Wednesday, March 28, 2012

It Finally Arrived!!!

My 2012 Topps Series 1 Master Set is in.  More details to come.  I am very happy.


JayBee Anama

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Is the Hobby Dead??? Are You Kidding Me??!

Normally, I love it when our Hobby of Sports Card Collecting gets press with the mainstream media. It gets people talking about things we who are knee-deep in it already know about and it may possibly get people interested in the Hobby.  From the Billy Ripken thing from many years ago, to Skip Schumaker's right foot (oh yeah, there was a squirrel involved), from former President G. W. Bush appearing making an appearance in Derek Jeter's card to anything involving the legendary T206 Wagner, people are made aware that the Hobby is still around.

Then something like the story CBS Sunday Morning comes on.

Boom goes the dynamite.

The story can be summarized in four very simple words:


Thanks to video of Mr. Mint, stock video of 1990's baseball card productions, and a comparison of the National in the mid-90's to a recent Tuesday night in Parsippany, NJ, Armen Keteyian showed the world that our Hobby is dying.  Quoting the transcript, "The card business struck out."  And it is the Internet, video games, and "soaring prices for glossy gimmicks" that is bringing the Hobby to a likely death.

Since this story aired, many of your favorite Hobby bloggers and sources in the Hobby have weighed their opinions on Twitter and their respective sites. The consensus is this:
  • The story was poorly researched
  • No balance to disprove otherwise
  • The use of stock footage from a mid 90's National was a joke
  • Mr. Mint is not the definitive Voice of the Hobby that he once was
  • That if the idea was mentioning that the Hobby we know is dead, they did an excellent job of selling their case
Armen Keteyian has been defending his story on Twitter.  Some of the highlights (he is responding to tweets directed towards him...his words begin after the ">"
  • @armenketeyian ya think??!?!??? Countless new cards regularly sell for $1,000 and up ...> not the sale, the demo. It's dying.
  • @armenketeyian guess u don't fact chk like used 2. Like saying shoe sales are down & not interviewing Nike, Reebok & Adidas>Topps declined (my note:  smart move on Topps' part...last thing they need is to have been party to this)
  • @sportsmktgguy: Look any biz that worked in 80s & everyone will tell you way they do biz has changed>no debate, biz down 75%, few kids
  • We @PaniniAmerica personally inviting @darrenrovell & @ArmenKeteyian 2 join us & 30k collectors @National in Baltimore-Aug #sportsbiz”>kids?
  • @sportsmktgguy: Going to hotel for show & saying category is inaccurate: look at mass retail, hobby & internet>>disputing Rosen, book?
  • @sportsmktgguy: @ArmenKeteyian down 75% from what? its evolved. Males 18-55 drive category.”> from $1.2B in 1991. And 18-50 shell of past
  • @cmc918 agree on hobby. Just nowhere near the 1B industry it was. Without fresh blood - kids- you're on a respirator.
  • @SCUncensored obvious to you. Not SM audience or me either, who did a lot of card/autograph stories in 80s and 90s.
So basically he is now saying that because there are no "kids" taking up the Hobby, it will die with those of us who are presently collecting.  We've heard all of this before. And you know of the many efforts EVERY company (from Topps to those other card companies) has made to attract more kids to the Hobby.  They are meeting this initiative with somewhat moderate success.  But who said this could be done overnight?  It takes time.

I will be one of many to say that the Hobby as we knew it in the 80's and early 90's will never be back.  And to that I say, "Good Riddance."  Thanks to the speculators who thought that their 1987 Topps cards would hold the same value as a 1952 Mantle (not his rookie card by the way) in time only to realize that this would not become the case nearly crippled the Hobby, sending it to life support.  The same could be said with comic books.  In fact, take out the words baseball cards from the piece and replace them with with comic books, and you get the same news story.

But what Mr. Keteyian failed to mention was that while the Hobby we knew then is gone, the Hobby has evolved to what it has become now.  Thanks to the Internet (the same driving force that supposedly is killing the Hobby), many collectors have become a bit more selective in what we collect. We are able to pick the players we collect by doing a bit of research.  Information about sets from days gone by and cards coming soon to the market are at our fingertips.  And yes, kids are coming.  Not in droves as once before.  But if CBS had taken a bit more time to record the Sun-Times show last weekend (and they did for a bit...they should have done more), the average viewer at home would have seen a good sized crowd with LOTS OF YOUNG PEOPLE in attendance. Yes, the target market is the adult collector.  They have the money to spend on mid-to-high end products.  But there are still products (like the eponymous Topps brand) that are catered to and priced for kids (see Opening Day, Attax, et. al). 

