Thursday, December 25, 2014

My Christmas Gifts...So Far

At my age, I really don't ask for much when it comes to Christmas gifts (if at all...nobody asks). Anything will do for me now. In the last few years, however, I've had to re-think that philosophy.

A couple of years ago, I received a Magic 8-Ball for Christmas. I was gracious upon receiving it and if I can find it, will put it on the Bay...eventually.

Last year, along with gloves that didn't fit, one of the gifts I received a DVD about bartending. With me looking for work, I thought, why not. I don't really drink, but always wanted to learn.

This year, I actually received something that I could use. A notepad for my little office. I was happy with this one as I could now use the notebook instead of scrambling to find a piece of paper to write things down. My younger siblings-in-law pooled some funds together to get their married siblings Google Chromecast devices. These are the things you plug into the television and then you can link it to the computer or cell phones to watch whatever it is on the screen on the TV. It's a really great thing. I'd love to use it.

The problem? We don't have a TV that can use this. So, either I re-gift, beg one of my sibs for a TV, or trade it to one of my in-laws who could actually use it. Options, options, options.

This year, I've decided that all I want for Christmas is a 5-inch D-ring (or flat ring) binder and a box of Ultra-Pro Platinum 9-pocket pages. That's it. That's all I need. Anything else would have been a bonus.

Last week, my son and his classmates made their pilgrimage to the Dollar Tree store to buy presents. Last year, he bought me a coffee mug, which I still use. This year, I requested something different. I wanted baseball cards.

You see, all over Facebook, people were saying that the Dollar Tree stores have been selling packs of baseball cards for a penny. That's right, one cent. And many of these same people were finding short prints, sometimes SSP's in these packs. Now, let's get something straight here. The packs they sell at the Dollar Tree are just of base cards. No inserts, no relics, no autos. Just 5 base cards in a pack. AT A PENNY! Cards haven't been sold at this low of a price since the 50's.

The problem was that I wasn't sure that the deal was still going on, or that the store near me was even in on the promotion. So just on a whim, I told Taylor I wanted something from Topps. And when he came home with the gifts wrapped, I could tell that he only bought one pack for me. That's fine, I thought. The sale must be over.

Today, I opened my pack of 2013 Topps Series 1 cards. I'll get to what was in the pack in a moment. His receipt was included with the pack. Sure enough, the pack of cards cost...ONE PENNY!!!

That means for a dollar, he could have bought me one hundred packs. But when he went to the register, he didn't notice this. So, he got my present for one penny. Oh, well. At least now I know what I'm going to be doing tomorrow...

Anyway, here are the cards that were included in the pack:

  • #6 Ryan Howard, Phillies
  • #252 Dustin Ackley, Mariners
  • #76 Brandon Inge, Athletics
  • #278 Christian Garcia, Nationals
  • #299 Darwin Barney, Cubs
Score one Cubs card. Loved Darwin Barney during his time here. I was hoping that he, Castro, and Rizzo would become the next Dunston-Sandberg-Grace infield of the late '80's through early '90's. But he was traded to the Dodgers last summer. I wish him well.

Getting a Ryan Howard card a few years ago would be a great thing. Now, eh? Ackley is only 26, still has time to develop into the star that the Mariners are hoping for. Like the Inge card, but really, if you didn't know who he was, this card could have been of anybody. Christian Garcia is a Free Agent after the 2014 season.

Love the presents so far. Can't wait to see if there is more to come. Merry Christmas to you and your kin.

Now go back and celebrate with family. I know I will.


JayBee Anama

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

It's Christmas Time Again...Fa La La La La

'Twas the day before Christmas, and I shut down my work computer, I look around the house and notice that it's been a bit of a subdued celebration. It wasn't long ago that the kids wanted toys and games under the tree. This year, "just give us gift cards...we'll figure out what to buy."

Ho, ho ho.

Oh, don't get me wrong, the tree is still standing (after a couple of collapses, it was a miracle that we found a stand that could hold the tree), but with all four of us running non-stop, decorations that we had up in the past are still in boxes. Maybe next year, we'll use them.

While it's already happening elsewhere in the world, tonight, we prepare for the birth of Jesus with Christmas Eve Mass (we've been to two Simbang Gabi's already) and then dinner at my brother's (and that's unless the lady with four kids and one just ready to arrive tells us that it's time to go...long story).

In the meantime, with the kids getting older, having to shop for them has been a bit easier. They already know what stores they want to go to, so we'll either give them the cash or the gift card and they're done. My wife and I on the other hand will just do our shopping when the time is right (probably after the holidays are over).

On behalf of my family, I hope you and yours have a very good Christmas. May you find the cards you need in your stockings and may we all add to our ever growing collections in the coming new year.


JayBee Anama

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Hey, Did I Mention That the Sell Sheets for 2015 Topps Series 2 Were Live? I Didn't?

So it's been a busy month, well it's been a busy year for me. The Hobby and this humble, little blog took a bit of a backseat as other things took priority. But apparently in the madness of it all, Topps released images of the sell sheets for 2015 Topps Series 2.

Take a look at what we get to look forward to just a bit after the 2015 baseball season gets underway:

Wait, wasn't the S1 sell sheet 10 pages? This is only 7.

Series 2 also contains 350 cards, meaning that the base set now stands at 700 cards, the first time the base set has surpassed 660 since 2006. That's 40 more players (possibly) getting cardboard love (that, or it's a 40-card retrospective of Derek Jeter's the base set...don't quote me on it). Gold, Rainbow foil, Snow Camouflage, Black, Pink, Framed, Clear, Red, Blue, Platinum, and other color parallels will be thrown in for those who love that sort of thing.

I'm starting to like the look of the base cards. While it isn't a white bordered set (the first since 2007), it looks like each player's card will utilize his team's base colors. I can't wait to see these cards up close:

Of the six insert sets being included with Series 2, only one carries over from the first, that being the Highlight of the Year set (30 cards). The rest are new for 2015, and they focus on more on baseball's history (maybe that's the theme for 2015 as I don't really see anything close to a unifying idea):
  • Eclipsing History (15 cards), record breakers. The two-player card features the player that set the record, and then the guy that broke it.
  • Heart of the Order (20 cards), featuring sluggers and the players who bat in front of and behind him.
  • Stepping Up (20 cards), clutch moments...another baseball history concept
  • 'Til It's Over (15 cards). Taking the famous line from Yogi, "It Ain't Over 'Til It's Over" this set features "Legendary comebacks."
  • Baseball Royalty (25 cards) is a Hobby and Hobby jumbo pack exclusive (translation, you're not going to find these at your big box store). This year's edition of the legends set.
Autographs, relics, and the like for each of the above insert sets will be included.

