Friday, September 23, 2022

Kodak, Tennessee

This pair of cards was sent by "Byrd" of Kodak, Tennessee, and presumably "Rocky Top Cards."  I believe this is a link to the RTC eBay store if you want to check it out.  If there is better link to use for another website, or this is the wrong eBay store, just let me know and I'll adjust it.  The '94 Fleer Extra bases is a card I don't see very often.  It's just my 4th copy of it, and first one I've added since 2017.  I don't know that they're all that difficult to find online, they're just a strange size and lack the eye appeal of say the 1986 Donruss All-Stars.

Thanks for the cards RTC!

Updated Totals:

1992 Pinnacle: 140

1994 Fleer Extra Bases: 4

Monday, September 19, 2022

Ramsey, NJ

These 33 cards were sent by the Greenberg's of Ramsey, NJ.  I've been sitting on these since late July, so I apologize to the Greenbergs.  I had a busy (but fun) summer and this blog had to take a backseat for awhile.  I've also received cards from "The Starting Nine" card blog in Ramsey, NJ, in the past, but I can't tell if the Greenbergs and JacobMrley are one and the same.  For now I am assuming they are.  

Regardless, thanks for the cards!

Updated Totals:

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Salem, Oregon

This package was actually sent to me way back in July, I've just been slow to keep up with stuff this summer.  Thankfully the tracking number on the package still worked, and I was able to determine that it was sent from Salem, Oregon, because the sender put my address as the return address.  That's one way to hedge against the potential of insufficient postage.  Unfortunately I don't see the sender's name anywhere.  I'm going to assume these cards are from regular contributor "Bo" from Salem.  This would be at least the 7th time Bo has sent cards going back to 2018.  (If the sender sees this post and wants to confirm I'd appreciate it).

Included with the 118 cards (116 of which are 1991 UD) were two autographed Expos Postcards.  The Expos Postcards are a pretty big hole in my Wallach collection.  The Canadian version of the 1984 Postcard is the only one I previously owned a copy of.  The two sent here are the 1986 (on the right above) and what is either the 1981 or 1983.  The photo is clearly from 1981, but there appears to be a possibility that the Expos reused the photo again in 1983.  I couldn't really find a lot out about these sets and there wasn't anything of help currently listed on eBay.  In any event, I'm happy to add them to the collection.

Thanks for the cards Salem!

Updated Totals:

1986 Topps x2: 480

1991 Upper Deck x116: 493

Monday, September 5, 2022

Sunday Edition - 2022 Topps Factory Set

2022 Topps Factory Set Review

Despite having yet to see a single pack of Topps series two in the wild, I stumbled upon the 2022 Topps Factory set in my local Target last week.  It was a pleasant surprise as I figured I'd have to end up ordering one from the Target website, or worse yet, over paying on the secondary market for one.  Instead, I found myself sorting out the cards by number and paging them all up in a binder last Sunday evening.

This marks the third year in a row and the fourth time in six years I've gone the factory set route.  I think this trend will continue.  It's just too hard to find packs of cards in stores, and the rare occassion I do, it's just extremely costs prohibative to try to build the set by hand.  The packs have gotten way to expensive, they're over stuffed with inserts, and I end up pulling too many duplicates.  And now, unfortunately, the insert fad/trend/gimmick has found it's way into the factory set as well.

These cards were stuffed in with the set.  The sealed bag are five "rookie photo variations," or something stupid like that.  Just pick a photo and go with it Topps.  The oil slick plastic one is a "Topps Chrome."  I don't consider "Chrome" to be a baseball card.  It's too thick, too plastic like, and you can literally see the indentation in the material around the player.  It's more like a little plaque or something.  On top of that the prism effect completely detracts from the photography.  All in all, it's crap.  Which is another way of saying I'll be putting these on eBay to see how much money someone is willing to waste on it.  I do after all have vintage set builds to finance.

Topps wasn't done with the factory set gimmicks yet.  I was more than a little confused when I began sifting through and sorting the final stack of cards I had in the 600's.  There were two copies each of card numbers 558, 559, and 600.  It took me longer than it should have, but I figured out three of them were player variations.  I don't think Topps appreciates just how annoying this is to a large demographic of their collectors who have been building their sets for the last three or four decades.  Either put a guy in the set or don't.  This appears to be nothing more than a money grab to go after the people who already over paid building a set through purchasing packs.  I remember when Topps started doing this with retired players.  I sort of liked that.  It was fun to see Willie McCovey on a modern design and I felt sense that the set was incomplete without them.  These are current players though.  I don't want to have to debate whether the set is "complete" without them.  For record, it absolutely would be.

