Monday, May 25, 2015

Flashback: Memorial Day and What's Important

(This post was originally published on May 26, 2008.)

So I had just finished scanning the 2007 Topps Distinguished Service Set so I could post it here, and then it occurred to me that I was doing something wrong. Here I was ready to post something about Memorial Day and then I noticed that the people (ball players and historical figures) in the set were either still alive or, in the players' cases, went back to play baseball. It was then I realized that I should save this set for Veteran's Day. Memorial Day was established to honor the men and women who served in the Armed Forces (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines) and died in the many wars that the United States have been involved.

Looking at the list of baseball players who served and died for their country, it includes those not only from the US, but from other countries too (many of them are Japanese). I obviously don't have any cards of any of these men, but I thought it would be appropriate to list them here. (If you would like to learn more about the baseball players who gave their lives for their country, you may find the list of links attached to their names (thanks to's bullpen wiki.) (Added in 2012 from BR Bullpen website: One caveat: this list contains individuals who died from the effects of War related injuries/disease/chemical warfare as many as ten years after their military service.):

Seizaburo Amakawa
Kenichi Aoshiba
Masakimi Araki
Charlie Becker
Hugh Bedient Jr. (name added after original post in 2008 for this post).
Ray Boyd
Alex Burr
Dell Chambers
Harry Chapman
Larry Chappell
Charles Chase
Gene Curtis
Oran Dodd
Yukio Eguchi
Chuujiro Endo
John Frill
Isamu Fukushi
Goro Fushimi
Fred Gaiser
Elmer Gedeon
Harry Glenn
Eddie Glinnen
Marv Goodwin
Tadashi Goto
Eddie Grant
Newt Halliday
Ichiro Hara
Yasuo Hayashi
Eiji Hirabayashi
Shuichi Hirose
Gordon Houston (name added after original post in 2008 for this post).
Ernie Hrovatic
Hisayuki Ikeda
Yutaka Ishii
Kentaro Ito
Jinkichi Itoh
Masaru Kageura
Daichi Kaino
Nobuo Kato
Tokuhisa Kawamura
Hajime Kuwashima
Noboru Kitahara
Kazuo Kito
Stan Klores (name added after original post in 2008 for this post).
Shoichi Kunihisa
Nobuo Kura
Jack Lummus (name added after original post in 2008 for this post).
Kiyoshi Maeda
Masayoshi Maekawa
Tony Mahoney
Dom Malchiodi (name added after original post in 2008 for this post).
Toshi Masuda
Christy Mathewson
Riichi Matsumoto
Shigeji Matushita
Joe F. McCarthy
Hachiro Miwa
Yoshikichi Miyaguchi
Kunigoro Mori
Minoru Morita
Shigeo Murakami
Chotaro Muramatsu
Yukio Muramatsu
Ichiro Murase (name added after original post in 2008 for this post).
Miyoshi Nakagawa
Masami Nakamura
Saburo Nakamura
Yonekichi Naya
Bob Neighbors
Noboru Noguchi
Harry O'Neill
Toshiyasu Ogawa
Toshio Ohara
Kenichi Ohta
Fukuyoshi Okada
Muneyoshi Okada
Hiroshi Onodera
Yoshizou Oribe
Adelano Rivera
Masao Santa
Eiji Sawamura
Bob Schmukal
Ralph Sharman
Seiichi Shima (name added after original post in 2008 for this post).
Yoshifumi Shimamoto
Uzaburo Shintomi
Kazuji Shiraki
Larry Smith (minor league umpire)
Billy Southworth Jr.
Harry Stees
Toyoo Sugiyama
Takeo Tabe (name added after original post in 2008 for this post).
Momosuke Takano
Kerry Lamont Taylor
Kazutaka Terauchi
Bun Troy
Genbei Tsuji
Carl Tumlinson
Tadashi Ueda
Shizuka Watanabe
Pearl Webster (name added after original post in 2008 for this post).
Charles Wilcox
Susumu Yagi
Masaki Yoshihara

More information about these players may be found at the following websites:

The Deadball Era, Society for American Baseball Research, Veterans Affairs Gravesite Locator, The Encyclopedia of Catchers, Soldiers & Sailors System, The Baseball Necrology, Stars & Stripes.


JayBee Anama

(In honor of Sgt. Clinton H. Nichols, husband of my grandmother Gloria Y. Nichols, who survived the Bataan Death March, but died in a camp not long afterwards.)