With all of the off-season transactions, it will be interesting to see many of the players with their new teams. It kind of makes sense to do this in Series 2, not so much in Series 1. Of course, they could just save it all for the Update set.  Which, if we follow the timing of the release of the first two series' sell sheets, we will probably see previews for some time in March.


JayBee Anama

Sunday, December 14, 2014

RIP Sy Berger 1923-2014

Sy Berger, the Father of the Modern Baseball Card

Just saw the news today that Sy Berger passed away.

He started with the Topps Company long before they created baseball cards. It was he who was tasked by the Shorin brothers to develop the company's first baseball cards. Berger set out to create what we know now as the modern baseball cards. Complete with statistics, player information, and biographies, the 1952 Topps set became a landmark that every other card set, from Topps or their competition, have had to meet. Only few sets have come close.

Many of us who collect may have never met the man. But those of us who have studied the Hobby know the man. We owe him a debt of gratitude for improving on a medium that had been around for decades and made collecting sports cards relevant and a part of childhoods for generations.

My condolences go out to the Berger family, the Topps Company, and to collectors everywhere. We have lost a legend in our Hobby.


James B. Anama

Friday, December 12, 2014

Responding to an Anonymous Commenter: "The Need to Scale Back."

Okay, so I haven't posted since Thanksgiving. And there has been so much happening in MLB that is going to rock the Hobby in 2015 with the Winter Meetings over.

But when I was clearing out some emails the other day, I caught this one that really made me want to come back and respond. I normally don't respond in comments (which is a fault of mine because if I did, then great conversations would be had...but I digress), but this one made me think. After a couple of days to gather my thoughts, here goes.

An anonymous commenter sent this comment to me on the blog:

"You'll have to write another post explaining the need to 'scale back'! After having some cards when I was a kid, I didn't really start collecting card seriously until I was 44, well older than anyone playing the game. Players half my age continue to do impressively heroic things on the ballfield, it doesn't bother me than they are young.

"Another point is you won't believe how much money you will have when the kids are grown and on their own - not to mention all the extra free time!"

If you have read the blog lately, I have started to think about my place in the Hobby and when would it be time to "scale back" a bit. My reasoning, as I wrote on my Thanksgiving post was this:

"I do realize that while the game remains the same, the names have changed. Almost all of my childhood heroes are out of the game, and there are so few now who are older than me. It won't be long before everyone in the game is younger than I am, and kids my children's ages will be making their first appearances on pieces of cardboard. I have begun to wonder when would it be the right time to begin scaling back, as eventually that time will come."

Here's the thing. I always believed, and continue to support the idea, that the concept of card collecting is for kids. I've always collected things, from coins to buttons, stickers (the only thing I will ever claim I bought from Panini) to of course, Topps baseball cards. When I was learning about the game, baseball cards were my way of learning who the players are. The stats on the back were how I learned which players were good, and thanks to Topps numbering system, I learned who were the best in the game.

But that was in 1988.

The players I first watched were now beginning second careers as broadcasters, coaches, managers. Some would go on to induction into Baseball's Hall of Fame. Others, would live in infamy as the shadow of steroids would blanket the game's landscape, and in effect, shadow many of the stars who I grew up watching.

Over the years as the players of my youth would leave, players of my age, my generation, started taking their place. From the mid 90's through the end of the 2000's, the game was populated by Generation X stars. They were my age. I could relate to them...kinda. As I was growing as an adult, many of the players my age were too. But now, as with everything else, they were starting to move on too. Now, many of the players in the game are way younger than I am. Players coming up were born in the late 80's, early 90's...the NINETIES!!! There are athletes coming up in the coming years that are younger than the JUNK WAX ERA.

Where did the time go?

Eventually, the game will be populated by kids who are my kids' ages. There are so few players who are still in the game who are older than me or my age now, that they are now entering the final stages of their careers. Soon, these guys will begin their second careers as coaches, managers, executives, and broadcasters. And eventually, every player in the game will be younger than me.

And that's where this thought of scaling back comes in.

I have been collecting cards 1988 in some form or fashion. That would mean that I have been a baseball card collector for 26 years now. It was when I started working that I began building my collection regularly. Even through the aftermath of the strike (1994-1997), I collected to complete my regular sets. Inserts sets were so far from my mind back then.

Then I discovered eBay in 2000, and that's when it all changed.

Over the last 15 years, my collection has grown exponentially large. Not only have I collected the eponymous Topps sets, but I made it my goal to get all of the basic insert sets to go with the base sets as well. For the most part, it's been "Mission Accomplished." What sets I couldn't buy on eBay, I was able to build through shows, stores, and the Bay.

Not only did my collection of regular Topps cards begin to grow, but thanks to the Bay, I also have most of the retro sets, and as Topps kept on churning them out, I've been buying them as well. I have this completist mentality that I must have every card in a set or a series. I have complete runs base sets of Allen & Ginter's, Gypsy Queen, Pro Debut, and the Retail sets. And as long as Topps still makes them, I still want to add them to my collection as a complement to my base Topps set. I could probably stop collecting this current incarnation of Topps Archives as it is disappointing at best. Taking current players and putting them in past card designs have been done to death (Topps Heritage anyone??!). The only cards worth collecting in that set are the short printed "All-Time Fan Favorites," and even in 2014, Topps ruined it for me by mixing current players with the FF's as short prints. Somehow though, I still wouldn't mind getting it...maybe next year.

Another thing that I have to think about, for now anyway, is the expense. This is not by any means a cheap Hobby. There is a lot of money that has been spent not only on cards, but on supplies. Sheets, binders, boxes, sleeves, top-loaders...those all add up monetarily. With my children getting older, and their activities, from school or outside of it, getting more expensive, priorities have shifted as to where money goes. I'd love to continue to spend on my Hobby, but it wouldn't be right of me to just think of myself. As a dad, my kids needs are more important. And, yes, there's that thing about college...(praying for scholarships).

But the biggest reason as to why I started thinking about scaling back was because the names of the players are changing, as they continue to do, to the point that now it just feels strange to begin collecting cards of players who so much younger than I am. It used to be that I was collecting cards of players much older than me. Now, it's the other way around.

Don't get me wrong. I've been following the game a lot more closely now than I ever have before. Thanks to MLB Network, I recognize the names of the players a lot more easily. And although baseball has been tough to watch these past couple of years, on both sides of the city, things are beginning to improve. If the winter meetings are any indication, it should be a very fun 2015 for baseball.

Should I cut back on my collecting? I'm sure there are products that I regret pressing the Buy it Now button on the Bay, and maybe in 2015, I'll stick to the basics. It's not as if I buy everything (can't afford high-end), but maybe be more patient as to when to pull the trigger on the mid-end sets (like the A&G and GQ). I could be a bit more fiscally responsible and wait until prices go down, even if it means waiting a few months after the products go live.

The anonymous collector said

" won't believe how much money you will have when the kids are grown and on their own - not to mention all the extra free time!"

I'm sure that's true. Once the kids are done with school and begin their journeys away from their mother and me that there will be a bit more money available. And maybe by then I'll be ready to spend more. Who really knows.

But for now, my goals are simple for 2015:
  • Collect the eponymous Topps set for 2015, including the traded, retail, and MiLB sets.
  • Find A&G and Gypsy Queen sets at reasonable prices. If I have to wait a while before prices go down, I will. No need to rush.
  • Really make an effort to sell or trade off the cards I have that I do not need. It would clean up the clutter that has taken over the computer table downstairs.
  • Another important effort to make is to clear out all of the old Beckett magazines to issues I don't want. I really haven't bought the magazine in a while, and the only ones I will probably want to keep are the Rookie Rolodex issues, the mags that have my name on it (because Chris Olds was nice enough to put my name in the magazine a couple of times), and the Topps commemorative issues. Everything else, can go.
I don't think I can ever give up on the Hobby of baseball card collecting entirely. But I do have to think about adapting to the changes in it as well and make better decisions regarding monetary and time commitments when it comes to the Hobby.

Do I need to scale back? Perhaps. And eventually, I will. Until that time comes, though, I will do what I have always done when it comes to baseball baseball card collecting:

Enjoy it. Be a part of it. And as long as I have this humble, little blog, write about it.


JayBee Anama

Thursday, November 27, 2014

What I AM Thankful For in 2014.

This is going to be the fifth Thanksgiving post I've written on this humble, little blog, something that I started back in 2008. I may have skipped a couple of years, but it's something I look forward to writing (when it's not about baseball, or baseball cards...which seems to be lacking around here lately, it seems). For inspiration, I looked back at previous Thanksgiving posts. I realized that while most of what was written was pretty much the same, I can see where I was at that point in my life, personally, professionally, spiritually, and where I was when it came to my place in the Hobby. It is hard to believe that I've had this blog for more than six years. So much has changed, but there is so much that remains the same.

When I wrote last year's Thanksgiving post, I was working at a temporary gig, wondering if this was what my life was going to become: bouncing from temporary job to temporary job, not knowing if I had done well enough at my present job that my bosses would make me a permanent employee. I was grateful when a former co-worker recommended me for a job that I was very familiar with, and that I was able to get the job. With that job ended a sixteen-month period of stress and began a new chapter that included financial security for myself and my family. Now that's not to say that there have been times that we've struggled - we've had some rough patches along the way. But through the struggles, we have gained a much more heightened sense of humility. These are the lessons that I hope my children learn. While I pray that my kids will make better lives in the future, if they ever stumble in their paths, I hope that they show the same amount of perseverance and drive their mother and me to pick themselves up and continue their journeys.

By the time this post comes online, my family and I will be visiting my brother and his family as we celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. Last year we made the trip to Indiana to celebrate with my wife's family, and it looks like we'll be doing that again over the weekend. It will be nice to have a bit of a respite from what has been our daily routine and spend time with both families.

Anyway, I can rattle on and on about how tough it is nowadays, but everyone already has an idea. For all the bad news out there (and it seems there is plenty), there is so much for me personally to be thankful for.

I am thankful that I have a wonderful family that gives me a reason to be alive. My wife and I have been together for 16 wonderful years, and I look forward to many more with her. My present job allows me to spend a lot more time with her because there is less travelling. And while we've had our ups and downs (and all couples do), being with her now has been just as much fun, if not more so, as it was when we were first dating. We still talk about what we want for ourselves in the future. While we couldn't travel out this year (new job), I am excited for what our futures hold. For now, we just have to keep going with what we have. As with many who took this vow of marriage, I promised to be with her for richer or poorer, in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I loved her then, and I love her more so now.

I am thankful for being the father of two beautiful children who I love with all my heart. I am truly grateful to have them in my life. Both are growing up to be fine individuals. And as the years go by, our children are developing way too fast. They are both figuring themselves out now and after visiting with their teachers earlier this week, I can breathe a bit easier knowing that they are at least heading in the right direction. It is just a matter of maintaining that focus and scheduling whatever time they have so that they can balance school time and their other activities. In my heart, they will always be my little babies. It's hard not to look at them and see them when they were five years younger, or even ten years. But my wife and I couldn't be happier with how they've grown to love us and each other (as pre-adolescents and teenagers do). They both are growing up so fast, and it won't be long before they begin their individual journeys without parent involvement. Both their mom and I know that being their parents, and the responsibilities that come with it, will never end, no matter how old they are. We still have a lot of work to do raising them, but it is something that I would never exchange.

I am thankful to have a family to lean on when times are hard. My parents, who have been my support when I have nobody to turn to when I'm having troubles and give me good advice whether I ask or not. My siblings, who keep me grounded as a person (based on whatever they're doing in their lives). When we're all together, there is just that warmth that comes with remembering who we were, the people we've become, and just enjoying each other's company. The sibling rivalries, fights, teasings, and all that comes with it still are there. But it makes for good conversation. The laughter that comes with it at times is much louder as the stories of our lives become wilder (or at least for my younger sibs). But we still have our moments, and when we get together, it is always fun.

I am thankful for my wife's family. They help keep my wife in check and make sure that she's doing well. Although we don't get to spend as much time with her side of the family as we'd like (everyone is busy it seems), it makes the times when all can get together much more special. When we're with them, I tend to stay back a bit. I'm more there to see my wife and children have fun. It may feel like I'm just there for the ride, but I know where I stand, and am more than happy to be a part of this family too.

I am thankful for the opportunities I've been given to broaden my horizons professionally. I am back in the field I had spent most of my adult life in (specialty foods), doing a job that I absolutely love and am so blessed to have the opportunity to work from home. I do make my way to the office regularly, don't get me wrong. But being able to work from home has allowed me to focus my energies in a way that I feel that I am more productive and that I'm contributing positively to the growth of the company I know work for. I work with an incredible team of professionals, some I knew from the other place, so there is that sense of familiarity. I still miss the people I've worked with over the years and continue to think about them.

I am thankful for having a roof over my family's head. I tell my children that we wanted to have a sense of stability, and being able to live in this house, in this town, and be a part of the community has contributed to it. Both my wife and I have worked so hard to keep this house, and though it's still a struggle, we have made it work. Those sleepless nights will continue, but through it all, I am grateful that my family still has a place to call home.

I am thankful that we have food on our table. We have done a lot more cooking at home this past year, trying new foods, and experimenting with dishes that we'd only eat when at a restaurant. We try not to eat out, although at times with our children's schedules it has become a necessity at times. We've had to cut back on many luxury items (seafood, steaks), but we still try to have a sense of normalcy when it comes to cooking at home, whether it's my wife cooking or me taking a turn. I'm not saying that we've had to totally give up on good food (I've tried my hand at cooking a wide variety of foods since being home more. Some were hits...others, not so much), but as long as we have the basics (milk, bread, eggs), and we're never out of pasta, I'm happy.

The final thing I am for which I am thankful, for all intents and purposes, is the reason I am able to keep sane through all the things going on in my life. It is something that many understand, but few will admit relating to it. Many people, no matter what their situation, have at least one. And often times, use it for the same reasons I do. For the goals this one thing accomplishes is not just to give joy to my life, but to give it an escape. An outlet if you will, to a time where I didn't have stress, or have much to worry. This one thing is the reason why I write this humble little blog. I give thanks to the Hobby. Because with everything going on in the world today, second to my family, it is the one thing that gives me comfort. Yes, I know that if Sitemeter is to believed, my readership is down. But I never wrote for others. I wrote it more for me. The idea of writing this blog was more for me to learn and appreciate the Hobby, and learn more about the game. While 2014 was a great year in baseball, the Hobby, and this blog, took a bit of a backseat as I adjusted to all the changes around me. I do realize that while the game remains the same, the names have changed. Almost all of my childhood heroes are out of the game, and there are so few now who are older than me. It won't be long before everyone in the game is younger than I am, and kids my children's ages will be making their first appearances on pieces of cardboard. I have begun to wonder when would it be the right time to begin scaling back, as eventually that time will come. Change is a constant. As I have mentioned in a recent Hobby discussion on twitter (follow me @bdj610 if you haven't yet), we all have to adapt, if not now, soon. Eventually, I will.

If this sounds like I'm whining at the same time that I'm being grateful, I apologize as that was not the intent of my writing. There are many people out there who are struggling and somehow surviving on less than what we have. To them I pray that things will get better. It will take some work, but it will get better.

If there is one thing I have forgotten to do above, it's to say thank you to those who have read my blog, left comments, accepted me into this crazy community, and have added to my card collection since I started this blog. Thank you for adding me to your blogrolls and welcoming me into your online lives. I will do my best to fill this blog with information about the Hobby and the cards that we all enjoy. After all, 2015 Topps Series I won't be out until February, and I don't plan on leaving this site hanging until then.

On behalf of my family, may you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Please stay safe if you are travelling this year.


JayBee Anama

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

2014 Topps All-Star Rookie Team Contest Winners!!!

Now that the 2014 Topps All-Star Rookie Team has been announced, I have spent the good part of the morning going over all the e-mails I received, seeing who outguessed me in the All-Star Rookie Team contest.

Even with the unanimous picks of Jose Abreu, and Billy Hamilton, nobody correctly predicted all eleven players who would make the team this year. The fact that Topps named Danny Santana as the third outfielder and not as the shortstop, even though had him listed as one (in Topps' defense he played 69 games in CF compared to 34 games at short) pretty much ruined everyone's chances for a perfect score. But once again, nobody wins the 2005 Topps Rookie Cup set grand prize.

More entries were sent to me this year than in last year's contest (which is a testament to the fact that last year at this time, I was down to almost nothing in terms of posts...hence almost no readers), so needless to say I was a bit nervous that the results would be expensive on my part. But out of all the entries I did receive, only one person beat my score of nine. The congratulatory e-mail has already been sent, so it's okay for me to announce the winner:

Congratulations to Anthony Zarriello!!!

Many of the people who participated in the contest did get the same number of players right that I did...a big fat nine. The Santana screw-up aside, Mr. Zarriello once again came close to perfection with 10 correct picks (his third outfielder was Oscar Taveras). Regardless, a Jumbo pack of 2014 Update Series for outguessing me.

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


JayBee Anama

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Introducing the 2014 Topps All-Star Rookie Team!!!

The MLB managers have spoken, and today, Topps has announced the players named to the 55th 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: Jose Abreu, CWS (145 G, 0.317, 36 HR, 107 RBI, 0.964 OPS, 3 SB)
  • 2B: Kolten Wong, STL (113 G, 0.249, 12 HR, 42 RBI, 0.68 OPS, 20 SB)
  • 3B: Nick Castellanos, DET (148 G, 0.259, 11 HR, 66 RBI, 0.7 OPS, 2 SB)
  • SS: Xander Bogaerts, BOS (144 G, 0.240, 12 HR, 46 RBI, 0.66 OPS, 2 SB)
  • OF: Billy Hamilton, CIN (152 G, 0.250, 6 HR, 48 RBI, 0.648 OPS, 56 SB)
  • OF: Danny Santana, MIN (101 G, 0.319, 7 HR, 40 RBI, 0.824 OPS, 20 SB)
  • OF: George Springer, HOU (78 G, 0.231, 20 HR, 51 RBI, 0.804 OPS, 5 SB)
  • C: Travis d'Arnaud, NYM (108 G, 0.242, 13 HR, 41 RBI, 0.718 OPS, 1 SB)
  • RHSP: Masahiro Tanaka, NYY (20 GS, 13-5, 2.77 ERA, 141 SO, 1.056 WHIP)
  • LHSP: Roenis Elias, SEA (29 GS, 10-12, 3.85 ERA, 143 SO, 1.314 WHIP)
  • RP: Dellin Betances, NYY (70 G, 5-0, 1.40 ERA, 135 SO, 0.778 WHIP, 1 SV)
So I guessed 9 out of now 11 spots correctly. I guessed Kevin Kiermaier as one of my outfielders and Matt Shoemaker as my right-handed starting pitcher. Last year, I was almost close to perfect (getting 10 of the 11 spots correct).

Now my comments. At least now Topps is showing some consistency with naming three pitchers to the team (two starters, 1 reliever). Good thing that I asked those entering the All-Star Rookie Team contest to name four pitchers (two right-handers, two-left handers) just in case.

Figures that Tanaka gets the RHSP spot, and many have taken to social media to make their displeasure known (Matt Shoemaker and Jacob deGrom were two of the names more people thought should have been named instead of the Yankees' hurler (figures...should have known).

So congratulations to all. Each player will now get the illustrious rookie cup trophy added to their 2015 Topps cards. I will be going over the results shortly and will announce the winners if any soon.


JayBee Anama

Friday, November 14, 2014

Introducing Your 2014 MLB Most Valuable Players - West Coast Winners

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

Congratulations to both Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers for being named the American League and National League Most Valuable Players for 2014. Incredible seasons by both players, one a runner up to the MVP for two seasons prior, the other, this year's Cy Young Award winner.