One final complaint before I move on to the good stuff, because all in all, I do think 2022 is a very nice looking set and Topps deserves a lot of praise for once again delivering a product people want to collect and sleeve up in 9-pocket pages to save in perpetuity.  However, the card backs don't align.  I realize this isn't a new trend and goes back to the early days of Topps (I'm currently in an on-going debate as whether to line up the card fronts or backs with the '54 set I'm slowly building) but it's a tradition I'm okay leaving behind.  Bring back gum if you want to go retro, not misaligned card backs.

Due mostly to a lack of effort and a desire to get this post out quickly, I've decided to run down 22 cards from the 2022 set that I like.  I'm not saying they're definitively my 22 favorite cards, or suggesting these are in any order, it's just 22 cards I'm showing with varying degrees of comment.  Feel free to disagree, and I have no problem admitting that I probably over looked a few, but if nothing else this should give you a feel for the set.

22 Cards From 2022 Topps That I Like

#22 Shohei Ohtani (Batting) - Forgive me for being one of those baseball fans that doesn't think what Shohei is doing the most magical thing to ever happen.  It's cool, and he's great, but I'd be slightly more impressed if the Angels weren't thirty games out of first.  That said, I love the way Topps handled it.  One card with hitting stats to start the set with card #1...

#21 Shoehei Ohtani (pitching) - ...and one card with his pitching stats to end the set.  (This is the "real" 660, not Bob Witt's kid)

#20 Justin Upton - I feel like Topps went a bit heavy with throw back uniforms in this set, but when the uniform looks as nice as the old California Angels uniform, who am I to complain.  I also like that the Angels went with the true pullover and not the faux button down throwback.  

#19 Joe Ryan - (I may go a little heavy with throwback uniforms in my list as well) This is a rookie card young Mr. Ryan can be proud of.  Just a great looking baseball card.  Powder blues need to become the norm again.

#18 Fernando Tatis Jr. - I've tried to be a Tatis fan, but he's making it nearly impossible.  
That doesn't mean I need to turn a blind eye to a nice looking card.  Jose Canseco had a lot of great looking cards too.  Hopefully Feranando can get his act together and figure things out.  Strong 1973 vibes with this card and a lot of others in the set.

#17 Manny Machado - If there's been a winner in the Tatis drama, it's got to be Manny Machado.  Seems like a long time ago that he was getting dragged (rightfully) for not running out balls and other juvenille mistakes.  I typically don't like horizontal cards but this one (while no '71 Munson) is an exception to the rule.

#16 Mark Kolozsvary - While I feel like there are fewer cards of catchers in their gear, there were a few nice ones in the set.  I'm going with this one as my favorite.  This is another rookie card that I'm sure the player's friends and family will all be very pleased with.

#15 Hoy Park - Topps did a lot of favors for a lot of guys with great photos on their rookie cards this year.  Dwight Gooden's kids (or grandkids at this point) are probably looking at stack of '85 Topps and shaking their heads.

#14 Max Muncy - There were a good number of shots on cards of bats being tossed.  I don't remember when this trend started with Topps photographers, but I like it.  If we can't have photos of players loitering around the batting cage any more, at least we have these.

#12 "High Five Highway" - All this card needs is a white cloud around it and the team leaders on the back and it'd be right at home in '88 Topps.

#11 Gerrit Cole - This is just a great steak and potatoes example of a baseball card.  There are a ton of cards in the set of pitchers in their wind up like this and as a kid who suffered through the 80's when most pitcher cards were just rejected DMV drivers license photos, this is a nice development.

#10 Valdimir Guerrero Jr. - Not favorite to end up there, but this card is in the running to be the spine card in the set's binder.  

#9 Myles Straw - This is just a great photo, would have been right at home in the 1989 Upper Deck set.  I'm inclined to cut out a picture of a shark to glue onto the card and mail it off to Beckett, though I'm not sure if they're still running that feature.

#8 Matt Brash - As mentioned above, Topps did a lot of rookies a lot favors with the photo selections on their cards.  Matt Brash is not one of those rookies.  They did him dirty.  

#7 Aaron Judge - I'm not going to sit here and argue "61" is the home run record, it isn't.  I remember watching it be broken on live tv.  That said, it's still an undeniable bench mark, like hitting .400.  This is a cool card to be the one being pulled from packs during the summer Judge is making a run at 61.