Sales may be down 75 percent, but that's comparing today's total to the mid 1990's, when there were tons of companies making tons of cards to meet the demands of tons of people. I think (no, I don't have the numbers in front of me) that if you figure in today's factors (less companies, less cards, less people) that the sales in today's world are about the same if not more than they were twenty-plus-years ago.

The Hobby as we know it is not dead.  The sky is not falling.  I wish Armen Keteyian or someone else could do a counter-point story, featuring all the good things that are happening in today's Hobby.  Because there are a lot of good things going on in our Hobby.

I leave tonight with one final pair of tweets.  It certainly shows how united we are as collectors in this crazy world of Sports Card Collecting:
  • Cardboard Connection ‏ @CardboardRadio If there is anything positive to take from @CBS piece, it's that in 24 hours we've seen #thehobby unite to prove them WRONG! #collect
  • ‏ @SportsCardBlog @CardboardRadio Some of us may differ on opinions of #thehobby, but when push comes to shove we're all in it together. #collect
Truer words have never been spoken/typed.


JayBee Anama

Thursday, March 22, 2012

My Daughter's Want List...Really!!!

I brought my daughter to the Sun-Times show on Friday night.  I told her as we were walking down the aisles of the show that she has been with me to many card shows...even when she was just a baby.  In fact, I think we took her to a card shop before heading home from the hospital that first night we brought her home (had to get those last few cards from 2000 Topps that were saved for me). 

It was easier when she was younger.  Her favorite player of all-time is Derrek Lee.  She even did a bio on him for a writing assignment at school (with visual aids aka my entire D-Lee card collection up to that point).  She collected cards that she thought looked nice, and even the dealers at shows she attended would give her free cards.  I even remember that day at the National when the eTopps booth (not Topps, eTopps) when we were able to nab a ton of 2008 ToppsTown cards (they were just sitting there...really). 

Alas, she's growing up.  There are other things that have taken precedence in her life over baseball cards.  Now she looks at her dad as a big card geek.  It was inevitable.  Between dance (she made the big dance troupe from the park district in the fall), band (she's a percussionist in the picture of her with the drumsticks), newspaper (the sixth grade "supereporter") and the usual middle school schedule, her life is pretty busy as it is.  Baseball cards have rightfully (and sadly for this dad) have taken a back seat.  Maybe she'll get into it again, if only as a reminder of how she and I bonded all those years ago (I'm almost in tears writing this...)

But I digress.

Besides baseball cards, it turns out that my daughter is a fan of the ghost hunting shows on the television.  While she likes the TAPS group on Ghost Hunters, she is a really big fan of Ghost Adventures.  Loves the show.  And I could only be proud of this because I love reading about REAL ghost stories (something I got from my mother so she's thrilled that her China doll loves these shows). 

Now to the point of the title of the post.  One of the mini set themes found in 2011 Topps Allen & Ginter was called "Uninvited Guests."  It is a ten-card set of houses and other locations that have had infamous ghost sightings.  The backs of each of these cards even has a brief summary or two about what goes on at each location.  Perusing the checklist, it looks like either the TAPS or the GAC have been to almost all of these locations (save possibly the White House and Amityville).  Now at the National last year, we were able to find three of the ten cards in the set.  She was hoping to find the rest at the show last weekend.  Suffice it to say, we are now in possession (pun intended) of all but ONE of the cards, and it will haunt us to no end. 

That is because of the ten cards, we are missing card #5 (or #UG5 The Amityville Haunting).

She also liked the look of the Ascent of Man set from last year's A & G and asked if we could make a go of completing the set.  Now, we had few cards from the National. And I had no idea until we bought more that these cards, when put together, create a 26-card long mural that begins with Prokaryotes and ends with Modern Man.  After buying what we could find at the show, we're down to the following cards to complete the set:
  • AOM1 Prokryotes
  • AOM15 Catarrhini
  • AOM17 Hominidae
  • AOM23 Homo erectus
She likes the Allen & Ginter sets for what she calls "all the weird stuff that's there" (which includes the Revolving Door that she HAD TO HAVE).  She's looking for cards of Lucy, Area 51, Pluto, and other odds and ends (we'll get a list up soon...she has to see what's in all of the A & G sets first). 