After playing second fiddle to Miguel Cabrera for two consecutive seasons, Mike Trout finally wins his first MVP award. One of the game's best players, the Angels' outfielder hit .287 with 36 home runs, 111 rbi's, stole 16 bases, had an OPS of .939, and for you sabermetric people, a 7.9 WAR. Trout also claimed all 30 first place votes, good for 420 points in the overall ballot. In second place was the Tigers' Victor Martinez (229 points, 16 second place votes), Michael Brantley of the Indians (191, 8), AL Rookie of the Year Jose Abreu of the White Sox (145, 1), Robinson Cano of the Mariners (124, 1), Jose Bautista of the Blue Jays (122, 1), Nelson Cruz of the Orioles (102), Josh Donaldson of the Athletics (96, 1), two-time MVP Cabrera of the Tigers (82, 1), Felix Hernandez of the Mariners (48, 2), AL Cy Young Winner Corey Kluber of the Indians (45), Alex Gordon of the Royals (44), Jose Altuve of the Astros (41), Adam Jones of the Orioles (34), Adrian Beltre of the Rangers (22), Greg Holland of the Royals (13), Albert Pujols of the Angels (5), Howie Kendrick of the Angels (3), James Shields of the Royals (3), and Kyle Seager of the Mariners (1).

Kershaw becomes the tenth pitcher (fourth in the NL) to win both the Cy Young and MVP award in the same season. He earned 18 of the 30 MVP votes, good for 355 voter points. Marlins' slugger Giancarlo Stanton finished second in the voting (298, 8 first place votes), follwed by last year's NL MVP Andrew McCutchen of the Pirates (271, 4), Jonathan Lucroy of the Brewers (167), Anthony Rendon of the Nationals (155), Buster Posey of the Giants (152), Adrian Gonzalez of the Dodgers (57), Adam Wainwright of the Cardinals (53), Josh Harrison of the Pirates (52), Anthony Rizzo of the Cubs (37), Hunter Pence of the Giants (34), Johnny Cueto of the Reds (22), Russell Martin of the Pirates (21), Matt Holliday of the Cardinals (17), Jhonny Peralta of the Cardinals (17), Carlos Gomez of the Brewers (13), Justin Upton of the braves (10), Jayson Werth of the Nationals (9), Denard Span of the Nationals (8), Yasiel Puig of the Dodgers (8), Devin Mesoraco of the Reds (5), Lucas Duda of the Mets (3), Freddie Freeman of the Braves (2), Justin Morneau of the Rockies (2), Dee Gordon of the Dodgers (1), and Troy Tulowitzki of the Rockies (1).

Trout becomes the third Angels player, and the fifth player to win the MVP unanimously. Kershaw becomes the eleventh Dodgers player to be named NL MVP. With both winners from the Los Angeles area teams, it is also the 11th time in MLB history that two players from the city or area take home the MVP awards. As with the last two sets of awards, here for your viewing pleasure are the 2014 Topps cards of your MVP's. Too bad they didn't make cards for the managers (congratulations to both Buck Showalter of the Orioles and Matt Williams of the Nationals by the way).

With everything all said and done, did your guy win?


JayBee Anama

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Introducing Your 2014 MLB Cy Young Award Winners - Unanimous in the NL, No Longer Anonymous in the AL

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

Congratulations to both Max Scherzer of the Detroit Tigers and Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers for winning the American League and National League Cy Young Awards. While there was no doubt in the NL, the AL margin between first and second place was a mere 10 votes.

On Monday, a Stetson Hatter alum was named the NL Rookie of the Year. Yesterday, another Hatter took home the AL Cy Young award. Kluber, a second-year starter with the Indians, had a very dominant run in 2014. With a record of 18-9, an ERA of 2.44, 269 strikeouts, and a WHIP of 1.095 in 235.2 innngs of work, 17 of the 30 voters picked Corey as their first place choice (for a grand total of 169 points). The Mariners' Felix Hernandez claimed the other 13 first place votes, good for 159 points. Following Kluber and the King were Chris Sale of the White Sox (78 points), Jon Lester of the Athletics (46), last year's Cy Young winner Max Scherzer of the Tigers (32), David Price of the Tigers (16), Phil Hughes of the Twins (6), and Royals relievers Wade Davis (3) and Greg Holland (1).

Kershaw takes home his third Cy Young Award in four years after leading the NL for the third straight year in ERA (a ridiculous 1.77) to go along with a 239 strikeouts, a 16-9 record, a WHIP of 0.915, 3 complete games, and two shutouts. Claiming all 30 first place votes (210 points) Kershaw outpaced the rest of the field of contenders, including finalists Johnny Cueto of the Reds (112 points), Adam Wainwright of the Cardinals  (97), Madison Bumgarner of the Giants (28), Jordan Zimmermann of the Nationals (25), Cole Hamels of the Phillies (17), Zack Greinke of the Dodgers (6), Doug Fister of the Nationals (5), Jake Arrieta of the Cubs (3), Craig Kimbrel of the Braves (3), Stephen Strasburg of the Nationals (3), and Henderson Alvarez of the Marlins (1).

The fun concludes on Thursday when the Most Valuable Players in both leagues are announced. Let the debates continue. Did your guy win???


JayBee Anama

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

To The Men and Women Who Serve in the United States Armed Forces 11-11-14

This was written four years ago, but the sentiments remain the same.

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

Introducing Your 2014 MLB Rookies of the Year - Little to No Doubt Who Was Going to Win

In recent years, Topps has reserved six cards within Series 1 for the AL and NL award winners that are being announced this week. Once again, however, this year's preliminary checklist doesn't specify what numbers are being held for the them.  But yesterday, we learned who was named the Rookies of the Year in both the National and American Leagues.

Congratulations to both Jacob deGrom of the New York Mets and Jose Abreu of the Chicago White Sox for winning the National League and American League Rookies of the Year Awards. This year, MLB decided to announce the top three finalists for each of the awards. While there certainly more players in the running, announcing the top three made for interesting debate.

Jose Abreu, the White Sox' first baseman of the future, had a breakout rookie season that could only be described as dominant. He was among the top 5 players in the AL in batting average (0.317), home runs (36), and rbi's (107), was named to the All-Star Team, and won the Silver Slugger Award for first basemen. He was everything the Southsiders were hoping for and more. Abreu also received all 30 first place votes in the AL ROY balloting, thus earning the maximum 150 points possible. The rest of the field included Angels pitcher Matt Shoemaker (40 points, 12 second place votes), Yankees reliever Dellin Betances (27, 7), Collin McHugh of the Astros (21, 6), Masahiro Tanaka of the Yankees (16, 3), Yordano Ventura of the Royals (9, 1), Danny Santana of the Twins (3, 1), Nick Castellanos of the Tigers (1), Brock Holt of the Red Sox (1), Jake Odorozzi of the Rays (1), and George Springer of the Astros (1).

For Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom, the numbers may be a bit misleading, but it does not mean he is not more than deserving of the honor. He earned a 9-6 record, a 2.69 ERA, struck out 144 batters, and a WHIP of 1.140 in 22 starts and 140.1 innings of work. Taking 26 of the 30 1st place votes (142 total points), deGrom earned more points than runners-up Billy Hamilton of the Reds (92 points, 4 first place votes), Kolten Wong of the Cardinals (14 points), Ken Giles of the Phillies (8), Ender Inciarte of the Diamondbacks (4), Joe Panik of the Giants (3), Travis d'Arnaud of the Mets (2), Jeurys Familia of the Mets (2), Kyle Hendricks of the Cubs (2), and Chase Anderson of the Diamonbacks (1).

Abreu becomes the fourth Cuban-born player, the sixth White Sox player, and the ninth player to be named Rookie of the Year. deGrom is now the fifth Mets player and the first starting pitcher with less than 10 wins to earn the award.

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


JayBee Anama

Friday, November 7, 2014

Who Will Be Named to Topps 2014 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. 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.

By now, the Topps Company has already sent the 30 MLB managers a ballot that will determine who will get voted into the 2014 Topps All-Star Rookie Team, and will get that lovely gold trophy added to their 2015 Topps baseball cards. So without further ado, here are my picks for the 2014 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 may have inadvertently left their picks in the comments) could win a complete 150-card set of 2005 Topps Rookie Cup (contest rules here):
  • 1B: Jose Abreu, CWS (145 G, 0.317, 36 HR, 107 RBI, 0.964 OPS, 3 SB)
  • 2B: Kolten Wong, STL (113 G, 0.249, 12 HR, 42 RBI, 0.68 OPS, 20 SB)
  • 3B: Nick Castellanos, DET (148 G, 0.259, 11 HR, 66 RBI, 0.7 OPS, 2 SB)
  • SS: Xander Bogaerts, BOS (144 G, 0.240, 12 HR, 46 RBI, 0.66 OPS, 2 SB)
  • OF: Billy Hamilton, CIN (152 G, 0.250, 6 HR, 48 RBI, 0.648 OPS, 56 SB)
  • OF: Kevin Kiermaier, TB (108 G, 0.263, 10 HR, 35 RBI, 0.765 OPS, 5 SB)
  • OF: George Springer, HOU (78 G, 0.231, 20 HR, 51 RBI, 0.804 OPS, 5 SB)
  • C: Travis d'Arnaud, NYM (108 G, 0.242, 13 HR, 41 RBI, 0.718 OPS, 1 SB)
  • RHSP: Matt Shoemaker, LAA (20 GS, 16-4, 3.04 ERA, 124 SO, 1.074 WHIP)
  • LHSP: Roenis Elias, SEA (29 GS, 10-12, 3.85 ERA, 143 SO, 1.314 WHIP)
  • RHRP: Dellin Betances, NYY (70 G, 5-0, 1.40 ERA, 135 SO, 0.778 WHIP, 1 SV)
For sure there will be players like Oscar Taveras of the Cardinals, Yangervis Solarte of the Padres, Brock Holt of the Red Sox, Gregory Polanco of the Pirates, and Jonathan Schoop of Orioles who will warrant consideration, as well as Jacob deGrom of the Mets, and Masahiro Tanaka of the Yankees, and others will have their votes (from either the MLB managers, or you the readers). I made these picks shortly before any e-mails were sent (scheduling it for today soon after the post announcing the contest).

Let the debates begin!!! And good luck to everybody. Now...we wait.


JayBee Anama

Sunday, November 2, 2014

As Today is November 2, 2014

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: Lynn Swoboda, Shannon McNamara, Linda Beyer, Gail Leff, Lois Winesburgh, Mary Jo Scanlan, Nancy Huber, Joseph Nasca, Antoinette Nasca, Dan Doles, Chris Stufflestreet, Thomas Scanlon.

As I recently attended my High School Reunion, it was humbling to know that a number of my classmates had passed away. Some tragically, some due to health reasons. So thoughts go out to PHS '94 Alum Darrin Steffey.

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 86 more people. Between 11/02/2013 and 11/01/2014, 86 people who can lay claim to playing major league baseball, 4 of whom had the honor of being a manager of a major league franchise (even for one game), 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.

Today, I take time out of my humble little baseball card blog to remember:

Russ Sullivan
Ace Parker
Rod Miller
Zeke Bella
Babe Birrer
George Werley
Mike Palagyi
Charlie Bicknell
Lou Brissie
Don Lund
Pete Naton
Jim Burton
Bill Tremel
Ed Herrmann
Mike Hegan
Paul Blair
Larry Arndt
Gabe Gabler
Jerry Coleman, MGR
Jophery Brown
Vern Benson, MGR
Tim Hosley
Charlie Osgood
Bruce Barmes
Ralph Kiner
Drew Denson
Jim Fregosi, MGR
Al Greene
Hector Maestri
Eddie O'Brien
Les Layton
Chuck Kress
Bud Bulling
Art Kenney
Sonny Ruberto
George Lerchen
Al Cihocki
Bill Henry
Hal Smith
Connie Marrero
Bob Powell
Mel Clark
Billy Harrell
Dick Welteroth
Leo Marentette
Guy Morton
Johnny Gray
Mike Gordon
Roberto Vargas
Jack Dittmer
Don Zimmer, MGR
Billy McCool
Bob Welch
Joe Pittman
Mark Ballinger
Tony Gwynn
Bill Renna
Jim Brosnan
Bobby Castillo
Earl Robinson
John Hoover
Tom Veryzer
Don Lenhardt
Bill Koski
Art Schult
George Freese
Dave Bakenhaster
Red Wilson
Bob Wiesler
Jim Command
Gordon Mackenzie
Jerry Lumpe
Dick Teed
Rogers McKee
George Zuverink
Grant Dunlap
George Spencer
Frank Torre
Earl Smith
George Shuba
Jose Martinez
Lou Lucier
Ed Keegan
Pat McGlothin
Oscar Taveras
Jeff Robinson


JayBee Anama

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Betances, Kemp Win 1st Ever HBC Final Man Roster Spots

After I posted my End-of-the-Year All-Star Teams last month, I gave whatever readers I have left the opportunity to vote one of the players I had to leave off onto the teams. Called the "HBC (Hobby Blogging Community's) Final Man," I picked five players that I thought could have been on either the AL or NL team, but because of roster space and other factors, they did not make it initially.