#6 Joc Pederson - I've long been a big Joc Pederson fan.  This is very nice card of Joc and has a chance to end up as the one I use as the "spine card" in the binder.  My only reluctance is that he's playing for the Giants this year, so it feels odd to use a 2022 card of him as a Brave.

#5 Seth Beer - I'm not a "prospector" or amateur talent scout, but I do watch a ton of college baseball and go to a good number of Albuquerque Isotope games (became a Joc Pederson fan going to 'Topes games the summer he won the PCL Triple Crown).  So when I see familiar name show up in a set for the first time, I get a weird sort of satisfaction out of it.  A few years ago Seth Beer was a star on a good Clemson baseball team.  At the time I would have bet that his first card would have arrived with more a lot more fan fare, but I guess I would have been wrong.  

#4 Albert Pujols (back) - I love a card back of a long time veteran.  I can remember being fascinated by the backs of cards of guys like Tommy John, Ted Simmons, Rod Carew, and especially Pete Rose as a kid.  Topps takes a lot of criticism for a lot of things, but it deserves to be pointed out when they do something right.  Keeping full career stats on the backs of cards is one of those things they get right year after year.

#3 "Toronto Talent" - This card has huge 1987 and 1988 Topps team card vibes.  I miss the old subsets of the 1980's and like to see Topps bring them back in a meaningful way.  For now, this card will suffice.

#2 Ozzie Albies - This is the current clubhouse leader to be the card I use as the spine card.  I like the photo, feel like it compliments the design well, and it's a card of a team coming off of a World Series win.

#1 Brett Gardner - I'll be the first to admit this isn't the best looking card in this set. As I've mentioned, I'm not even particularly fond of the horizontal cards.  But this is what I (and others) call a "bookend card."  A final card for a guy that had a great major league career, even if it's not one anybody is ever going to confuse for a Hall of Fame Career.  Topps used to do these for the guys who appeared in their sets for a decade plus, and then stopped in the mid 90's.  Just in time to omit Tim Wallach from their 1996 and 1997 sets.  As a result, there is no Topps card that shows Tim Wallach's full career stats (Collector's Choice nicely did so with their 1997 Wallach).  Gardner has been one of, if not my favorite player, in the majors since the Yankees brought him up in 2008.  This card nicely immortalizes his time in the majors, and I'm glad Topps chose to include him in the set, even if it was done with the belief he may still be showing up in Yankee lineups this year.

Saturday, September 3, 2022

Fargo, ND

These twenty cards were sent by Jack of Fargo, North Dakota.  Jack runs the "Wax Pack Wonders" card blog.  The twenty Wallach's sent by Jeff was a nice assortment with the highlight being an '88 Fleer box bottom that was cut very nicely and 1993 Pacific.  There was also a rarely seen 1993 Cardtoons "Tim Wallet."  I suspect that card is often over looked due to the names in the set not showing up in a lot of searches.

Thanks for the cards Jeff!

Updated Totals:

Thursday, September 1, 2022

Kansas City, MO

This pair of 1994 Flair Wallach's was sent by Evan of Kansas City, Missouri.  There was an Evan that sent cards to me back in 2016 from Kansas City, but with a different address.  So this is either the first or second time Evan has sent cards.  

"Avid" readers of this blog may have noticed it's been silent since mid-July.  I've had a busy summer and have accumulated a decent number of cards that I need to post.  So if you've sent cards, chances are I received them, I just haven't gotten around to posting them yet.

Thanks for the cards Evan.

Updated Totals:

1994 Flair x2: 18

Sunday, July 17, 2022

Sunday Edition

1953 Topps Set Build Progress

I picked up both of the above cards, Jim Gilliam and Johnny Podres, in the last month.  I've been slowly piecing the 1953 set together for about a decade now, with it being a real point of emphasis the last two or three years.  I figured that these two would both be in the final three cards I picked up (along with Willie Mays).  I was pleasantly surprised when I landed both of these recently for well under what I expected it would cost.  They've got some good wear and tear to them, which fine, they came in at about 25% of what I thought I may be on the hook for.  I'll trade condition issues for price issues any day.

I've also picked up these seven cards in the last month.  The result being I am now two cards away from completing the 1953 Topps set.  I still need to add #244 Willie Mays and #273 Harvey Haddix.  I knew the Willie would likely be the last card I needed, but I'd be lying if I said ever really gave the Haddix a second thought.  Lately that card has been demanding north of $50.  When I started building this set, $5 was my target price for high number commons.  Then I reluctantly moved it up to $10, and for the last year or so I've been trying to keep it under $20, which has really sucked a lot of the joy out of it.  I'm not sure what the deal is with the Haddix, but I'm going to patiently wait it out.  It's going to be awhile before I cough up the ransom the Willie is demanding too.  I went from hoping to getting one for under $100 ten years ago, to just hoping it drops down to below $500 again when this market inevitably crashes back to earth.  Thank god I picked up a chewed up copy of the Mantle when I did about nine years ago or I'd never complete this thing.