Now, if I could only help my son finish that Spongebob Squarepants Panini sticker book...


JayBee Anama

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Éirinn go brách! We're Celebrating Where??!

Public Service Announcement: As we celebrate St. Patrick's Day, please remember to celebrate responsibly.

(Please note that a lot of what is written below has been written before, with a bit of changes to make it relevant for the events transpiring today).

Today is St. Patrick's Day. It is the day that honors St. Patrick, who is the patron saint of Ireland. It also commemorates the arrival of Christianity to the Emerald Isle. In fact, it is said (thanks Wikipedia) that he used shamrocks to explain the Holy Trinity.

The Chicago River will be dyed a nice green this year. And it is said that they do a fantastic job of it as it pretty much stays that color for the rest of the year. And for the first time in a few years, the South Side St. Patrick's Day Parade will be happening today. This, along with many parades happening today, will make the Chicago area THE PLACE TO BE to get into the Irish spirit. For my part, because I (and I'm not kidding when I type this) love Irish and Celtic music, my CD player will be playing a few Irish music CD's. I like the Celtic Twilight series and need #'s 5 and 6 to catch up. I also have a number of NatureQuest CD's with music set to nature (from the days I needed to relax unless I wanted to suffer nervous breakdowns). My family enjoyed the corned beef dinner on Thursday night and unless we find a restaurant serving it, won't be having it tonight.


Because it's a busy day for the Anama family. This weekend is the big Sun-Times Card Show at the convention center down the street from the house. My daughter and I went to it last night. It was the first time I ever attended a show on a Friday. I was told beforehand that the show on Friday night is relatively quiet compared to the hustle and bustle of Saturdays. And tonight was no exception. Many of the usual vintage card dealers were there, a few of the big box dealers too. The auction houses were there showing off items that they plan on putting up for sale in the near future. And even a certain Mr. Mint was there to greet customers as they began their walk through the show aisles. I found only one or two dealers in the entire show dealing catering to set collectors working on current sets. As 2012 Topps Heritage is the set of the moment, I was able to see many of the variations and...ahem...gimmick cards up close. I don't buy the Heritage line of products, but the cards did look nice in person.

I did manage to buy a grand total of 32 cards to knock a tiny dent to my want list. I would have bought more, but my favorite dealer from New York AGAIN did not set up for this show. As disappointed as I was about that, I still managed to spend some refund money. I am focusing right now on four sets (in order of importance to finish the set):

  • 2012 Topps Update ToppsTown cards
  • Legend SP's from 2009, 2010, and 2011
  • Original Back SP's from 2010 and 2011
  • Everything Else on the Wantlist on the Sidebar of this blog
How did I do?

  • 8 ToppsTown cards
  • 13 Legend SP's from 2011 Topps
  • 11 Original Back cards from both years
  • One Complete Set of 2010 Topps Allen & Ginter w/SP's and the 75 card This Day in History set
Not a bad haul for a Friday night.  My daughter is after the 2011 Topps A & G mini set of haunted houses and we were able to get a dealer to hold onto some cards for us for when we come back today.  That said, the highlight of her night was (don't laugh, she will kill me) buying a card from the 2010 A & G set of...The Revolving Door!

That's right...The Revolving Door!!!

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA! And she's proud of it too. Hey, whatever works, right?

Today, I go back to the show.  This time, with my son.  My wife and my daughter are going to make a trip to Chicago to help out an uncle clearing things out from his storage facility for sale.  Then after that, we all get together and drive down to Governor's State University, where my daughter will meet up with her dance troupe and perform in a competition.  Governor's State is located way south of my comfort (meaning "I won't get lost because I know the area") zone (which is EVERYWHERE south of the 290).

Now for the baseball portion of the program. If you're wondering, while there are many players of Irish descent in both the Major Leagues and the Minor Leagues, the last native born Irish player was Joe Cleary. Born in County Cork, Cleary only appeared in one game (08/04/1945) in 0.1 inning of work for the Washington Senators. But in that eventful inning, he struck out one batter (the good news), but allowed five hits, three walks, and seven earned runs to score. Saving time for the math, but seven runs in 1/3 innings equals an ERA of 189.

If anybody says, "Top of the morning to you," to you today, make sure to respond in kind, "And the rest of the day to yourself."

So now, a quick toast...

May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be at your back.
May your cards collections grow to unmeasurable heights in both volume and value.
May the quest for new cards be swift.
May the journey of life treat you well today and always.
And may a certain North Side baseball team win it all this year.
If you catch my drift.



JayBee Anama

Monday, March 12, 2012

The "March 12 Birthday" All-Star Team!!!

Of the 17, 736 athletes who made an appearance in Major League Baseball, only 60 were born on March 12. Of these 60, eight became All-Stars.

The split between pitchers and position players is even at 30. Combined, the hitters have a batting average of .261, hit 2107 home runs, driven in 8231, and stolen 1714 bases. The pitchers have a combined record of 529-508 with 90 saves, an ERA of 3.75 and a WHIP of 1.361.

The youngest (as of the beginning of the 2012 season) was born in 1985 (also the only active player on the list). The oldest was born all the way in 1857.

So without further ado, enclosed is the "I Was Born on March 12" All-Star Team.

Manager: Larry Rothschild - (1954): 1998-2001.  205-294 career record.  Can double as team's pitching coach.

  • Vern Law (1930): 1950-1967. 162-147, 3.77 ERA, 364 Games Started, 1092 K's, 1.284 WHIP, 13 Saves. Two All-Star Games.
  • Reb Russell (1889): 1913-1923. 80-59, 2.33 ERA, 148 GS, 495 K's, 1.080 WHIP, 13 Saves.
  • Phil Knell (1865): 1888-1895. 79-90, 4.05 ERA, 163 GS, 575 K's, 1.503 WHIP.
  • Bill James (1892): 1913-1919. 37-21, 2.28 ERA, 60 GS, 253 K's, 1.233 WHIP, 3 Saves.
  • Bud Tinning (1906): 1932-1935. 22-15, 3.19 ERA, 35 GS, 135 K's, 1.331 WHIP, 4 Saves.
  • Joe Engel (1893): 1912-1920. 17-23, 3.38 ERA, 53 GS, 151 K's, 1.439 WHIP, 4 Saves.
  • Mike Ignasiak (1966): 1991-1995. 10-4, 4.80 ERA, 88 K's, 1.504 WHIP.
  • Horacio Pina (1945): 1968-1978. 23-23, 3.25 ERA, 278 K's, 38 Saves.
  • P.J. Walters (1985): 2009-2011. 2-0, 7.24 ERA, 40 K's, 1.529 WHIP.

Position Players:

  • 1B Ray Barker (1936): 1960-1967.  10 HR, 44 RBI, .214, .642 OPS.
  • 2B Otto Huber (1914):  1939.  0 HR, 3 RBI, .273, .591 OPS.
  • 3B Denny Lyons (1866):  1885-1897.  62 HR, 756 RBI, .310, .850 OPS, 224 SB.
  • 3B George Arias (1972): 1996-1999.  14 HR, 55 RBI, .238, .649 OPS.
  • SS Felix Escalona (1979):  2002-2005.  0 HR, 13 RBI, .209, .543 OPS.
  • OF Darryl Strawberry (1962):  1983-1999.  335 HR, 1000 RBI, .259, .862 OPS, 221 SB.  Eight All-Star Games.
  • OF Steve Finley (1965):  1989-2007.  304 HR, 1167 RBI, .271, .775 OPS, 320 SB.  Two All-Star Games.
  • OF Johnny Callison (1939):  1958-1973.  226 HR, 840 RBI, .264, .773 OPS.  Four All-Star Games.
  • OF Jim Wynn (1942):  1963-1977.  291 HR, 964 RBI, .250, .802 OPS, 225 SB.  Three All-Star Games.
  • OF Raul Mondesi (1971):  1993-2005.  271 HR, 860 RBI, .273, .815 OPS, 229 SB.  One All-Star Game.
  • OF Ruppert Jones (1955):  1976-1987.  147 HR, 579 RBI, .250, .746 OPS.  Two All-Star Games.
  • C-OF Dale Murphy (1956): 1976-1993. 398 HR, 1266 RBI, .265, .815 OPS.  Seven All-Star Games.
  • C Alex Gaston (1893):  1920-1929.  3 HR, 40 RBI, .218, .550 OPS.
After reviewing the roster, I realize that I while finding outfielders and catchers for this team was relatively easy (how can you go wrong with an outfield corp that appeared in a combined 27 ASG rosters???), I was really scraping to find players for the infield.

To be honest, I started writing this post a year ago today.  I just never had the time to finish it.  So let's wish the above players, as well as the other 38 major leaguers a big



JayBee Anama

P.S.  Special birthday greetings to Bryan Hebson (1976).  He turns 36 today.  And, oh yeah...Happy Birthday to me!!!.  jba

Friday, March 9, 2012

Let Me Take You Down, 'Cause I'm Going to...

I've been a very, very bad trader. 

I admit it.  I'm really bad at sending packages for trading.

But it's not because of ill intent.

It's because I haven't had either time or money to trade with other collectors on a regular basis.

Cards, of course I have cards. 

But finding good homes for them and the money to send them to all points around the world hasn't been easy.

Then last week, I finally got around to sending a few cards to people.

I sent both winners of my All-Star Rookie Team contest one Hobby pack each of 2011 Topps Update Series AND 2012 Topps Series 1. To Steve and Kyle, thank you for participating in the contest.

To Edgar Galvan, I apologize for the long delay in getting your cards out to you. So I hope that the Hobby packs of Topps Update Series and 2012 Topps Series 1, along with most of the cards from your wantlist arrived safely to you.

To the Night Owl, I hope that the James Loney gold card arrived to you safely.  I think I still owe you on a trade...but if not, then at least the card went to a Dodgers fan.

And finally, to Ryan Hughes (and to explain why I titled the post the way I did).  Thank you very much for holding this for me:

2011 Topps Update Series Darryl Strawberry #US238B.

I can only assume that the package of cards I sent to you arrived safely.  I am glad that the 1996 Cal Ripken Score card I sent to you found a good home in your collection.  Thank you very much for the Strawberry card.  What a picture on the Darryl here.  He was one of the reasons I would be nervous whenever the Cubs took on the Mets when I first started watching baseball.  He could beat you in so many ways (home runs seemed to do it against the Cubbies).

That's one more card from the growing list of SP's that I need for my collection.  I am sorry for the long delays in sending out everything.  But better late than never, I guess.  Thank you all for your patience.


JayBee Anama

Sunday, March 4, 2012

So the Yankees and Blue Jays Are Getting 2012 Topps Team Sets After All

In December, I thought I'd beat everyone to the punch and announce that Topps is going to continue the retail packed team sets in 2012. I did this because I have EVERY team set they've put out in this format since 2006. 

Yes, I'm insane.

And, yes, I will be going after these sets when they are put out to market whether online or live.

But there was a bit of a problem.

The source I had used to gather pictures of the packages I will (and that's a guarantee, folks) get this year only had 28 of the 30 team sets.  In fact, in December and January...EVERY site pre-selling these sets had many, and not all of the team sets depicted.  And in EVERY case, the teams involved were the New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays.

Well, that is now no longer the case.

Below are the pictures of the two sets I couldn't find back in December:

2012 Topps New York Yankees Team Set

2012 Topps Toronto Blue Jays Team Set

Why not bring all 30 team sets together for the first time on this humble, little blog:

If you want a preliminary checklist, well, the link is gone (I knew I should have taken the link when I had the chance.  The latest change to the checklist was the addition of Prince Fielder to the Tigers team set, which means somebody's going to be excluded from the original plans.  Oh well...

That's better.  Now if I can only get my hands on some money for the Master Set...


JayBee Anama

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Oops!!! Missed the February Update of the SCBR!!! So Let's Get It Done!!!

One of the unfortunate facets of changing work hours is that I'm not up as late (or should not be) to do work on this humble, little blog, or the SCBR. 

In the last week (or two), I had e-mails (at asking to add new blogs to the Big Blogroll.  So last night, they were added.  Presently, the blogroll contains a record 360 active blogs about the Hobby of Sports Card Collecting.  At the beginning of February (right around the time that Blogger started having issues), the SCBR held 340 blogs.  So in February, 20...


new blogs were added.  Better late than never to remove the inactive ones though.  Here are the blogs being removed from the active roster:
With the above six blogs being moved to the inactive list, this brings the number of blogs down to 354, for an awesome net gain of +14.  As always, if you, or someone you know, has a blog that should be added to the Sports Card Blogroll, send me an e-mail (at  If you're coming back to the Hobby Blogging Community with baseball fast approaching and want to have your blog added back, just let me know too.  At 354 blogs, the number of consistant voices in the blogosphere continues to grow.  Let's hope for more to join us now that the games (albeit spring training) are getting underway.


JayBee Anama