This was the first time I have done asked the public to help me with these "fantasy" teams since I started doing this back in 1989. I also said that if that if there was enough interest in this, I'd consider running a final man ballot every year. Turnout, considering how often I have posted these last two years, was surprisingly good. So I will do this next year too.


There were ten players I selected for the initial final ballot. Five players per league. Readers who voted were allowed to vote for one player per league. Voting ran for two weeks. Those players were:

American League

  • RP Dellin Betances, Yankees
  • DH Chris Carter, Astros
  • SP Wei-Yin Chen, Orioles
  • 2B Ian Kinsler, Tigers
  • DH David Ortiz, Red Sox

National League

  • OF Charlie Blackmon, Rockies
  • 1B Freddie Freeman, Braves
  • OF Matt Kemp, Dodgers
  • RP Francisco Rodriguez, Brewers
  • 2B Neil Walker, Pirates
Now for the results:

From the very beginning, both Dellin Betances of the Yankees and Matt Kemp of the Dodgers led their respective ballots.

By the time it ended, Betances earned 16 of the 40 votes cast, followed by Ortiz (9), Kinsler (8), Carter (6), and Chen of the Orioles (1). Betances becomes the fourth Yankees player added to the 2014 AL squad, joining Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann, and David Robertson.

Kemp outpaced the rest of the NL field, with 18 votes, followed by Freeman (5), Blackmon, Rodriguez, and Walker (3 each). Kemp's addition brings the Dodgers' contingent up to 6 players, joining Adrian Gonzalez, Dee Gordon, Zack Greinke, Clayton Kershaw, and Kenley Jansen.

When SBS Baseball comes out with the team rosters from the 2014 campaign, I will go ahead and add Betances and Kemp to the rest of the rosters. This will be the first time ever that I will have one more pitcher on one side and another batter on the other side. Should be interesting to see which team has the advantage.

Thank you very much to everyone who voted.


JayBee Anama

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

And Just Like That...The Season is Over!!!

Your 2014 World Series MVP, Madison Bumgarner!!!

For two teams that were not supposed to be here when the World Series started, it proved to be one great series. Two shutouts, three blowouts, and two 3-2 games later, the San Francisco Giants win their third World Series title in five seasons over the upstart Kansas City Royals, thus ending the 2014 MLB season.

So congratulations once again to the San Francisco Giants, the 2014 MLB World Series Champions, for winning their third World Series title in 5 big league seasons. And congratulations to the AL Champion Kansas City Royals for an incredible run in the postseason and for making it really interesting these last few days.

It's going to be a wild offseason, with free agents getting ready to move, and teams ready to restock for the 2015 season. Topps is getting their final stats ready for the 2015 campaign. Take your time folks. You have until February to get the new cards to the masses.

I can't wait. And for now, every team, even my Cubbies, are 0-0.


JayBee Anama

Sunday, October 19, 2014

ANNOUNCEMENT: Contest Involving 2014 Topps All-Star Rookie Team!!!

It is time once again start the one contest that I hold on this humble, little blog every year. It is a contest of a very high magnitude (for me anyway).

Last night, my annual post on "Meeting the Possible Candidates for the 2014 Topps All-Star Rookie Team" will appear on the blog. With that post, the contest begins.

What do you have to do to enter???

To enter the contest, e-mail me your eleven picks for the team at with "All-Star Rookie Team Contest" in the subject line (do not leave your picks in the comments section). Your job is to select the players who you think Topps will bestow their Rookie Cup for their eponymous 2015 Topps set. There are eleven spots open for this team, one for each of these positions: 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, C, three outfielders (regardless of where they play), one left-handed starting pitcher, one right-handed starting pitcher, and one relief pitcher.

If you get more players correct than I do when Topps officially announces the 2014 All-Star Rookie Team (normally announced late in November), you will automatically win a hobby pack of 2014 Topps Updates and Highlights (the regular packs, not the jumbos). So let's say I get seven of the eleven spots right, and you get eight of the eleven correct, you win a free pack of cards!!! (This means if I totally bomb and get all eleven players wrong, then EVERYBODY wins!!!)

Anybody who correctly predicts all the players on the team will 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 the official announcement is made and all winners will be notified via e-mail. Their names will be announced on the blog soon afterwards.

Only one entry per person. Entries must be received by Saturday, November 2, 2013 at 11:59 PM CST.

Good luck to all.


JayBee Anama

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Meet the Possible Contenders for the 2014 Topps All-Star Rookie Team

Okay, the season is more than two weeks over, and the World Series will begin next Tuesday (if you had the Royals and Giants in your World Series pool, you were right...AND YOU'RE LYING!!!). What better time than now to discuss the Top Rookies of 2014?


Because these are the guys that are going to be strong contenders for the 2014 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 2014 Topps All-Star Rookie Team. The stats are as of the end of the 2014 regular season:

First Basemen:
Jose Abreu, CWS (145 G, 0.317, 36 HR, 107 RBI, 0.964 OPS, 3 SB)
Eric Campbell, NYM (85 G, 0.263, 3 HR, 16 RBI, 0.68 OPS, 3 SB)
C. J. Cron, LAA (79 G, 0.256, 11 HR, 37 RBI, 0.739 OPS, 0 SB)
Tommy Medica, SD (102 G, 0.233, 9 HR, 27 RBI, 0.694 OPS, 6 SB)
Jon Singleton, HOU (95 G, 0.168, 13 HR, 44 RBI, 0.62 OPS, 2 SB)
Kennys Vargas, MIN (53 G, 0.274, 9 HR, 38 RBI, 0.772 OPS, 0 SB)

Second Basemen:
Tommy La Stella, ATL (93 G, 0.251, 1 HR, 31 RBI, 0.644 OPS, 2 SB)
Kristopher Negron, CIN (49 G, 0.271, 6 HR, 17 RBI, 0.81 OPS, 5 SB)
Rougned Odor, TEX (114 G, 0.259, 9 HR, 48 RBI, 0.698 OPS, 4 SB)
Joe Panik, SF (73 G, 0.305, 1 HR, 18 RBI, 0.711 OPS, 0 SB)
Jonathan Schoop, BAL (137 G, 0.209, 16 HR, 45 RBI, 0.598 OPS, 2 SB)
Kolten Wong, STL (113 G, 0.249, 12 HR, 42 RBI, 0.68 OPS, 20 SB)

Third Basemen:
Nick Castellanos, DET (148 G, 0.259, 11 HR, 66 RBI, 0.7 OPS, 2 SB)
Brock Holt, BOS (106 G, 0.281, 4 HR, 29 RBI, 0.711 OPS, 12 SB)
Mike Olt, CHC (89 G, 0.160, 12 HR, 33 RBI, 0.604 OPS, 0 SB)
Marcus Semien, CWS (64 G, 0.234, 6 HR, 28 RBI, 0.673 OPS, 3 SB)
Yangervis Solarte, SD (131 G, 0.260, 10 HR, 48 RBI, 0.705 OPS, 0 SB)