The 1953 set isn't very big at just 274 cards.  It's numbered to #280, but six cards were never printed.  Which left me with a delimma.  Do I leave blank spaces in the sleeves, just fill in the cards and skip the missing numbers, or come up with something else?  I came up with something else.

For decades people have speculated who the missing cards were.  Stan Musial, Ted Williams, Richie Ashburn, and Nellie Fox have long been popular theories.  About eight years ago the mystery was solved by Bob Lemke and Keith Olbermann by going through old internal Topps memos and vault.  The truth turned out to be far less exciting.  Art had actually been commissioned for five of the players and they were able to locate that as well.  "Bobw" took that info and made up some mock ups on his blog, and also came up with his own art for the Hoot Evers, by using the art from the '52 Hoot Evers Bowman, and photoshopping in a Redsox "B" in place of the Detroit "B" on the original Bowman.  He really did great work and hopefully doesn't mind me printing these off.  I only added "never printed" banners to them before printing them up.  The result is below:

I didn't notice until after printing them, but a few of the numbers were actually wrong.  I went ahead and fixed them with a sharpie, as I'm not much of a custom card creator and just getting these six out the way they are very much pushed my patience to the limit.  I also forgot to add a "never printed" banner to the Billy Cox card front, so that got sharpie treatment as well.  In the end, they're good enough though and had the desired effect in the 3-ring binder where I sleeve the set.

A final point to make with these 53's, is that people are putting WAY too much emphasis on the alleged SP/DP distribution within the high numbers.  The simple version is this, there are no double or short prints in the traditional sense.  While the final print run of 80 cards in the high series wasn't printed evenly, it wasn't 2 to 1 either.  It was likely more of a 2 to 3 ratio further watered down by a few of the SP's being used to fill in for the six cards that were pulled from production and never produced.  Which is all to say, people are grossly over paying/charging for percieved SP's that really aren't all that short-printed.  Harvey Haddix I'm looking at you.

This information is all thanks to George Vrecheck.  Vrecheck did an incredible amount of research for an article in Sports Cards Collector's Digest back in 2015, going so far as to study miscut cards to determine the actual layouts of all the uncut sheets, something that had previously been unknown.  If you're a vintage set builder, it's 19 pages of pure card nerd and math nerd bliss.  

As it stands for me, I'll keep Haddix and Mays saved in my eBay searches and hope for a miracle, but for now, I'm more or less done with this set.  Rather than tackling a new vintage set, I think I may try to build the first series, or 100 cards or so, in every set from 1955-69.  This is a much more economical option than trying to actually build all of those sets, and I like the idea of having a run of sets where at least the ten or so pages in the binders are filled out.  We'll see.

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Ottawa, Ontario

The contents of this envelope sent by Angus from Ottawa, make up one of the more unique batches of cards I've ever been sent.  By my count it's the fourth time Angus has sent cards.  Envelopes from Canada often contain fun groups of cards with O-Pee-Chee and Leaf frequently being included.  This still stood out from the crowd.  The 2003 Donruss Expos card is only my second copy.  I picked up my first one in 2013 and it was one of the tougher Wallach cards I've ever tried to track down that wasn't one of those individually numbered variations, which I only consider to be quasi-unique as far as cards go.  The Stuarts are also less than common as far Wallach cards go with the pair in this mailing representing only my 8th and 9th copies of the card.

Thanks for the cards Angus!

Updated Totals:

Monday, July 11, 2022

2019 Topps Archives Expos 50th "Green Variation" #/99

Card Review: 6.6  As far as I'm concerned this is more or less the same card as every other color variation it comes in, with foil stamping above the "EX" in "EXPOS" being the only change.  I guess if Topps is going to take the time to put these out in different colors I'll take the time to give them different grades.  This green comes in below the red and blue and just above the silver for me.

This card represents a rare instance of my first copy being acquired by a way of a reader sending me cards.  It arrived with a package from West Seneca, NY (thanks Brian!) a couple months ago.  It's probably only the 3rd or 4th time that's ever happened, and it may be few than that.