Thursday, May 21, 2015

This Blog is Seven Years Old??! Well Happy Anniversary!!!

While sitting here in front of the computer this morning, it occurred to me.

It's May 21, 2015.

I've been busy with work and we're due for a three-day weekend soon.

But there's one thing I forgot to do and I want to get this out of the way before the end of the month.

On May 8, 2008, after years of reading message boards and then discovering that there are these websites written by collectors called blogs, I decided to create one of my own. And for the last seven years, through good times and those not so good, this blog has become one of the best outlets I have ever found to share and grow my collection of Topps baseball cards.

When I started, I had an official count of 38,749 cards in my collection. That number has more than doubled. But I lost count, so I am in the process of doing a card census in an attempt to re-connect with the cards that have been in carefully placed in binders and may not have seen the light of day in a while.

In seven years, the Hobby Blogging Community has grown exponentially. There have been some lean times as many of the bloggers that were around when I started have either left, moved onto other mediums, or update their pages as often as I do (which if you still come here every so often is few and far between...and I apologize). But I am so happy for those who have kept their voices strong and continually surprise us readers with unique points of view on their own forums and pages and will continue to support them while happily discovering new writers and blogs that talk about our shared Hobby.

Now, just like the Hobby, this blog has evolved. While I might not get back to posting random cards of the day like I used to, I would like to make a better effort of getting back to posting on a more frequent basis. I've made this promise many times on many of my posts but have found less time to keep this commitment. It is my hope that as soon as I am able to get my work priorities in order (and I'm almost me), I will be able to put more energy into my writing, and do more to promote this Hobby in my small part of cyberspace.

I would like to thank those that have loyally followed this blog through the boom and bust periods (there are people who still read this blog, right?). Thank you to those who continue to share their points of view here and on their own sites and on other forms of social media. Thank you for reading what I've had to say. As long as I am collecting (and I don't plan on stopping any time soon), I will continue to write about the cards that matter to me and the cards that are part of my ever-growing collection (which in 2015 will include the eponymous Series 2 and Update sets, Gypsy Queen, Allen & Ginter's, and the 32 retail team sets).

Year seven on this humble, little blog may have started slowly, but better times are ahead.

Until then, Happy Anniversary to bdj610's Topps Baseball Card Blog!!!

(the words to the song for those who either can't access the video, or for those who are deaf or hard-of-hearing)

(Gioacchino Rossini; arr. William Hanna / Joseph Barbera)
Practically a restaurant standard, most people don't realize that these lyrics, to the tune of "The William Tell Overture", were written by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera for the episode titled "The Hot Piano".

Happy Anniversary
Happy Anniversary
Happy Anniversary
Haaappy Anniversary

Pour a cheerful toast and fill it
Happy Anniversary
But be careful you don't spill it
Happy Anniversary

Ooooo Happy Anniversary
Happy Anniversary
Happy Anniversary
Haaappy Anniversary

(Fred and Wilma Talking)

Ooooo Happy Anniversary
Happy Anniversary
Happy Anniversary
Haaappy Anniversary

(Fred Talking)

Happy she and happy he
They're both as happy as can be
Celebrating merrily
their happy anniversary

(Fred and Wilma Talking)

Ooooo Happy Anniversary
Happy Anniversary
Happy Anniversary
Haaappy Anniversary

(Fred Talking)

Ooooo Happy Anniversary
Happy Anniversary
Happy Anniversary
Haaappy Anniversary

We now state emphatically
its happy anniversary
Not another day could be
a happy anniversary

Ooooo Happy Anniversary
Happy Anniversary
Happy Anniversary
Happy (slow)
Happy (slow)
Happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy (fast) Anniversary!!!

And may our collections grow today, tomorrow, and forever more!!!


JayBee Anama

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Ichiro is Back on Topps!!!

It looks like whatever deal Ichiro Suzuki had with that rogue card company is now over.

In 2013, many collectors (myself included) noticed that a certain recently traded Yankees player was not in any of the Topps products the company brought to the masses. He didn't appear on any checklists, he didn't appear in the eponymous set, the team set, not even those Topps Chipz. Unusual enough that Topps was excluding a Yankee player, but it was Ichiro.


The last time we saw this guy on a Topps card (not including the SP, or the Heritage High Numbers) was in 2012 Topps Update Series.

2012 Topps Update Series Ichiro #US272A

And that was it.

Okay, I'm wrong. He showed up in those Topps Qubi things in 2013)

If you wanted your Ichiro fix, you'd have to buy cards from those other card companies (shudder). But if you're a die-hard Topps fan, there was nothing for you.  You were out.

Until now.

I saw this on Facebook yesterday, and thought, "This has to be a mock-up. No way is this real!"

It's a picture of an autograph card for 2015 Topps Allen & Ginter's. It includes an image of Ichiro, and an autograph (is that really his auto???).

There were some red flags raised, which made me question its authenticity:
  • It's of Ichiro in a Mariners' jersey. Isn't he with the Marlins now?
  • It's an autograph. I didn't see (at the time) any news of Ichiro signing an autograph deal with Topps
  • I knew that Ichiro was in a long-term deal with Leaf, which was probably why he vanished from Topps products these last two-plus years.
But then today, I'm reading the Twitter feed and see this (and if you can't see the images, the actual line is below):

Topps Company @toppscards: Topps to issue its first autographed cards of Ichiro!

Topps Company @toppscards: Ichiro will also have autographed card of him featured with the *Yankees and @Marlins in 2015 Topps Allen & Ginter.

Well, it's official.

It looks like Ichiro has finally come back to Topps. Along with Allen & Ginter's, will we see a Marlins card of Mr. Suzuki any time soon? Will he be in Series 2? Update Series? Archives?

Better question: Will Topps be making "retro" cards of Ichiro from his Yankees days (2013, 2014)?

Regardless of when he makes his return to a Topps base card, It's about time.

Now, about that Matt Wieters guy...


JayBee Anama

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Once Again, I Return on the Fifth of May After a Month Away

If you're looking for me, I've found myself on my own sojourn. Just like last year, April turned into a busy month. But unlike last year, the Cubs are doing well (a winning April for the first time in years). The White Sox? Not so much.

I'll tell you though, I had a feeling this was going to happen with the White Sox.  I mean think about it. The last Chicago team added an All-Star outfielder, an All-Star pitcher, and a lights out All-Star closer at the same time?

The 1991 Chicago Cubs (George Bell, Danny Jackson, Dave Smith).

Remember how well they did in 1991? Of course you do (77-83, 4th place NL East).

Anyway, it's Cinco de Mayo!!!

¡Ah! ¡Cinco de Mayo!

While everyone celebrates with margaritas, tacos, and all that great Mexican food, let's take a quick moment and review what Cinco de Mayo is.

According to Wikipedia:

"It celebrates the day back in 1862 when the Mexican army overcame all odds and beat the French forces at the Battle of Puebla. This is not Mexico's Independence day (that would be September 16), nor is it a national holiday (it is celebrated voluntarily), outside of Mexico. But in the United States, Cinco de Mayo is a day to honor Mexican heritage and pride."

In 2009, I created an All-Star Team that consisted of native-born Mexican baseball players. Yes, there are many players of Mexican descent in baseball, but these guys were born en los Estados Unidos Mexicanos (and before you send me nasty letters, this is the formal name of the country). As of May 4, 2015, 116 players can claim Mexico as their birth place. Two of them recently made their MLB debut as a matter of fact.

2014 Topps Pro Debut Roberto Osuna #32

Roberto Osuna (from Juan Jose Rios, Sinaloa) made his MLB debut with the Toronto Blue Jays on April 8 against the Yankees, entering the eighth inning as the third of three relievers in the inning. He struck out the first batter he faced, Alex Rodriguez, and induced Stephen Drew to fly out to right, ending the inning (the Blue Jays eventually lost the game 4-3). Born on  February 7, 1995 (that's right...feel old now people!!!), he is the youngest player in the Major Leagues (also the only player born in 1995). The card you see above is the second of two Pro Debut cards of Osuna. His first Topps Pro Debut card came in 2013.

Arnold Leon (from Culiacan, Sinaloa) debuted for the Oakland Athletics on April 22 versus the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. He entered the ninth inning against the Halos, the third of three pitchers that night, and allowed one run on two hits in what would be a 9-2 win over the Halos. No Topps cards yet to speak of...yet.

After consecutive years of taco night here at home, we're having a simple dinner of quesadillas and Mexican rice and beans. Figures, we're going against the grain of Taco Tuesday, but that's what my wife and I had for lunch.

I (finally) bought myself a box of sheets for my cards, so maybe I'll find time to put my series 1 set in a binder. That's what will keep me busy for a while watching either the Blackhawks take on the Wild, the Cubs vs. the Cardinals, or the White Sox extend their streak against the Tigers.

¡Viva México!


JayBee Anama