Javier Baez, CHC (52 G, 0.169, 9 HR, 20 RBI, 0.551 OPS, 5 SB)
Xander Bogaerts, BOS (144 G, 0.240, 12 HR, 46 RBI, 0.66 OPS, 2 SB)
Wilmer Flores, NYM (78 G, 0.251, 6 HR, 29 RBI, 0.664 OPS, 1 SB)
Chris Owings, ARI (91 G, 0.261, 6 HR, 26 RBI, 0.706 OPS, 8 SB)
Danny Santana, MIN (101 G, 0.319, 7 HR, 40 RBI, 0.824 OPS, 20 SB)
Eugenio Suarez, DET (85 G, 0.242, 4 HR, 23 RBI, 0.652 OPS, 3 SB)
Chris Taylor, SEA (47 G, 0.287, 0 HR, 9 RBI, 0.692 OPS, 5 SB)

Jackie Bradley, Jr., BOS (127 G, 0.198, 1 HR, 30 RBI, 0.531 OPS, 8 SB)
Michael Choice, TEX (86 G, 0.182, 9 HR, 36 RBI, 0.57 OPS, 1 SB)
Billy Hamilton, CIN (152 G, 0.250, 6 HR, 48 RBI, 0.648 OPS, 56 SB)
Ender Inciarte, ARI (118 G, 0.278, 4 HR, 27 RBI, 0.677 OPS, 19 SB)
James Jones, SEA (108 G, 0.250, 0 HR, 9 RBI, 0.589 OPS, 27 SB)
Kevin Kiermaier, TB (108 G, 0.263, 10 HR, 35 RBI, 0.765 OPS, 5 SB)
Jake Marisnick, HOU (65 G, 0.249, 3 HR, 19 RBI, 0.607 OPS, 11 SB)
David Peralta, ARI (88 G, 0.286, 8 HR, 36 RBI, 0.77 OPS, 6 SB)
Gregory Polanco, PIT (89 G, 0.235, 7 HR, 33 RBI, 0.65 OPS, 14 SB)
Jorge Soler, CHC (24 G, 0.292, 5 HR, 20 RBI, 0.903 OPS, 1 SB)
George Springer, HOU (78 G, 0.231, 20 HR, 51 RBI, 0.804 OPS, 5 SB)
Oscar Taveras, STL (80 G, 0.239, 3 HR, 22 RBI, 0.59 OPS, 0 SB)

Travis d'Arnaud, NYM (108 G, 0.242, 13 HR, 41 RBI, 0.718 OPS, 1 SB)
Josmil Pinto, MIN (57 G, 0.219, 7 HR, 18 RBI, 0.705 OPS, 0 SB)

Right-Handed Starting Pitchers:
Chase Anderson, ARI (21 GS, 9-7, 4.01 ERA, 105 SO, 1.373 WHIP)
Trevor Bauer, CLE (26 GS, 5-8, 4.18 ERA, 143 SO, 1.379 WHIP)
David Buchanan, PHI (20 GS, 6-8, 3.75 ERA, 71 SO, 1.292 WHIP)
Jacob deGrom, NYM (22 GS, 9-6, 2.69 ERA, 144 SO, 1.140 WHIP)
Kevin Gausman, BAL (20 GS, 7-7, 3.57 ERA, 88 SO, 1.315 WHIP)
Collin McHugh, HOU (25 GS, 11-9, 2.73 ERA, 157 SO, 1.022 WHIP)
Jake Odorizzi, TB (31 GS, 11-13, 4.13 ERA, 174 SO, 1.280 WHIP)
Matt Shoemaker, LAA (20 GS, 16-4, 3.04 ERA, 124 SO, 1.074 WHIP)
Marcus Stroman, TOR (20 GS, 11-6, 3.65 ERA, 111 SO, 1.171 WHIP)
Masahiro Tanaka, NYY (20 GS, 13-5, 2.77 ERA, 141 SO, 1.056 WHIP)
Yordano Ventura, KC (30 GS, 14-10, 3.20 ERA, 159 SO, 1.295 WHIP)

Left-Handed Starting Pitchers:
Roenis Elias, SEA (29 GS, 10-12, 3.85 ERA, 143 SO, 1.314 WHIP)
Tyler Matzek, COL (19 GS, 6-11, 4.05 ERA, 91 SO, 1.394 WHIP)

Right-Handed Relief Pitchers:
Dellin Betances, NYY (70 G, 5-0, 1.40 ERA, 135 SO, 0.778 WHIP, 1 SV)
Jeurys Familia, NYM (76 G, 2-5, 2.21 ERA, 73 SO, 1.177 WHIP, 5 SV)
Ken Giles, PHI (44 G, 3-1, 1.18 ERA, 64 SO, 0.788 WHIP, 1 SV)
David Hale, ATL (45 G, 4-5, 3.30 ERA, 44 SO, 1.466 WHIP, 0 SV)
Tommy Kahnle, COL (54 G, 2-1, 4.19 ERA, 63 SO, 1.194 WHIP, 0 SV)
Carlos Martinez, STL (57 G, 2-4, 4.03 ERA, 84 SO, 1.41 WHIP, 1 SV)
Jake Petricka, CWS (67 G, 1-6, 2.96 ERA, 55 SO, 1.370 WHIP, 14 SV)
Donn Roach, SD (16 G, 1-0, 4.75 ERA, 17 SO, 1.681 WHIP, 0 SV)
Daniel Webb, CWS (57 G, 6-5, 3.99 ERA, 58 SO, 1.493 WHIP, 0 SV)

If you're wondering why I separated the starting pitchers from the relief pitchers, and then if they are right handed or left handed, 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, at the time, 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.

Then in 2011, instead of continuing the trend of having three pitchers (a RHP, a LHP, and a RP), Topps went back to the two-pitcher format, but instead of it being a RHP and LHP as in years past, the 2011 Topps All-Star Rookie Team included just one Starting Pitcher and one Relief pitcher. In 2012, Topps went back to a "three-person pitching staff" which included a Starting RHP, a starting LHP, and one reliever. This was done again in 2013.

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 2, 2014. You can pick the following (11 players total):
  • One player each for 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, C,
  • Three players for OF,
  • One Starting RHP, Starting LHP, Relief RHP.
After November 2, 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 2013 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. This year, the field is wide open in certain positions (second base, shortstop, outfield, pitcher), so anything goes.

So here's to hopefully many entries by November 2. Good luck.


JayBee Anama