I've already written about this card on six other occasions as this is now the seventh variation of it that I've acquired.  How many variations do you modern collector's need to be happy?  This is absurd.  So if you're really interested in my thoughts on it, go ahead and click this link to the other six reviews.


Number of this card in my collection: 1 (98 more to go)

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Coralville, IA

This was sent recently by Matt of Coralville, Iowa.  It's at least the third time I've received a mailing from Matt (and could be more than that).  I'm not sure whether or not to call this "Hit the Books" bookmark a card.  I've seen these bookmarks pop on eBay and other sites for years, but have never actually purchased one.  This is in fact my first copy of these to make it's way into my collection.  Being the first one I've obtained, I haven't yet had to make the call on the "card/not a card" issue.  I'm inclined to say "not a card," but that doesn't mean I'm not happy to have one.  It's actually very nice to finally have one and is made even nicer by the fact that it was sent by a reader.  I'll do a formal post for the book mark soon and will make the final call then (the post the bookmark or post the mailing debate was already decided in favor of the mailing, as you may have deduced on your own by now).

Thanks so much for sending this my way Matt.

Sunday, May 15, 2022

West Seneca, NY


This extremely large offering of 316 Wallach cards was sent to me by Brain of West Seneca, New York.  West Seneca is a new addition to my map of where cards have been sent from.  While the city of Buffalo is not represented, it's now flanked by suburb of West Seneca to the south and Niagra Falls to the North.

This a diverse and interesting set of cards that Brian sent.  It covers the entire run of Wallach's there is to be found ranging from 1982 Fleer all the way through the 2019 Topps Archives and is also a healthy mix of standard junk was and less common odd balls.  The 65 copies of 1987 Topps is about as ordinary as it gets (albeit, it's unusual to receive that many copies at once) and also includes rarely sent cards like the 1986 Provigo and 1991 O-Pee-Chee (1st I've added since 2015), as well as modern "manufactured scarcity" like the Green variant of 2019 Topps Archives individually numbered out of 99.  That card is actually one I didn't previously own.  I'm not a huge enthusiast for the the forty different variations of cards that Topps puts out.  My feeling is the base card is the "real" card and everything else is just a gimmick that no one will remember in another 20 years.  That said, I'm always extremely pleased to add new cards when I can.

For good measure Brian also tossed in a 2021 Topps Chad Wallach.  Thanks for the cards Brian!

Updated Totals:

1982 Fleer: 458
1982 Topps x5: 1,247
1983 Topps: 409
1984 Donruss x3: 189
1984 Fleer x3: 189
1984 Topps x9: 1,239
1985 Donruss x4: 150
1985 Leaf x4: 49
1985 Topps: 485
1986 Donruss x3: 174
1986 Fleer x3: 176
1986 Provigo: 31
1986 Topps x2: 478
1986 Topps All-Star: 741
1987 Donruss: 481
1987 Donruss Opening Day: 60
1987 Fleer: 247
1987 Sportflics: 51
1987 Topps x65: 1,116
1988 Donruss All-Star x5: 61
1988 Fleer x4: 325
1988 Fleer Star Stickers x2: 87
1988 Jiffy Pop: 3
1988 O-Pee-Chee Super Star: 8
1988 Score: 329
1988 Topps x3: 851
1988 Topps All-Star x3: 895
1988 Topps Mini Leader x3: 42
1989 Bowman x5: 196
1989 Donruss x3: 527
1989 Donruss Opening Day x2: 32
1989 Fleer x5: 459
1989 K-Mart x3: 70
1989 Topps x4: 933
1990 Bowman: 139
1990 Donruss x5: 551
1990 Donruss Opening Day x2: 17
1990 Fleer x3: 515
1990 Fleer Award Winners: 12
1990 Score x4: 370
1990 Topps x2: 681
1990 Upper Deck x4: 370
1991 Bowman x3: 86
1991 Donruss: 362
1991 Donruss MVP x3: 358
1991 Fleer x3: 227
1991 Fleer Ultra x2: 105
1991 O-Pee-Chee: 4
1991 Score x4: 311
1991 Score "The Franchise" x3: 264
1991 Score Super Star: 23
1991 Stadium Club x3: 154
1991 Studio x3: 103
1991 Topps: 334
2019 Topps Archives "Green": 1  (It's my 1st copy!!!)

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Peoria, IL

These 206 cards were sent by regular contributor Tom of Peoria, Illinois.  Tom is involved with the "Saints Prison Ministry."  They visit penitentiaries and attempt to reach out to people through sports rather than just preaching.  You can click the images below to learn more about what they do.

Thanks for the cards Tom!

Updated Totals: