
  • #US309 Jimmie Foxx
Would you like to see pictures?  Of course you do:

Thoughts:  It pains me to see Frank Thomas in any other uniform besides the White Sox.  I know that these are supposed to show players on other teams.  But it still hurts (pun intended).  Nice to see Andre Dawson in a Cubs uniform. It's the SP debut for DiMaggio, O'Neill, Strawberry, and Walker.  Also, why aren't the baseballs where the team logos are placed "aged"?

Happy hunting.  I'll be looking for these too.  So if you find any in your packs, and don't need them, please let me know.  I'll give them a nice home.


JayBee Anama

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Comparing the Major League Debut Classes of 1991 and 2011.

In 1990, Topps created a set honoring the players who made their MLB debut during the 1989 campaign. It was a relatively successful set, with future HOF's like Ken Griffey, Jr., and Deion Sanders (okay, he's in the Football HOF) and others. In 2009, I created a post comparing the MLB Debut classes of 1989 and 2009 in honor of that set. Because the MLB Debut set had a three-year run, I thought it would be a good idea to continue this series of comparisons with the MLB Debut classes of 1990 and 2010 and again for the Debut classes of 1991 and 2011. Who knows? This might be an annual post at the end of the season and I'll probably do one for 1992 and 2012 next year.

According to Baseball Reference, 17,733 athletes have their names into the annals of Major League Baseball record-keeping. In fact, 239 of them made their MLB Debuts in 2011. That's 239 more players that have etched their names into history books, baseball encyclopedias, and baseball websites. Two hundred thirty-nine more players who finally reached the pinnacle of their professional careers, no matter how long or how brief their stay was. They can honestly say that they have arrived.

In 1992, Topps created a box set featuring all 192 players who made their big league debuts throughout the 1991 season. The 194-card set (featuring two checklists), was similar in design to the 1992 Topps set, but instead of a team name, the colored box that appeared on the right side of the card contained the date of the player's first appearance. Once again, the players' cards were numbered in alphabetical order, even though the checklists listed all the players by the date of their debut. It would also be the final MLB Debut set Topps conceived.

Everyone from Jeff Bagwell (who debuted on April 8, 1991 and was one of four players to make his debut that day) to Doug Lindsey (who made his first appearance on October 6, 1991, the last player to debut that season) was included in this set. Twenty-six players would go on to become All-Stars at some point in their careers. We'd all get to know their names on a regular basis like Mo Vaughn, Rod Beck, Jim Thome, Bernie Williams, Kenny Lofton, and more who were part of this set. Players who had high expectations, but eventually faded from the spotlight (Scott Kamieniecki, Kirk Dressendorfer, Tom Drees) were also in this set. This was the only set that would have Topps cards of Phillies pitcher Amalio Carreno, and Jeff Banister of the Pirates.

Believe it or not, three players who made their debut in 1991 were still on a MLB roster during the 2011 season. The debutantes of 1991 (as of the end of the 2011 season) combined for 74 All-Star Game appearances, 4,788 home runs, 20,331 runs batted in, 3,444 stolen bases, and a batting average of about .267. Pitchers who debuted in 1990 have gone on to a combined record of 2709-2693, saved 1375 games, completed 328 games, faced 205,683 batters, struck out 33,360 of them, gave up 5,364 home runs, and had a cumulative ERA of 4.35.

At any given point during the 2011 season, there were 750 players on active rosters (not counting those on the disabled list). And in amongst the shuffling of talent, 239 baseball players, some who've toiled in the minors for a very long time, and at least two players who were drafted in the 2010 free agent draft, got to step onto the field of a major league stadium for the very first time and play at least one inning of major league baseball. One hundred seven of them were position players, the other 132 stepped onto the pitcher's mound for the very first time. Of the 239, three were born in 1991 (Julio Teheran,Mike Trout,and Jacob Turner) and the oldest player to debut was 35 years old (Yoshinori Tateyama).

The 2011 debutantes combined for two All-Star Game appearances (Aaron Crow and Michael Pineda), 188 home runs, 1001 runs batted in, 230 stolen bases, and a cumulative .246 batting average. Pitchers went 168-219 with an ERA of 4.43, striking out 2,968 batters, and saved 35 games.

Just for fun, let's compare both classes:

Of the players from the debut class of 2011, just like in 1991, there could be some Hall of Fame candidates. Most may go on to All-Star caliber, or very long careers in the bigs. And for some, this may be their only year in the majors. But all of them can say that they achieved their dream of being a Major League Ballplayer.

And nothing can take that away from them.

I've clamored before about wanting to bring back the Major League Debut set. But I know in today's age of exclusive contracts and rookie card restrictions that a set of this type might never see the light of day again. And although I have a feeling that many collectors would not want to get a set that might have stars but plenty of "never will be's" amongst them, a set like this could contain the only card of a player who played in one inning of major league ball.

1992 Topps MLB Debut '91 Jeff Banister #8
At least Jeff Banister has a card in the 1992 set. Who knows what the future will bring for the 239 players who first appeared in 2011. Most might never play in the majors again, disappearing in the obscurity of minor league baseball for the rest of their professional careers. A set like this would give them a slim piece of cardboard immortality.

Oh well, I can dream, can't I???


JayBee Anama

P.S. Later on this week, I will post my picks as to who I think will make the 2011 Topps All-Star Rookie team. There will be a contest involved. Details to come soon. jba