30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Monday, February 29, 2016

Musical Chairs w/ Topps Baseball

The past few months, I have been carefully building a list of my favorite Topps baseball card designs and have sort of hit a wall.  The Top 6 are essentially set in stone.  However from #7 down... it's sort of like playing musical chairs.

On any given day, my rankings change.  One day I'll think the 1963 Topps design is better than the 1982 set design.  The next day, they'll swap places.  I tip my cap to all of you who have built your list of favorite Topps sets, because it has been much harder than I ever imagined.

I have managed to narrow it down to three tiers.  Tier One are my top six sets.  These are like first ballot hall of famers in the sense that there's really no debate on my end... which means they don't seem to fluctuate.

The next four sets make up the Tier Two sets, which I'd compare to solid hall of famers, but not quite legends.  Tier Three sets are part of the Hall of Very Good... and round out the final six sets in the upper echelon of Topps set design hierarchy.  The sets within each of these two tiers move around, but are essentially locked into their own group.

Today I'll target Tier Three.  However... before I reveal my selections, you should probably know that my rankings are solely based on the front base card designs.  Not the subsets.  Not the card backs.  Not the photo quality or photo selection.  I considered using Night Owl's criteria... but to be honest... there was way too much thinking involved and it made my head hurt.

With that out of the way... let's get things started:

#16:  1963 Topps

As many of you know... I love bargains.  And with this design, you get two photos for the price of one.  It also bares a striking resemblance to one of my favorite Topps designs that I'll reveal in a future post.

#15: 1984 Topps

Copy my response from #16 and paste it here.

#14:  1952 Topps

I have only owned one 1952 Topps card in my lifetime and I sadly traded it away for some 80's rookie cards.  But it's hard to deny the significance of this particular set.  Personally... I never really considered the design to be anything special, but after comparing it to all of the other set designs Topps has produced over the years, I've come to realize that it has a place in my Top 16.

#13: 1982 Topps

I've always had a soft spot for the "Hockey Stick" set.  It has to do with Topps' decision to use colors like pink, purple, orange, and brown on their cards and the Tron-like lines racing down the sides.  

#12: 2015 Topps

It's been a few years since I saw a base card design from Topps that stood out, but thankfully the drought ended with last year's product.  My favorite thing about it are the colorful borders that match the team's colors.

This particular set has been ranked as low as #11... and as high as #15.  It just depends on my particular mood.

#11: 1980 Topps

Baseball and pennants go together like peanut butter and jelly... which is one of the reasons this design is so high on the list.  It also doesn't hurt that the Henderson rookie card is a thing of beauty that should be hanging up on a museum wall.

Well there's my Tier Three group of Topps baseball card designs.  Stay tuned for my Tier Two selections, which will consist of sets #7 through #10.

Until then... let's hear your thoughts on my selections.

Which of my selections do you consider to be vastly underrated or overrated?

Looking forward to reading your responses.  Happy Leap Day and sayonara!

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Saturday Night Five: JBF's Super Traders Package

Overwhelmed.  That's probably the best word to describe how I feel right now.  Between battling allergies and dealing with work related issues... this past week was pretty rough.  I have a couple of posts I'm currently in the middle of, but didn't even think about touching them last week.

Hopefully I'll find some much needed energy and bounce back sooner than later.  

In the meantime, I figured I'd share a few cards that Wes sent my way two weeks ago.

#1:  2013 Topps Museum Collection Primary Pieces #YC

Back in January, Wes kicked off the whole "Super Traders" group with a very generous box break of 2013 Topps Museum Collection.  One of the "hits" he pulled was this beautiful card of Cespedes that contains a really nice patch from his jersey.

#2:  2015 Panini Clear Vision Clarity #CL13

Wes always takes the time to throw in cardboard for other collections.  This super thick piece of acetate features my favorite quarterback, Aaron Rodgers.  This card is so heavy that you could actually hurt someone with it if you threw it at them.

#3:  2014 Panini Rookies and Stars Rookie Crusade #33

If you've ever held one these Crusade cards in your hands, then you know how beautiful they are.  Unfortunately Richardson was injured for most of the 2015 season, but hopefully he'll bounce back for the Seahawks in 2016.

#4:  2013-14 SPx #159

Two years ago, Hertl was the talk of the town in San Jose.  He looked like a future goal scoring champion in the making, but has since cooled off.  The good news is he's still young and there's plenty of time for him to develop into the next Jaromir Jagr.

#5:  2015 Topps Archives Fan Favorites Autographs #JV

Would you be surprised if I told you that Jose Vidro played in more games for the Expos than Vladimir Guerrero?  What if I told you he was tied for second in career batting average with Tim Raines or that he hit more doubles than Andre Dawson, Gary Carter, Raines, or Vladimir?  Pretty impressive, right?

Now combine that knowledge with an on-card autograph featuring one of the greatest Topps' card designs of all-time and you have one helluva card.

By now you should know that Wes never sends only five cards.  He's a firm believer of "bombing" your mailbox with cardboard.  Here's a peek at the rest of JBF's Super Traders Package:

Plus... the cherry on top was this ultra rare, one of a kind, personally inscribed 1987 Topps Gary Redus card:

Thank you Wes for this awesome Super Traders package!  I'm always setting aside Atlanta Braves, Arizona Cardinals, and Alabama Crimson Tide cardboard for you.  As soon as the pile becomes package worthy... I'll ship it out.

Happy Saturday and sayonara!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

A Lot on My Plate

A few years ago, I was contacted by another Bay Area sports fan who happened to be cleaning out his garage and wanted to know if I'd be interested in a bunch of free sports memorabilia.  Well I'm not insane.  Of course I was interested.  If you are too... you can check out the treasure trove of goodies for yourself: here and here.

Fast forward to 2016 and Bruce was back in his garage gathering up more memorabilia to generously donate to my personal collection as well as things for my classroom.  There are five boxes in total:

The front two boxes are filled with newspapers from key Bay Area sporting events over the past few decades, while the other three boxes are filled with media guides, books, and a bunch of random awesomeness.

I haven't had enough time to sift through everything, but I picked out a few of the cool items I saw when Bruce walked me through his stuff:

#1:  1979 Oakland A's Media Guide

As soon as I saw this... I was stoked.  Obviously The Swingin' A's logo caught my attention, but I also quickly realized that this was from Rickey Henderson's rookie season.  This is a really nice addition to my Oakland Athletics collection.

#2:  Le Chandail de Hockey

This is a beautifully illustrated children's book that's written in French.  Translated into English, the title of the book is The Hockey Sweater.  There's a cool summary of the story located on Wikipedia.

#3:  Mother's Cookies Trading Cards

I grew up collecting both Oakland A's and San Francisco Giants Mother's Cookies trading cards, so when Bruce pointed these out... I was briefly taken back to my childhood.  As soon as I have some time to dig through the boxes, I'm sure I'll target these outstanding oddballs first.

#4:  A Bunch of Radical Randomness

Pins, buttons, ticket stubs, trading cards, baseballs, coins, and even an awesome wrist watch.  There's so much stuff here that when he showed me this pile... I told him it's like "Christmas in February".

Unlike when I was a kid and I tore through my presents as fast as I could on Christmas morning... I'm going to take my sweet time with Bruce's generous donation... kinda like when you're trying to savor an expensive piece of chocolate.

Part of my decision to take things slow has to do with another generous donation to my collection.  Only this time, it arrived from a fellow blogger:  Ryan over at This Card is Cool.  Last week, I came home from my trip to Las Vegas and discovered a huge box packed with a variety of items:

I honestly have no idea where to begin... but Ryan has offered to answer any questions I may have about these unique and interesting items from across the Pacific.  It's unfair and honestly impossible to summarize everything in one post, so be prepared to see this stuff scattered in random posts here and there.

I might as well also address the stack of packages from fellow Super Traders that is starting to grow in my office:

I've already tackled Brian's PWE yesterday.  Next up with be the founder himself:  Wes over at Jaybarkerfan's Junk.  After that I'll do a write up on Adam's package.  He's the author of Infield Fly Rule.

As you can see... I have a lot of stuff sitting on my plate... which isn't such a bad thing.  Thank you so much Bruce, Ryan, Brian, Wes, and Adam.

Bruce... let me know when you're available to grab dinner.  Ryan... if you're still in California... hit me up and I'll take you to a Sharks game or something.  Brian... got your package ready to ship early next week.  And Wes and Adam... stay tuned.  I need to pull some stuff out and build you some care packages.

Happy Sunday and sayonara!

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Super Traders #1: Highly Subjective + Completely Arbitrary

The Super Traders packages have already arriving and are starting to pile up.  The first one to arrive in the mail was sent by Brian over at Highly Subjective and Completely Arbitrary.  He's the Minnesota Twins guy in the group and has been blogging since 2015.  To be honest I just recently discovered his blog, but that's the beauty of Jaybarkerfan's amazing experiment, which opened the doors for team traders to meet other bloggers and exchange cards with each other.

I'm a fan of both the San Diego Padres and Oakland Athletics, but since we're unable to monopolize multiple teams... Wes asked me if I'd represent the A's in the Super Trader's group and I obviously said "yes".

Here's an arbitrary sampling of what Brian sent my way:

1979 Topps #378

When I was a kid... my oldest brother took me to a lot of Oakland A's games.  Mr. Picciolo was one of those guys whose name was always in the lineup, but never really stood out statistically.  That doesn't mean I don't appreciate this fine piece of cardboard.  70's cardboard rules!

2015 Topps Update Tape Measure Blasts #1 and #11

While Picciolo was the furthest thing from being a household name... The Bash Brothers were two of the most popular players in baseball and have never had any problem with publicity.  I'm not exactly a fan of Topps and their recent flooding of inserts into the hobby.  However... there are two reasons I was happy that Brian sent me these two cards.

#1 - I didn't have them.
#2 - I remember seeing Canseco smack that ball during the 1989 ALCS.  Good times.

2007 UD Future Stars Rookie Dated Debuts #JM

I must have completely blocked out the 2007 MLB season... because Jay Marshall appeared in 51 games... and I've never heard of the guy (until now).

2004 Topps Total #778 and
1986 O-Pee-Chee #31

I would have to be living on the moon to not know who Eric Karros and Dusty Baker are.  Karros was the 1992 National League Rookie of the Year and Baker has found success as both a player and a manager.  But did you know that both of these guys ended their MLB careers with the Athletics? 

As for the cards themselves... I'm a huge fan of both Topps Total and 70's/80's O-Pee-Chee baseball.

2007 Fleer Soaring Stars #BZ

And rounding out this package is another guy who finished his career with the A's.  The difference is... Zito's best years were spent in the East Bay.  It's always nice to add another Zito insert to the collection... but since I'm being subjective, I've got to admit... it's bothers me that Fleer used a photo of Zito with the Athletics for this card.  He was with the Giants in 2007 and the card clearly states San Francisco on it.  Couldn't they find a Spring Training photo of him with the Giants?

On the other hand... if he was pictured in a Giants' uniform... this card would have been shipped to Adam instead of me, so I guess I should be thanking Fleer instead of complaining about them.

Nah.  I'd rather dedicate this entire "thank you" post to Brian for this "not exactly" arbitrary Super Traders package.

Brian... I'll start putting together some Twins for you and get them shipped out sometime this week.

Happy Saturday and sayonara!