Wednesday, November 30, 2011

2011 Topps All-Star Rookie Team Contest Winners!!!‏

Now that the 2011 Topps All-Star Rookie Team has been announced, I have spent the good part of the afternoon going over all the e-mails I received, seeing who outguessed me in the All-Star Rookie Team contest.

Unfortunately, nobody correctly predicted all ten players who would make the team this year. The fact that Topps named ten players on to this year's team (unlike last year when the team consisted of eleven players). Because of this new development, there is no penalty for picking a LHP (everybody put in an LHP only because I asked for one). If Hellickson and Kimbrel were on your ballots, they counted towards your final score. But once again, nobody wins the 2005 Topps Rookie Cup set grand prize.

Sadly, there were less entries sent to me this year than in last year's contest (probably due to the fact my readership has been declining...but that's not for lack of trying). But out of all the entries I did receive, only two people beat my score of six, and only one person correctly picking nine players onto the team. Congratulatory e-mails have already been sent, so it's okay for me to announce the winners:
  • Eight players correct:  Kyle Brewster
  • Nine players correct:  Steve Drennen
Steve also guessed nine players in last year's contest. Many of the people who participated in the contest did get the same number of players right that I did...a big fat six. Both Kyle and Steve will receive a Hobby pack of 2011 Updates and Highlights for outguessing me.

Thank you very much to all who participated in the contest. Although nobody got all ten to win the grand prize, I promise to run this contest again next year. Hopefully somebody will win it.


JayBee Anama

Introducing the 2011 Topps All-Star Rookie Team!!!

The MLB managers have spoken, and today, Topps has announced the players named to the 53rd All-Star Rookie Team!!! (If the player's name is in bold, it means I predicted that they would make the team earlier this month).

  • 1B: Mark Trumbo, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (0.254 batting average, 29 HR, 87 RBI, 2011 stats)
  • 2B: Danny Espinosa, Washington Nationals (.236, 21, 66)
  • 3B: Brett Lawrie, Toronto Blue Jays (.293, 9, 25)
  • SS: Dee Gordon, Los Angeles Dodgers (.304, 0, 11)
  • OF: Doug Jennings, Tampa Bay Rays (.259, 10, 25)
  • OF: Josh Reddick, Boston Red Sox (.280, 7, 28)
  • OF: Ben Revere, Minnesota Twins (.267, 0, 30)
  • C: J. P. Arencibia, Toronto Blue Jays (.219, 23, 78)
  • Starting Pitcher: Jeremy Hellickson, Tampa Bay Rays (13-10, 2.95 ERA, 117 K's)
  • Relief Pitcher: Craig Kimbrel, Atlanta Braves (4-3, 2.10 ERA, 121 K's, 46 saves)
So I guessed 6 out of 10 spots correctly (I guessed Eric Thames for the third outfield spot, Freddie Freeman for first base, and Brent Morel at third, with Ivan Nova as my RHP & Cory Luebke as the LHP). I did worse than well last year (when I got 7 of 11 correct).  

Now my comments. Who knew that Topps would return to the 10-player team this time? WHAT??! What happened to last year's RHP and LHP for starting pitchers??! I knew there was something fishy going on when Topps' wunderkind Stephen Strasburg happened to make the team as the RHP; in turn, making Neftali Feliz, also a RHP, the "relief pitcher" for the ASRT. Now they get rid of the third pitching spot and instead of reverting to top RHP and LHP, it's now Starting Pitcher and Relief Pitcher??! Regardless, if you entered the contest and picked Hellickson and Kimbrel as your pitchers, those will count as count as correct answers. Let the conspiracy theories continue!!!

It could have gone either way for the first baseman spot with Trumbo and my pick Freeman. But even with Hosmer as the dark horse, Trumbo did outslug the Braves slugger (although Freeman had a better average of .282 vs. Trumbo's .254). Brett Lawrie's selection is a surprise as he played in far too few games to have warranted consideration (in my opinion).  But I guess when you perform almost as well as the front-running Morel (9 HR's to Morel's 10, .293 to Morel's .245) and Daniel Descalso of the Cardinals (25 RBI's to Descalso's 28) while playing in less than a third of the games (Lawrie played 43 compared to Morel's 126 and Descalso's 148), you deserve recognition. So congratulations to all. Each player will now get the illustrious rookie cup trophy added to their 2012 Topps cards.


JayBee Anama

Monday, November 28, 2011

SCBR Maintenance on an Off-Day.

It's a nice day out, so I thought I'd take the day off from work. Actually, I had a number of unused vacation days left before the holiday cut-off, so I thought I'd use one now. Anyway, I'm at the local library (computers are much faster here) and figured now is as good a time as any to do the monthly Blogroll report.

If you have been following John Bateman's Donruss 1982 blog, he recently listed in his opinion the 20 Greatest Sports Card Blogs of All-Time. He even put this blog in at number 16 on his list. Anyway, I had asked if I could post his list on the Sports Card Blogroll, of course crediting him for making the list. He said sure, and now his list is on the sidebar right along the top of the blogroll, with all 22 (yes, there were two ties) blogs that made his list. While I wasn't surprised about his number one choice, he did bring up during the countdown (loosely stating this...I can't find the actual quote" that the best times in the Hobby Blogosphere so far was in 2009. I have to agree with that statement. It was during that year that blogging about sports cards was starting to gain relevance. And a number of the blogs on his list are mostly to thank for the Hobby to take notice. The voices of these independent thinkers gave fresh perspective to the Hobby we all enjoy that we weren't getting from mainstream media. Some blogs may have rubbed the establishment the wrong way, others selflessly promoted the positives. But it can not be denied the influence that the bloggers had on their readers, even inspiring them to begin their own blogging journeys.

At the end of last month's maintenance, the blog was down to about 336 active blogs. In November, sixteen Hobby blogs were either added or returned to the active roster, bringing the SCBR up to a new high of 352 blogs (were you celebrating when I tweeted that we reached 350???). Think of it. 350. We're halfway to the 400 mark. Of course, I'm removing blogs today thanks to 6 months of inactivity, but that number can only go up in time.

So here we go. Here are the blogs being removed due to 6 months of inactivity:
Ouch. Twelve blogs. While that's not a record for most being removed, it does take some of that 350+ blogs wind out of the sails. Okay, so with 12 blogs out, we are down to 340 blogs on the active roster for a gain of +4.

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. Keep on keeping on. Enjoy the journey.


JayBee Anama

Introducing Your 2011 MLB Most Valuable Players - A Diamond Duo Imagined

One final card you shouldn't waste your time searching...IT DOESN'T EXIST!!!

When the Rookies of the Year were announced two weeks ago, I snuck in an imagined Diamond Duos card for both Craig Kimbrel and Jeremy Hellickson.When the AL and NL Cy Young Award winners were officially announced, I created a second imagined Diamond Duos card in their honor.

So with these two already done, and the AL and NL MVP's announced last week, I thought, "Why not finish the job and make a final mock-up Diamond Duos card?" The catch was that I didn't want to use the same picture of Justin Verlander from the Cy Young card. Fortunately, both he and Ryan Braun are in the Update Series Diamond Duos insert set. So after scanning, and a quick cut-and paste job (I'm getting the hang of this just as I'm done with it all...go figure), above is the final Diamond Duos card that you will not find anywhere.

I lucked out with this one. Just like the first two, Verlander appears on the left side on his insert card (with Max Scherzer) and Braun is on the right (with Sandy Koufax...the pairing made sense here). All that needed to be done was put Braun's picture over Scherzer, and voila.

Looks good right?

Just don't try to zoom in on the image. Flaws abound. But from a distance, it looks like something from Topps graphics department wouldn't you think?

Oh well.


JayBee Anama

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Changes Are Coming to MLB Team Logos...And Topps Knew About Them Before We Did!!!

I've always been fascinated with the origins of team names and logos.  When I was 12, I bought a book from Mike Lessiter called The Names of the Games and even the sequel College Names of the Games which laid out this history of how a team (pro or college) got their nickname.  Now these books were published in 1988.  I have not seen a sequel since.  And even though names have changed (there's that word again) and franchises have been created, contracted, moved, etc, and this information can now be easily found on the Internet (okay, you have to do a bit of digging, but it's not hard to find), there isn't a source that puts all of this information into one neat package.

The closest thing I've found on the net that maintains the history of team logos is Chris Creamer's Sports (  This site which has been around since 1997 (during the web's tender developing stages), is a virtual museum of team logos.  Want to know what the 1932 Boston Braves logo looks like?  It's right here.  Ever notice the subtle changes in the Kansas City Royals' logo?  Did you know there was a subtle change in their logo?  Chris did and you can compare them for yourself (here's a hint...look at the letter "o").

What's my point?  Well, as you know, a number of MLB teams have made radical, yet positively accepted, changes to their logos for the 2012 season.  In one well documented case, the identity of an entire franchise has changed too. Here is what we know so far:

Say goodbye to the Florida Marlins and hello to your Miami Marlins!!!

San Diego Padres:

Toronto Blue Jays:

Now what does this all mean, and what does this have to do with Topps baseball cards?  Simple.  The folks at Topps, via Twitter, posted a few interesting pics a few weeks ago. Here are a couple that caught my eye:

Just a heads up, these are the mini cards that pay homage to 1987 Topps.

And these are possibly the Golden Moments insert cards.  Now notice the logos on the mini cards of Josh Johnson and Mat Latos above and of Chase Headley in the above photo. 

They already show the new logos for both the Marlins and the Padres. 


These photos were taken and published on Twitter on November 11, the same day that the Marlins "formally" announced their name change.  The Padres announced their logo change on November 9.  If these cards were made BEFORE the official logo changes, that means that the boys and girls at The Topps Company were notified sooner than the rest of the world.  And they made the changes just in time before the cards get packed out and distributed across the country.  How cool is that?

There was a third photo included on the tweet with the above two:

These may be autograph cards (just guessing by the fade that's happening on the bottom of the pictures just before the name banner).

So know that Topps is on the ball (no pun intended) and will have the proper logos for both the Marlins and Padres in Series 1.  Regarding the Blue Jays? Your guess is as good as mine.


JayBee Anama

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Introducing Your 2011 NL Most Valuable Player...Most Competitive Field for the MVP

In recent years, Topps has reserved six cards within Series 1 for the AL and NL award winners that are being announced this week. Unfortunately, this year's preliminary checklist doesn't specify what numbers are being held for the them. 

On Monday, Justin Verlander was named the AL Most Valuable Player. Today, we know who won the award in the National League.

Congratulations to Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers for being named the National League's Most Valuable Player. Of the six major awards this week, the field for this award was very competitive and many of the runners-up made strong cases for themselves.  But in the end, it was Braun who takes the plaque (or trophy, or whatever they give the winner).  Although he didn't lead the league in any of the Triple Crown categories (.332 was good for second, 33 HR and 111 RBI's), he did lead the NL in other stats like slugging percentage (.597), and OPS (.994).

Braun becomes the first Brewer to win the MVP award since 1989 when Robin Yount took the prize home (and the Brewers were in the American League). He received 20 first-place votes (out of 32, for a total of 388 points).  In doing so, he beat a field that included Matt Kemp of the Dodgers (332, 10 first-place votes), Prince Fielder of the Brewers (229, 1), Justin Upton of the D-backs (214, 1), Albert Pujols of the Cardinals (166), reigning NL MVP Joey Votto of the Reds (135), Lance Berkman of the Cardinals (118), Troy Tulowitzki of the Rockies (69), teammates Roy Halladay (52) and Ryan Howard of the Phillies (39), Jose Reyes of the Mets (31), Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers (29), Shane Victorino of the Phillies (18), Ian Kennedy of the D-backs (16), Cliff Lee of the Phillies (12), Hunter Pence of the Astros/Phillies (10), Pablo Sandoval of the Giants (7), John Axford of the Brewers (7), Michael Morse of the Nationals (5), Carlos Beltran of the Mets/Giants (3), Miguel Montero of the D-backs (2), Yadier Molina of the Cardinals (2), Starlin Castro of the Cubs (1), NL Rookie of the Year Craig Kimbrel of the Braves (1), Carlos Ruiz of the Phillies (1), and Mike Stanton of the Marlins (1).

Braun becomes the 13th player to win both the NL Rookie of the Year award (2007) and MVP, the first since Ryan Howard.

Let the debates continue. Did your guy win???


JayBee Anama

Introducing Your 2011 AL Most Valuable Player...A Well Deserved Honor

In recent years, Topps has reserved six cards within Series 1 for the AL and NL award winners that are being announced this week. Unfortunately, this year's preliminary checklist doesn't specify what numbers are being held for the them. But yesterday afternoon, we learned who was named the American League's Most Valuable Player.

Congratulations to Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers for being named the American League's Most Valuable Player. The AL Cy Young winner, the AL Triple Crown winner, and new MVP, turned in one of the best pitching performances in MLB history. The numbers don't lie. He led the AL in Wins, ERA, K's, and WHIP (24-5 record, 2.40 ERA, 250 K's, and .920 WHIP in 251 innings of work).

Verlander becomes the first Tiger to win the MVP award since 1984 when Willie Hernandez (who by the way, also was a pitcher) took the prize home. In fact, all the Tigers who were eventually named MVP were pitchers (Denny McLain won in 1968 AND 1969, Hal Newhouser in 1944 AND 1945). He received 13 of 28 first-place votes (280 points), beating a field that included Jacoby Ellsbury of the Red Sox (242, 4 first-place votes), Jose Bautista of the Blue Jays (231, 5), Curtis Granderson of the Yankees (215, 3), Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers (193, 2), Robinson Cano of the Yankees (112), Adrian Gonzalez of the Red Sox (105), Michael Young of the Rangers (96, 1), Dustin Pedroia of the Red Sox (48), Evan Longria of the Rays (27), Ian Kinsler of the Rangers (25), Alex Avila of the Tigers (13), Paul Konerko of the White Sox (11), CC Sabathia of the Yankees (10), Adrian Beltre of the Rangers (9), Ben Zobrist of the Rays (7), Victor Martinez of the Tigers (7), James Shields of the Rays (7), Mark Teixeira of the Yankees (5), Asdrubal Cabrera of the Indians (4), Alex Gordon of the Royals (3), Josh Hamilton of the Rangers (1), and David Robertson of the Yankees (1).

In a move that is not necessarily unprecedented, but yet highly debated amongst fans, experts, and even the Hobby Message Boards, a pitcher has won the top prize in the American League. Verlander is the first pitcher to win the AL MVP since 1992 (Dennis Eckersley) and the first starting pitcher to do so since 1986 (Roger Clemens).

Let the debates continue. Did your guy win???


JayBee Anama

Friday, November 18, 2011

Change is a Constant

Benjamin Franklin once said (something to the effect of), "Nothing is certain except death and taxes." I know this, not only because I just looked it up online (because I wasn't sure if it was Mark Twain or Franklin that said this…this is a dig on somebody from years past…let's see if he's reading this), but because if anyone remembers those typing drills when first learning how to type, this was one of the lines I had to repeat over and over again (or something to that effect).

But the one thing that was also mentioned in that typing drill was something that Mr. Franklin didn't consider:


There is no greater constant in this world than change. Whether it is controlled or not, whether it is wanted or not, whether if it necessary or not, whether you like it or not, change happens. You are not the same person you were yesterday. Heck, you aren't the same person you were two hours ago. I'm not talking grand changes, but even the littlest things can change your life every second of the day. Everything you do causes change. Everything that is done is due to change.

People change. Blogs change. Heck, this taco stand of a blog was supposed to be solely about Topps Baseball Cards. It still is. But there is now a bit more of a focus on new products, commentary, opinions, and other things that I never intended when this blog first started. Heck, there may be more things that will come soon to this humble little blog that will change how this blog is perceived (no, it doesn't involve an increased presence of those other company's cards).

And such is life for baseball card collectors. Think about it. Throughout the second half of the 20th century, changes were occurring in the Hobby of ephemera, specifically, in sports card collecting. Those who have studied the history already know this. Changes happened in 1951, 1956, 1963, the late 70's, 1981, 1989 through the 1990's, 1997, 2006 and 2010, and every point in-between.

Change. It was hard to accept then, but now it's the norm. Until change happens again.

It is this change that is affecting our baseball landscape in these next few years. First, the Florida Marlins are no more. They are now the Miami Marlins. Then the Houston Astros, a NL team since 1962, a team celebrating 50 years in the National League in 2012, will become an American League team in 2013. Because of this, there will be two leagues with fifteen teams each. Each league will consist of three divisions with five teams a piece. Interleague play will become a daily occurrence now only because of the uneven number of teams in each league. And then there will be an extra playoff game, maybe starting in 2012, for sure in 2013, that will require the need for an extra wild card team. This means that the drama that we saw this past season would be moot because all four teams involved in it (including the ousted Braves and Red Sox) would have had to play a play-IN game just to get to the postseason.

Now, people have problems with change. Is it because of the number of changes, or the changes in general that is causing people to gather the torches and pitchforks? Have we all forgotten the uproar in the mid 90's when they changed the number of divisions (from 2 to 3), requiring the need of a wild card team in the first place? How about it in the 60's when they decided to split the leagues into divisions and then have a playoff series between division winners instead of just the first place teams in either league getting to the WS. I'm pretty sure that if they kept that format, the Cubs would have made it to the World Series somehow. And how about it when MLB consolidated the two SEPARATE LEAGUES into one huge conglomerate, meaning that offices were closed and umpiring crews were no longer league-exclusive? Okay, back to the point.

This is a necessary change. It was something that Paul White of the then Baseball Weekly said needed to be done. And I agreed with it then as I do now. It really wasn't working when one division has four teams and another has six while everybody else was content with five teams. The fact that it took this long to figure it out is just outright insane. But it will be done. FINALLY.

Now I think the next thing that needs to be discussed is how to schedule a 162 game season with six five-team divisions. USA Today proposed a schedule that would require every team to "play 16 games against each of its division rivals, eight games against each of the other 10 teams in its league, three games against each of the teams from a division in the opposite league, plus three games against a natural Interleague rival." (Compliments of an article "Astros move means year-round Interleague Play") The benefit of this scenario is that, besides three games, all of the teams in a division would play the same schedules." The only thing I don't like about this is that it means that instead of three game series, you have four game series with every other team in the league. Who determines where the rivalry game is played? How would this be even executed?

Another suggestion "would be to eliminate the unbalanced schedule and go to 10 games against each of the other 14 teams in your league (144 games), plus 18 Interleague games." (Again, this quote is from the article). While I actually like this idea (hey, it means we see more of everybody), it kind of kills the idea of how important the division rivalries are. Sure it would be nice to see for the Cubs to see the Mets more often, but it would also mean more games out in the west coast for everybody (and we know how people in the east like to stay up late to watch ballgames…how did those Fan Cave guys do it if they were based in NY???).

The Los Angeles Times set up a scenario suggesting that the schedule be set up so that "teams are expected to play 72 games -- 18 each -- against division opponents, 60 against teams in their league's other two divisions and 30 Interleague games." Do we really need THAT MANY INTERLEAGUE GAMES??! While I like the approach regarding playing teams within their league, I don't think I like the idea 30 interleague games unless you do a home and home with one exclusive division WITHOUT A RIVALRY SERIES.

I know that other baseball card bloggers have their ideas and wrote about them earlier in the week. I spent time thinking about this as well and came up with my own schedule formula. It takes some aspects of the NFL schedule formula and still keeps the importance of division games and provides a couple of interleague proposals (one with and WITHOUT the need of an interleague rival).

First, each team would play 162 games, same as always. No sense in reducing the number of games (I don't think the owners would like the idea). Each team would play eighteen games against each team in their division (just like the LA Times set up). That's nine home and nine away games. That's the easy part. From here, it gets a bit crazy. Each team will also play every team in the other two divisions six times (three home and three away…60 games). BUT!!! Depending on the finish of each team within their division, they will play the team with the same finish from the other divisions. If we go with the finish of the 2011 season, this would mean that the while the Cubs would play every team six times, as the fifth place team, they would also play Miami and San Diego an extra six games (meaning that the Cubs would have two series home and away with both Miami and San Diego while playing every other team at least once). This is similar to the NFL scheduling formula that requires a first place team from one division to play the first place team in the two other divisions outside of the full division they play during the season. That's 72 games total. Adding the 72 games played within the division, we're at 144 games. That leaves us with 18 games for interleague play; the ideal number of games for each team to play during the year. With 2,430 games during the course of a MLB season, only 270 of them will be interleague.

Now depending on if you like the "rivalry series" or not, I propose two different solutions to the interleague scheduling formula. Starting with the non rivalry series, the teams from one division would only play games with the teams from only one division (just like the NFL) and rotate so that every three years, every team would have played against all fifteen teams from the other league. For example, one year the Cubs would play against all five teams in the AL Central, next year all five teams from the AL East, the following year, all five teams from the AL West, and then repeat. There would be a formula based on where each team finishes that would determine where the games are to be played. (for example, as the fifth place team in the NL, the Cubs would visit the second and fourth place teams from the other Central division (the Indians and the Royals) and play host to the first and third place teams (the Tigers and White Sox) if we were following last year's standings. So what about the fifth place Twins? As the fifth place team in that division, the Cubs and Twins would play each other home and away. This would be in effect, the "rivalry" series.

For a quick summary (if you got tired of reading the above), it would mean that in this scenario (based on 2011 MLB standings) that the Cubs:

  • would play eighteen games each (nine home, nine away) with division rivals Brewers, Cardinals, Reds, and Pirates (72 games total),
  • would play twelve games each (six home, six away) with fellow fifth-place finishers Marlins and Padres (24),
  • would play six games (three home, three away) each with interdivision teams Phillies, Braves, Nationals, Mets, Diamondbacks, Giants, Dodgers, and Rockies (48),
  • would play three games each as host to the Twins, Tigers and the White Sox, and as visitors to the Twins, Indians and Royals for Interleague Play (18).
If there has to be a rivalry home-and-home series (like the Cubs and White Sox) that has to be played EVERY year, the formula would have to change from division to division (as the Cubs were fifth in their division and the Sox in third, slots would have to be adjusted for everything to fit…and it does as long as the rivals are from the same division – central to central, east to east, west to west). So the only change to the above schedule would be that the Cubs:
  • would play three games each as host to the White Sox, Tigers and the Twins, and as visitors to the White Sox, Indians and Royals for Interleague Play (18).
Now what if the teams in the Central division play teams from the East or West? Well, the above formula without rivals would work just fine. Based on last year's standings, the Cubs would play a home-and-home series with either the Astros (AL West…hey they finished sixth, they're the fifth place team in this scenario) or Orioles, and then play the rest of the teams from the divisions. But if there was a need for a home-and-home "rivalry" series (with the White Sox), then the Cubs would just play four of the five teams from the other division based on those teams respective finishes (they might not play the fourth place team for example, but play host to the first and fifth place teams and visit the second and third place team).

For a quick summary, if the Cubs and the rest of their NL Central mates were to play the AL East, their schedule would remain the same except the Cubs:

  • would play three games each as host to the White Sox, Yankees and the Orioles, and as visitors to the White Sox, Rays and Red Sox for Interleague Play (18).
The advantages of the schedule above include extra games with SPECIFIC teams from other divisions (in this case, the teams who finished in the same place in their division). There is still the feeling that playing teams within your division is important (72 games goes far in determining where a team is in the standings) and still get to visit every other team in your league at least once (and play host to them too).

It's all about change. If we don't accept it, we will be left behind. Not only within Major League Baseball, but in every other aspect of our lives change is important. Think about it, the names of the players in the game change, the rules change, the records change, the numbers change. The only things that don't seem to change are the basic rules of the GAME (one person throws ball, other person tries to hit it with bat, to determine an out or hit, run home). The people in our lives change. People will always be resistant, but eventually come to accept it.

Change. The game needed it. It will eventually be better. We just need to give it time.


JayBee Anama

Introducing Your 2011 MLB Cy Young Award Winners - A Diamond Duo Imagined

Here's another card you shouldn't bother looking for...IT DOESN'T EXIST!!!
When the Rookies of the Year were announced on Monday, I snuck in an imagined Diamond Duos card for both Craig Kimbrel and Jeremy Hellickson.  On Tuesday and Thursday the AL and NL Cy Young Award winners were officially announced, even though it seems that everyone already knew who would be named by the time the season ended.  Sure enough, both pitching Triple Crown winners took home the trophy/plaque/whatever they get for their mantle.

"So why not try another mock-up Diamond Duos card?" I thought. And after a bit of digging, it turns out that both pitchers had cards in this year's Diamond Duos insert set.  And even better, just like the Kimbrel/Hellickson cards, Kershaw was on the left side on his insert card (with Mat Latos) and Verlander was on the right (with Josh Johnson???).  So since I had both cards (unlike for the ROY's), you'd think it would be easy just to cut-and-paste the respective halves to make one "super card."

Not so.

Either my scanner is starting to act up (I hope not), or somehow, the gray/black color that is in the middle of each card is a different shade.  They didn't line up properly.  But somehow,  I was able to cut (carefully and virtually...what, did you think I took scissors to either card?  Are you nuts?) the Verlander section and paste his image over Latos.  It took a bit to make the borders fluid, but what you see above is the final product.

Looks good right?

Just don't try to zoom in on the image. Flaws abound. But from a distance, it looks like something from Topps graphics department wouldn't you think?

Oh well.


JayBee Anama

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Introducing Your 2011 NL Cy Young Award Winner...Like You Didn't Already Know

In recent years, Topps has reserved six cards within Series 1 for the AL and NL award winners that are being announced this week. Unfortunately, this year's preliminary checklist doesn't specify what numbers are being held for the them. 

On Tuesday, Justin Verlander was named the AL Cy Young Award winner. Today, we know who won the award in the National League.

Congratulations to Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers for winning the NL Cy Young Award. While not winning in unanimous fashion like his AL counterpart, the award was well deserved.  And why not?  Kershaw led the NL in Wins, ERA, K's, and WHIP (21-5 record, 2.28 ERA, 248 K's, and .977 WHIP in 233.1 innings of work), a Triple Crown, and then some.

He received 27 first-place votes (out of 32, for a total of 207 points).  In doing so, "The Claw" beat out a field that included Phillies teammates Roy Halladay (133 points, 4 first-place votes...defending Cy Young Award winner) and Cliff Lee (90 points), Ian Kennedy of the Diamondbacks (76, 1 first-place vote), Cole Hamels of the Phillies (17), Tim Lincecum of the Giants (7), Yovanni Gallardo of the Brewers (5), Matt Cain of the Giants (3), John Axford of the Brewers (2), NL Rookie of the Year Craig Kimbrel of the Braves (1), and Giants teammates Madison Bumgarner(1), and Ryan Vogelsong (1).

Already the recipient the NL Gold Glove award in 2011, Kershaw becomes the tenth Dodger pitcher to win the Cy Young Award since Eric Gagne in 2003 and the first Dodger's starting pitcher to win the award since Orel Hershiser in 1988.

Let the debates continue. Did your guy win???


JayBee Anama

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Introducing Your 2011 AL Cy Young Award Winner...Like This Was Going to be a Big Surprise

In recent years, Topps has reserved six cards within Series 1 for the AL and NL award winners that are being announced this week. Unfortunately, this year's preliminary checklist doesn't specify what numbers are being held for the them.  But yesterday afternoon, we learned who was named the American League's Cy Young Award Winner.

Congratulations to Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers for winning the AL Cy Young Award. In what should have been no big surprise, Verlander was unanimously declared the winner.  And why not?  He led the AL in Wins, ERA, K's, and WHIP (24-5 record, 2.40 ERA, 250 K's, and .920 WHIP in 251 innings of work), a Triple Crown, and then some.

In receiving all 28 first-place votes (points), Verlander beat out a field that included Jered Weaver of the Angels (97, 17 second-place votes), James Shields of the Rays (66, 5), CC Sabathia of the Yankees (63, 5), teammate Jose Valverde (28, 1), C. J. Wilson of the Rangers (9), Dan Haren of the Angels (7), Mariano Rivera of the Yankees (4), Josh Beckett of the Red Sox (3), Ricky Romero of the Blue Jays (2), and David Robertson of the Yankees (1).  This, after only getting one point in last year's Cy Young ballotting.

Verlander becomes the 21st pitcher to unanimously win the award (Roy Halladay won last year's NL award in the same fashion), and the twelfth pitcher to do so along with winning the Triple Crown.  He is also the first Tigers pitcher to win the award since Willie Hernandez in 1984 and the Tigers' first starting pitcher to win since Denny McLain all the way back in 1968.

Let the debates continue. Did your guy win???


JayBee Anama

Monday, November 14, 2011

Introducing Your 2011 MLB Rookies of the Year - A Diamond Duo Imagined

Don't bother looking for this card...IT DOESN'T EXIST!

In recent years, Topps has reserved six cards within Series 1 for the AL and NL award winners that are being announced this week. Unfortunately, this year's preliminary checklist doesn't specify what numbers are being held for the them.  But this afternoon, we learned who was named the Rookies of the Year in both the National and American Leagues.
Congratulations to both Craig Kimbrel of the Atlanta Braves and Jeremy Hellickson of the Tampa Bay Rays for winning the National League and American League Rookies of the Year Awards. Until the announcements were made this afternoon, it was anybody's guess as to who would win either award, as both leagues had many worthy candidates.

In what turned out to be a rare unanimous decision, Kimbrel, the Braves All-Star closer, blew past the competition with all 32 first-place votes (160 points). He beat out seven other players for the award, including teammate Freddie Freeman (70 points, 21 second place votes), Vance Worley of the Phillies (40 points), Wilson Ramos of the Nationals (6), Josh Collmenter of the Diamondbacks (5), Danny Espinosa of the Nationals (3), Darwin Barney of the Cubs (2), and Kenley Jansen of the Dodgers (2).

Hellickson, another one of the Rays stockpile of dangerous arms (102 points, 17 first-place votes), beat out a field that included Mark Trumbo of the Angels (63, 5), Eric Hosmer of the Royals (38, 4), Ivan Nova of the Yankees (30, 1), Michael Pineda of the Mariners (11 points), Dustin Ackley, also of the Mariners (6, 1 first-place vote), teammate Desmond Jennings (1), and Jordan Walden of the Angels (1).

Normally, I would include both winners' 2011 Topps cards above the post.  But while Hellickson makes an appearance in series 2, Kimbrel doesn't have a regular 2011 Topps card to his name.  He does get a card in the Update Series, but it's as an All-Star, not a regular card.  So I came up with the card above.  No, the card isn't real.  But luckily, the players were positioned in such a way on their respective Diamond Duos cards (Hellickson shares his card with Greg Maddux in Series 2; Kimbrel joins teammate Julio Teheran in the Update Series) that made the card above very easy to cut and paste.

So begins a wild week were debates will come fast and furious. Did your guy win??? 


JayBee Anama

Friday, November 11, 2011

To The Men and Women Who Serve in the United States Armed Forces 11-11-11

This was written last year, but the sentiments remain the same. Thank you.

November 11, 1919: President Wilson proclaims the first Armistice Day with the following words: "To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country's service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations." The original concept for the celebration was for the suspension of business for a two minute period beginning at 11 A.M., with the day also marked by parades and public meetings.

On June 1, 1954, President Eisenhower signs legislation changing the name of the legal holiday from Armistice Day to Veteran's Day. (from The History of Veterans Day)

To the Men and Women who serve in the US Armed Forces:

I will not pretend I know the infinite different reasons why you made the decision to join the US Military.

I can only imagine what your basic training was like (I'm not even sure the movies do any justice).

I will not pretend to know the feeling of being away from family, friends and all of the comforts of home, having been assigned to a foreign land, serving the interests of our country.

I will not say that I necessarily agree with ALL of the reasons why our country has gone to war.

I will not pretend to know what it is like out in the battlefields, not knowing if I was going to live to see another day.

But I will say this.

Thank you.

Thank you all for your service to our country.

Thank you for the sacrifices you made so that we can continue to live with the freedoms that we enjoy.

Your courage is nothing if not inspiring. Your stories become tales of legend that deserve to be told again and again.

For these, and countless other reasons, I give you my respect.

And I give you thanks.


JayBee Anama

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

We're Number #16! We're Number #16!

Maybe it was because I told him that I couldn't wait to see which blogs makes his list.  Maybe it was because I sent an e-mail to him about the possibility of putting his list on the Sports Card Blogroll as a possible monthly section featuring a blogger's favorite blogs.  Maybe it was because I said that I knew that there was no way in heck that this dog-and-pony-show of a blog would even scratch his list.
Whatever the reason...IT'S TIME TO CELEBRATE!!!  Break out the Kool and the Gang Album!!!
Because John Bateman of the blog Donruss 1982 has ranked this blog as number 16 on his "The 20 greatest Sports Card Blogs of all-time.
Let's see what he has to say about this humble, little blog:
"Well, Big Daddy J obviously is the driving force of the Baseball Card Blogroll, which that in itself makes his blog famous. While he tends to be more towards sports focus, he applies that focus to cards. For example, his blogs about guessing who is going to be pick to Topps All-Rookie team are thought provoking.  He used to have the random Topps card of the day (an awesome feature) but BJD seems to be posting a little less recently. Has been around since May of 2008."
Okay, well about that posting a little less recently, I apologize to you and all the people who still take the time to read this blog.  I have no excuses (you've already read about them in past apology posts).  The blog has evolved as well from its original intentions.  The cards are still the stars.  I just need to find a better (more original) way to present them. 
I have always believed that there are better blogs than this taco stand, so to be ranked at 16 is very humbling to say the least.  I mean, let me run down the list that he's put out so far:
And his honorable mentions included garvey cey russell lopes, The Lost Collector, Dinged Corners, Bad Wax, Too Many Grandersons, and Johngy's Beat.  A lot of great blogs have already been featured...and he still has fifteen more to announce.
Thanks John.  The offer still stands to post your top 20 list as it progresses onto the SCBR as its own section for a month, depending on when you finish your series. 


JayBee Anama

Monday, November 7, 2011

Rejoice Sticker Fans!!! For We Will Be Gifted with MLB Stickers in 2012!!!

According to the Number One Source of the Hobby, there will be a 2012 Topps Sticker Collection coming in March.
Cue the cheering crowds.  Cue the excitement.
The good news:  There will be mascot stickers (25 of them).  There will be 2011 season highlight stickers (nine...these replace the legends).  There will be 30 foil team stickers (two logos per sticker, including the new Miami Marlins logo).
The caveat:  There will be 245 player stickers.  The mascot stickers will be part of the team pages, meaning that 25 teams will have eight players on their page plus their biggest cheerleader (245 + 25 =270).  That's 25 less players getting the sticker treatment.  Ouch!
The sticker album will once again contain 32 pages, and hold 309 stickers, just like last year's wildly successful edition.  Now personally, I would have preferred more stickers and more pages, just like the sticker albums of years gone by.  But season highlights are nice.  And the design of the base stickers works. 
It is supposed to come out in March, 2012, just in time for spring training.  Enjoy the preview.


JayBee Anama

Who Will Be Named to Topps 2011 All-Star Rookie Team?

The contest deadline has past and I am no longer taking any entries for the big All-Star Rookie Team contest.  I thank everyone who took time to participate. 

For some reason, I never did get to use the computer downstairs all of last week, so I missed posting this when I said I would.  So that means that any entries that were sent to my e-mail address between November 2 and November 6 will be included as part of the contest.  There were a lot of interesting choices amongst the field of participants, so I am wishing myself the best.  This could get mighty expensive if I make enough mistakes. 
The Topps Company has already sent the 30 MLB managers a ballot that will determine who will get voted into the 2011 Topps All-Star Rookie Team, and will get that lovely gold trophy added to their 2012 Topps baseball cards (unless they return to the horrid silver cup from 2010...or worse, if they forget to put them on at all!!!) So without further ado, here are my picks for the 2011 Topps All-Star Rookie team.  If you out-guessed me, participants who have already sent their entries to my e-mail address (and those who inadvertantly left their picks in the comments) could win a complete 150-card set of 2005 Topps Rookie Cup (contest rules here):
  • 1B: Freddie Freeman, ATL (157 G, 0.282, 21 HR, 76 RBI)
  • 2B: Danny Espinosa, WSH (158 G, 0.236, 21 HR, 66 RBI, 17 SB)
  • 3B: Brent Morel, CWS (126 G, 0.245, 10 HR, 41 RBI)
  • SS: Dee Gordon, LAD (56 G, 0.304, 0 HR, 11 RBI, 24 SB)
  • OF: Eric Thames, TOR (95 G, 0.262, 12 HR, 37 RBI)
  • OF: Ben Revere, MIN (117 G, 0.267, 0 HR, 30 RBI, 34 SB)
  • OF: Doug Jennings, TB (63 G, 0.259, 10 HR, 25 RBI, 20 SB, 0.805 OPS)
  • C: J. P. Arencibia, TOR (129 G, 0.219, 23 HR, 78 RBI)
  • RHP: Ivan Nova, NYY (27 GS, 16-4, 3.70 ERA, 98 K, 1.331 WHIP)
  • LHP: Corey Luebke, SD (17 GS, 6-10, 3.29 ERA, 154 K, 1.067 WHIP)
  • RHP: Craig Kimbrel, ATL (79 G, 4-3, 2.10 ERA, 127 K, 1.039 WHIP, 46 SV)
For sure there will be players like Mark Trumbo of the Angels, Eric Hosmer of the Royals, and Daniel Descalso of the Cardinals who warrant consideration, as well as Zach Britton of the Orioles, Jeremy Hellickson of the Rays, Jordan Walden of the Angels, and others will have their votes (from either the MLB managers, or you the readers).
Let the debates begin!!!


JayBee Anama

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

As Today is November 2, 2011

November 2 is traditionally All Souls Day. It is the day where we celebrate the lives of family and friends who have passed away. Many will go to cemeteries and pray, some may even picnic on the grounds. It is not really a day of mourning, but a day of reflection. Remembering those who we strongly miss.

Personally, I would like to honor my grandparents, Felix Anama, Leonor Filoteo Anama, Gloria Y. Nichols, Ruben S. Menguito, Sgt. Clinton H. Nichols. As well as countless great aunts and uncles too numerous to list.

Today I want to remember the seven souls who died on January 8, 1993, at the Brown's Chicken in Palatine, Illinois: Michael C. Castro, Rico Solis, Thomas Mennes, Marcus Nellsen, Guadalupe Maldonado, Richard Ehlenfeldt, and Lynn Ehlenfeldt.

I would like to remember the people I've met over the years who left us too soon: Shannon McNamara, Linda Beyer, Gail Leff, Lois Winesburgh, Nancy Huber, Joseph Nasca.

On behalf of my wife, I would like to honor her grandparents, uncles, and especially, her mother (since I have not asked for my wife's permission to do so, I am not adding their names here).

Finally, I would like to take a moment to remember the families, the loved ones who were left behind.

Now that the personal side of the blog has been taken care of, I would also like to take time to remember 106 more people. Between 11/02/2010 and 11/01/2011, 106 people who can lay claim to playing major league baseball, passed away. Many lived long productive lives, even after their careers ended. Others, tragically, either passed away before their potential could be fully reached or before they could enjoy the fruits of their retirement.

On this night, I take time out of my humble little baseball card blog to remember:

Clyde King11/2/2010
Sparky Anderson11/4/2010
Jay Van Noy11/6/2010
George Estock11/7/2010
George Binks11/13/2010
Hal Bamberger11/14/2010
Ed Kirkpatrick11/15/2010
Elder White11/16/2010
Danny McDevitt11/20/2010
Steve Kuczek11/21/2010
Tom Underwood11/22/2010
Bill Werle11/27/2010
Cal Emery11/28/2010
Gil McDougald11/28/2010
R.C. Stevens11/30/2010
Ron Santo12/3/2010
Ken Lehman12/4/2010
Art Mahan12/7/2010
Cardell Camper12/7/2010
Bob Feller12/15/2010
Walt Dropo12/17/2010
Phil Cavarretta12/18/2010
Karl Olson12/25/2010
Steve Boros12/29/2010
Francisco de la Rosa1/6/2011
Ryne Duren1/6/2011
Jose Vidal1/7/2011
Red Borom1/7/2011
Dave Sisler1/9/2011
Roy Hartsfield1/15/2011
Perry Currin1/17/2011
Al Grunwald1/18/2011
George Crowe1/18/2011
Gus Zernial1/20/2011
Jose Ortiz1/20/2011
Ron Piche2/3/2011
Woodie Fryman2/4/2011
Cliff Dapper2/8/2011
Tony Malinosky2/8/2011
Chuck Tanner2/11/2011
Gino Cimoli2/12/2011
Joe Frazier2/15/2011
Buddy Lewis2/18/2011
Len Gilmore2/18/2011
Spook Jacobs2/18/2011
Greg Goossen2/26/2011
Duke Snider2/27/2011
Scott Cary2/28/2011
Bob McNamara3/9/2011
Mitchell Page3/12/2011
Fred Sanford3/15/2011
Marty Marion3/15/2011
Tommy Dunbar3/16/2011
Charlie Metro3/18/2011
Bob Rush3/19/2011
Tom McAvoy3/19/2011
Normie Roy3/22/2011
Tom Silverio4/2/2011
Eddie Joost4/12/2011
Bobo Osborne4/15/2011
Reno Bertoia4/15/2011
Jim Heise4/21/2011
Bobby Thompson4/25/2011
Mike Krsnich4/30/2011
Duane Pillette5/6/2011
Carlos Pascual5/12/2011
Mel Queen5/13/2011
Harmon Killebrew5/17/2011
Jim Pyburn5/21/2011
Paul Splittorff5/25/2011
Bill Harris5/28/2011
Jose Pagan6/7/2011
Jim Northrup6/8/2011
Ted Gray6/15/2011
Richie Myers6/24/2011
Elmer Sexauer6/27/2011
Billy Baldwin6/29/2011
Don Buddin6/30/2011
Wes Covington7/4/2011
Dick Williams7/7/2011
Howard Hilton7/12/2011
Tex Nelson7/22/2011
Mike Palm7/24/2011
Hideki Irabu7/27/2011
Alex Pitko8/1/2011
Joe Caffie8/1/2011
Al Federoff8/2/2011
Bob Will8/11/2011
Joe Trimble8/11/2011
Ernie Johnson8/12/2011
Mike Flanagan8/24/2011
Frank Fanovich8/27/2011
Jesse Jefferson9/8/2011
Bill Taylor9/15/2011
Danny Litwhiler9/23/2011
Eddie Bockman9/29/2011
John Romonosky10/2/2011
Ralph Hodgin10/4/2011
Johnny Schmitz10/5/2011
Cy Buker10/11/2011
Don Williams10/16/2011
Merritt Ranew10/18/2011
Roy Smalley10/22/2011
Bert Cueto10/25/2011
Dave Cole10/26/2011
Ricky Adams10/28/2011


JayBee Anama