Thursday, January 28, 2016

He's Number 1!!! He's Number 1!!!

After all of the voting, and the weeks of waiting, today, Topps announced the player who will now grace card #1 for the eponymous 2016 Topps Baseball product...

Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

According to the Topps Blog, the image that is used for the above card, "depicts an amazing highlight from the 2015 season. On Sept. 26, he scaled the outfield wall, extended his body over it and robbed Seattle’s Jesus Montero of a home run in a tremendous catch."

Topps Series 1 is coming soon, and I can't wait.

Also heard that my little nephew wants to get into card collecting. I can't wait to get him started. I'll be kind, I promise.


JayBee Anama

Monday, January 11, 2016

This Was the Whole Idea for the Topps 300 (and then some...): Debate!!!

(Before I begin, I'd like to express my condolences to the family and fans of David Bowie, who passed away last night after a long and private battle with cancer. He was one of the most iconic rockers over the last 40 years. I may have missed the formative years (Ziggy Stardust in particular), but was introduced to the man thanks to an album of his narration of Peter and the Wolf. I must have played that record...THAT'S many times. Must try and find that cd on eBay...maybe get the album even though I don't have a record player.)

The response to my last post was pretty good (considering that I haven't been posting on a regular basis for quite some time). I could have used a bit more, so if you could, please visit the original Topps 300 site, check out the original 60 years worth of cards, then come back to see my top 5 from each of the last five years.

Today, Topps posted their full checklist for Series 1 on their site. With the exception of the base set (which they're holding off on giving full details until they announce who's number 1), they have posted every card, retail exclusives too, that should be making their appearance in next month's eponymous product. The checklist for "Berger's Best" this year's reprint retrospective consists of the following subjects:

BB-1 Willie Mays New York Giants
BB-2 Satchel Paige St. Louis Browns
BB-3 Henry Aaron Milwaukee Braves
BB-4 Sandy Koufax Brooklyn Dodgers
BB-5 Jackie Robinson Brooklyn Dodgers
BB-6 Ted Williams Boston Red Sox
BB-7 Roger Maris Cleveland Indians
BB-8 Roberto Clemente Pittsburgh Pirates
BB-9 Willie McCovey San Francisco Giants
BB-10 Bill Mazeroski Pittsburgh Pirates
BB-11 Roger Maris New York Yankees
BB-12 Brooks Robinson Baltimore Orioles
BB-13 Whitey Ford New York Yankees
BB-14 Hank Aaron Milwaukee Braves
BB-15 Jim Palmer Baltimore Orioles
BB-16 Steve Carlton St. Louis Cardinals
BB-17 Rod Carew Minnesota Twins
BB-18 Reggie Jackson Oakland Athletics
BB-19 Johnny Bench Cincinnati Reds
BB-20 Nolan Ryan New York Mets
BB-21 Tom Seaver New York Mets
BB-22 Joe Morgan Cincinnati Reds
BB-23 Dave Winfield San Diego Padres
BB-24 George Brett Kansas City Royals
BB-25 Dennis Eckersley Cleveland Indians
BB-26 Robin Yount Milwaukee Brewers
BB-27 Eddie Murray Baltimore Orioles
BB-28 Ozzie Smith San Diego Padres
BB-29 Rickey Henderson Oakland Athletics
BB-30 Harold Baines Chicago White Sox
BB-31 Cal Ripken Jr. Baltimore Orioles
BB-32 Tony Gwynn San Diego Padres
BB-33 Don Mattingly New York Yankees
BB-34 Dwight Gooden New York Mets
BB-35 Roger Clemens Boston Red Sox
BB-36 Bo Jackson Kansas City Royals
BB-37 Wade Boggs Boston Red Sox
BB-38 Ken Griffey Jr. Seattle Mariners
BB-39 George Brett Kansas City Royals
BB-40 Frank Thomas Chicago White Sox
BB-41 Cal Ripken Jr. Baltimore Orioles
BB-42 Randy Johnson Seattle Mariners
BB-43 Mike Piazza Los Angeles Dodgers
BB-44 Barry Larkin Cincinnati Reds
BB-45 John Smoltz Atlanta Braves
BB-46 Livan Hernandez Florida Marlins
BB-47 Alex Rodriguez Seattle Mariners
BB-48 Josh Hamilton Tampa Bay Devil Rays
BB-49 Miguel Cabrera Florida Marlins
BB-50 Albert Pujols St. Louis Cardinals
BB-51 Joe Mauer Minnesota Twins
BB-52 Robinson Cano New York Yankees
BB-53 Yadier Molina St. Louis Cardinals
BB-54 Justin Verlander Detroit Tigers
BB-55 Hanley Ramirez Florida Marlins
BB-56 Daisuke Matsuzaka Boston Red Sox
BB-57 Clayton Kershaw Los Angeles Dodgers
BB-58 David Price Tampa Bay Rays
BB-59 Stephen Strasburg Washington Nationals
BB-60 Mike Trout Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
BB-61 Bryce Harper Washington Nationals
BB-62 Mike Trout Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
BB-63 Masahiro Tanaka New York Yankees
BB-64 Kris Bryant Chicago Cubs
BB-65 Buster Posey San Francisco Giants

This means that their reprint retrospective could consist of a card from...wait for it...2016!!! How about that? A reprint card from the same year and same product!!!


So no card from 1951, and did you notice Topps' biggest name is missing? I guess since they couldn't re-sign with the estate, we will be without the presence of Mickey Mantle for the fourth straight year (and that means no #7).

But take a look at the list. Of the 65 cards on the list, 33 (possibly a 34th one) were featured on the Topps 300 (and then some...). Most of the cards above are indeed rookie cards/first year. I also do wish they picked 65 different players for this set. Mike Trout appears here twice. So do Hank Aaron, George Brett, Roger Maris, and Cal Ripken. Maybe Series 2 will have more of my picks. I mean, I now have 325 cards they can choose from...well more like 290 (or 291...depends).

Now back to the point of the title. A comment from Matt Stupienski read,

"I must say that I'm quite partial to the 2015 Andrelton Simmons picture. Then again, I am a Braves fan, so perhaps I'm a bit biased. You must agree that this is a beauty though."

His comment regarding Simmons' card was seconded by none other than Fuji. (If you don't read The Chronicles of Fuji, you're missing out on a really positive voice in the Hobby. Then again, he's got a ton of readers already, so if you're reading this dog-and-pony-show of a blog, you already a fan of his).

"I second Mr. Stupienski's selection of Simmons. That's an awesome action shot."

Now for those of you who haven't seen it, here is the card in question:

Now it's a great action shot. He's literally parallel to the ground. And what better way to represent the two-time Gold Glove winner with this amazing picture. I'm sure Braves' fans were sad to hear that he was traded off to the Angels.

The whole idea of the Topps 300 (and then some...) was to create debate. My choices were mine, they certainly aren't perfect. While many people agreed with my picks, there are obviously people who would disagree and could probably choose cards that I wouldn't have considered. And this is an perfect example.

Now I didn't pick the Simmons card because in recent years, there have been so many similar shots of these kinds of plays that it's no longer unique. Put this picture in the 1991 Topps set, for example, then you have something groundbreaking. But in 2015, there's a shot of Jackie Bradley, Jr (#314), Lorenzo Cain (#516), and closest example, Aaron Hill (#247). Okay, so the first two guys are outfielders, but Hill is a second baseman. Different angle, but same idea.

But that's the point. You disagree with my picks? Show me a better one and talk about it. Why did you pick this card? You a fan of the team (like Mr. Stupienski?) You a fan of the player? You just love the picture? Would you have been able to place yourself at the stadium or at home watching when this picture was taken?

It's just another way to share the Hobby we all have in common.

How about you? What do you think?


JayBee Anama

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Do You Remember the Topps 300 (and then some...)?

Back in 2011, Topps had this brilliant idea. They would hold a contest to determine the Top 60 Topps cards in its 50 year history. Now Topps picked 100 cards from its wide collection of cards and asked fans and collectors to pick their top ten cards from the 100. While the list contained many rookies and other classic cards (which you can find here), there were some cards that I really didn't think belonged here.

After picking my ten, I didn't feel so good. My choices were fine, but in my mind, the Hobby Blogging Community could do better.

That's when I decided to create "The Topps 300 (and then some...)" I picked 5 cards from each year of Topps' history (from 1951 through 2010) that I thought were the best from that particular year and asked readers to respond with what they thought of my picks and if they believed another card could be better than what I picked (that's the "and then some..." part of the site).

My efforts did gain a bit of publicity, thanks to Rich Mueller and the Sports Collectors Daily. I had hoped that by the end of the year, I could do a countdown of the best card of each year and then from that, pick the top 60 cards overall. While the final countdown never came to fruition, the comments left by readers with their picks were great and I thank all of those who took time out of their days to comment.

It's now five years later. The site is still up, and although there haven't been any new comments since 2014, people still do come across that blog.

For the first series of its eponymous set for 2016, Topps has decided to include a 65-card insert set called "Berger's Best." In honor of the "Father of the Modern Day Baseball Card," Topps has decided that they would include a reprint of one card from each year (1952-2015). I like the concept, but I really hope that they skip the "bio in the back" as they did with their reprint sets from 2010 and 2011 - only to include SP's of full reprint cards as well. I know I'll be going after this set, I just am nervous about how they'll present it.

That made me think. What if I presented my Topps 5 (get it...) cards from each of the past five seasons and presented them the same way I did back then? Make it an update, an addendum, to the original 60 years that I created five years prior. To that, I said, "Why not?"

So I present for your review tonight, my Top 25 cards, 5 for each year, from 2011 through 2015. Tell me if you agree with my picks or if I'm nuts and I could have picked another card.

To paraphrase the intro on the Topps 300 blog:

"Below are scans of the best five (in my opinion) cards from each year from the last 5 years of Topps Baseball Cards. I picked the 25 based on a few qualifiers, including: Key Rookie, Unique Photo, Action Shot, Card caused a buzz in the Hobby, Noteworthy Errors, Player had an impact on the game that particular year."

Let me know what you think.

  • #110 Aroldis Chapman
  • #200 Ichiro Suzuki
  • #210 Brian Wilson
  • #421 Domonic Brown
  • #US175 Mike Trout

  • #58 Tim Hudson
  • #136 Casey McGehee
  • #396 Yoenis Cespedes
  • #660 Yu Darvish
  • #661 Bryce Harper

  • #253 Adam Greenberg
  • #589 Jose Fernandez
  • #617 Fernando Rodney
  • #660 Miguel Cabrera
  • #US250 Yasiel Puig

  • #8 Coco Crisp
  • #228 Jayson Werth
  • #496 Jose Abreu
  • #625 Albert Pujols
  • #661 Masahiro Tanaka

  • #1 Derek Jeter
  • #177 Paul Konerko
  • #300 Mike Trout
  • #616 Kris Bryant
  • #US174 Carlos Correa

Feel free to leave comments on here. Let me know if you can think of a better card than one that I selected. I'm pretty sure that some of these cards will be included in that Berger's Best set (which is also confirmed for Series 2...I'll get around to sell sheets later).


JayBee Anama

Wednesday, January 6, 2016


The votes are in...

  • Ken Griffey, Jr. 437 (99.3%);
  • Mike Piazza 365 (83.0%);
  • Jeff Bagwell 315 (71.6%);
  • Tim Raines 307 (69.8%);
  • Trevor Hoffman 296 (67.3%);
  • Curt Schilling 230 (52.3%);
  • Roger Clemens 199 (45.2%);
  • Barry Bonds 195 (44.3%);
  • Edgar Martinez 191 (43.4%);
  • Mike Mussina 189 (43.0%);
  • Alan Trammell 180 (40.9%);
  • Lee Smith 150 (34.1%);
  • Fred McGriff 92 (20.9%);
  • Jeff Kent 73 (16.6%);
  • Larry Walker 68 (15.5%);
  • Mark McGwire 54 (12.3%);
  • Gary Sheffield 51 (11.6%);
  • Billy Wagner 46 (10.5%);
  • Sammy Sosa 31 (7.0%);
  • Jim Edmonds 11 (2.5%);
  • Nomar Garciaparra 8 (1.8%);
  • Mike Sweeney 3 (0.7%);
  • David Eckstein 2 (0.5%);
  • Jason Kendall 2 (0.5%);
  • Garret Anderson 1 (0.2%);
  • Brad Ausmus 0;
  • Luis Castillo 0;
  • Troy Glaus 0;
  • Mark Grudzielanek 0;
  • Mike Hampton 0;
  • Mike Lowell 0;
  • Randy Winn 0;

On this year's ballot, a player needed to receive 330 votes to reach or exceed the 75% needed for induction. The new voting rules (writers can be inactive no more than 10 years) eliminated 100 plus voters, and also the years to be eligible to stay on the ballot were changed from 15 to 10 (Trammell, Smith, and Raines were grandfathered).

The players whose names are italicized will appear on next year's ballot, having surpassed the five percent rule to stay on (22 votes). Alan Trammell was on his fifteenth and final ballot. Mark McGwire was on his tenth and now final ballot. Both will now wait for the Veteran's Committee to decide their fates in the future.

According to the Baseball Hall of Fame website, 440 ballots were cast.

UPDATE: Wednesday, January 6, 2016, 06:15 pm CST

A few years ago, I wrote about an insert set called Topps Hallbound. That's where the two cards above came from. There are 15 subjects in this set. Of the 15, 11, including Griffey and Piazza, are now in the Hall of Fame.


JayBee Anama

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

One (or More) of These Players Could Be Voted into Baseball's Hall of Fame

When the announcement is made at 05:00 PM CST on Wednesday, January 6, 2016, to let the world know who has been inducted into Baseball's Hall of Fame, I will be at work. But I'll still have the MLB Network on to watch the results live.

With any luck, more than one person on this list of 32 players will be rewarded with the ultimate honor...enshrinement into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. For the final time, here is the list of players (with years on ballot and % of ballots in the 2015 election) being considered:

Garret Anderson
Brad Ausmus
Jeff Bagwell, 6th, 55.7%
Barry Bonds, 4th, 36.8%
Luis Castillo
Roger Clemens, 4th, 37.5%
David Eckstein
Jim Edmonds
Nomar Garciaparra, 2nd, 5.5%
Troy Glaus
Ken Griffey, Jr.
Mark Grudzielanek
Mike Hampton
Trevor Hoffman
Jason Kendall
Jeff Kent, 3rd, 14.0%
Mike Lowell
Edgar Martinez, 7th, 27.0%
Fred McGriff, 7th, 12.9%
Mark McGwire, 10th, 10.0%
Mike Mussina, 3rd, 24.6%
Mike Piazza, 4th, 69.9%
Tim Raines, 9th, 55.0%
Curt Schilling, 4th, 39.2%
Gary Sheffield, 2nd, 11.7%
Lee Smith, 14th, 30.2%
Sammy Sosa, 4th, 6.6%
Mike Sweeney
Alan Trammell, 15th, 25.1%
Billy Wagner
Larry Walker, 6th, 11.8%
Randy Winn

After the ballots are counted tonight, only two or three people will know the results of the election. Stay tuned. Tomorrow will be an interesting day to say the least.


JayBee Anama

Monday, January 4, 2016

Pack Break Week 4: 2015 Topps Allen & Ginter's


It looks like Pack Break Week #4 will have to be extended to this week as it has been one whirlwind weekend.

But now that the festivities are over and everyone is back at work and school (almost...), it's time to get back in gear and kick off 2016 with a bang by opening up the pack I was supposed to open on Friday, 2015 Topps Allen & Ginter's.

In it's 10th successful campaign, Topps Allen & Ginter's World Champions continues combining the world of sports with, well, everything else. Non baseball card subjects included the four guys who try to out-do each other on Impractical Jokers, the Appomattox Court House, the Magna Carta, and the four "characters" from the Rocky movies (not the actors who portrayed them). Unique insert sets, whether they are the standard 2½ x 3½ inch or the mini cards which were the size of the original cards that would have been inserted in tobacco products, round out this incredible product.

Now, there are collectors out there who even after 10 years of exposure to A&G still don't get the concept and complain about all of these extra subjects in their baseball cards. They're missing the point of the set. This is not just a baseball card product, but it pays homage to all the unique and crazy subjects that the original Allen & Ginter's produced in the 19th century.

So what cards did I manage to get in my six-card pack of A&G? On the 10th Anniversary, this was what was inside:

  • #47 Lance Lynn, Cardinals
  • #19 Charlie Blackmon, Rockies
  • #AA-5 Chu Ko Nu, Ancient Armory insert
  • #262 Alex Cobb, Rays, Mini card
  • #323 Joaquin Benoit, Padres
  • #99 Edwin Escobar, Red Sox

Other than the nice insert card, this one joins the Stadium Club pack as a downer. Don't get me wrong, the base design is nice, and yes, there are a couple of All-Stars in the pack. But for this Cubs fan, it's nothing to write home about.

Here's hoping that the 2015 Topps Update Series pack that I plan on opening tomorrow comes up with something nice. And while we're at it, I might as well open the final pack from the dollar store, 2014 Topps Update Series. Should be interesting to say the least.

Have a great day everyone.


JayBee Anama