Saturday, December 2, 2023

Toronto, Ontario


These seven cards were sent by Scott of Toronto, Ontario.  You can follow Scott on Twitter @RandomJaysStuff  Included in the lot was a 2014 Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Card.  It's the first copy of that I've added since they were issued back in 2014.  That's nearly a decade without seeing one.  Thanks for the cards Scott!

Updated Totals:

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Portland, Oregon

These 7 cards were sent by Kerry of Portland, Oregon.  Kerry has been a pretty regular contributor going all the way back to 2016. 

You can check out Kerry's blog "Cards on Cards" by clicking the image below:

As aways, thanks for the cards Kerry, they're greatly appreciated.

Updated Totals:

Saturday, November 4, 2023

Chalfont, PA

This card was sent by P.K. of Chalfont, Pennsylvania.  My records, flawed they may be, show that P.K. last sent cards back in August of 2020.  So it's nice to hear from him again.  If you're not already following P.K. on twitter, you should give him a follow @pksteinberg 

As much as I love the 1987 Topps Tim Wallach card, it's in my top 3-5 favorite Wallach cards, the stationary P.K. included was actually of more interest to me.  Check it out below:

Probably the most interesting stationary I've received since starting this blog.

Thanks for the card PK!

Updated Total:

1987 Topps: 1,162

Saturday, September 9, 2023

Sunday Edition - 2023 Topps Factory Set.


2023 Topps Factory Set

For the 4th year in a row I opted to buy a factory set rather than build the Topps set by hand through packs (and trades/sportlots).  This is also the 7th time in 8 years I've bought a set rather than attempting a hand build, with 2018 being the lone exception.  This cost me $59 at Target, less the 5% "red card" discount.  I would have spent 4 to 5 times that amount trying to build it by hand, and that's if I was even able to find packs, which I usually can't.

I bought two packs of Series 1 this year when they first showed up in my Target, which was about a month after the set was officially released and all the Twitter dudes were posting pictures of pulls that are apparently incredibly rare, super special, and quite exciting to some.  The packs weren't even regular packs, they were essentially cello packs, but they came in a large cardboard box.  I guess that takes up less space than the traditional rack pack, but more than just a box of cello packs would.  I don't know the purpose, but that's the way it is now.  Perhaps to protect the cards, which if true, is a ridiculous and unnecessary waste given that they’re you know, just baseball cards.

 I actually really liked what I saw upon first opening cards from this set.  The photography across the board is great, and I like the design with the 2nd photo on the front.  Besides the obvious throwback to '83/'84 Topps, it reminds me of the '54, '55, and '56 sets that I've been focusing on the last few years.  In a perfect world I would have built this by hand.  But I just can't justify the expense.

The two "cello" packs I bought set me back way too much.  On top of that, they were loaded with inserts.  I don't care for inserts.  A stick of gum and contest card for a trip to the All-Star game is fine.  Even the old Fleer "Pro-Vision" and "All-Star" sets, or the old Donruss MVP's or Topps Glossy All-Stars were fine.  Fun little additions to compliment the set, and easily obtainable.  But anything that requires odds on a wrapper is ridiculous.  I know where to buy scratch off lottery tickets if that's the thrill I'm looking for.  But I digress.  Even if there was a steady supply of packs to buy in my local stores, I can't bring myself to throw $20 at the effort every time I go to target when that money can be thrown at vintage set builds instead.  I've yet to regret going the factory set route, and felt further validated this year by the fact that Series 2 has yet to show up in my area.  

I complain, because I do miss buying packs of cards.  A few packs at a time over the summer and slowly building the set.  It was fun, it was relaxing, it made me a more knowledgeable baseball fan because I ended up reading and studying the backs of the cards a lot more.  But I doubt those days are coming back any time soon.  The "breakers," the speculators, the youtubers, and their ilk currently drive the trends.  And to them, base cards are just the packaging to protect the latest "rare" gem to be pulled and cased away in a $100 top loader with 90's computer font heading inside a red rectangle that you can't open. (Is a 1/1 really “1/1” if a player gets dozens of them every year for over a decade?) Which is a shame, especially in years like this one when Topps really did put out a great looking set.  So I'm going to stop complaining for the rest of the post (or mostly stop) and bring some attention to some things I really like about this years set.

"Cardboard Curtain Call"

This is the first page in the binder, and as a set builder, one I really appreciate.  I'm flat out not a Yadier Molina fan, I don't care for his act, and see him as a poor man's Jorge Posada.  But there's no denying that he's had a great career and my personal dislike aside, I think he belongs in the Hall of Fame.  Pujols speaks for himself.  It's nice to see Topps put these two stars together on the front page with a literal curtain call.  Well done Topps.


Topps really hit the ground running when it came to numbering.  While I prefer the old system of "glamour" cards with every card ending in a zero being a star, or semi star, Topps still did some nice things with the numbers this year.  Look at page 3 below, cards #19-27:

Seven of the nine players on this page, with exception of Trent Grisham and Max Scherzer, have a jersey number that matches the card number.  I question why Topps didn't run with this a little more than they did, but given the state of the base set, I'm counting this as a win. Little things like this keep me coming back.  Card #62 in the set made me much happier than it probably should have, but again, I'm easily pleased when I'm not whining about inserts and grading.

Just awesome, well done Topps.  It's nice to know someone working there may in fact still be an actual fan of baseball and it's history.  Which I guess should be clear from the fact that they still put full career stats on cards.  It'll never stop being impressive to me, to flip over the card of a long time veteran and see the small font of a decade or more of excellence.  Which brings me to;

Full Career Stats on the Back


"Fun Cards"

At the end of the day, it's just fun to go through these cards.  Sure, it's more fun to pull them from packs, but this giant pack of 660 cards with no duplicates still captures that feeling to a degree.  Here's a look at some of the cards that caught my eye.

Once again Topps issued two Ohtani cards, one in each series, one with pitching stats, one with batting.  I don't have a problem with this.  I'm not part of the "Ohtani is the greatest thing to ever happen to baseball" crowd, but I have eyes and can read a box score.  He's incredible, and more than worthy of two cards.  If I were in charge, I'd probably put the pitching stats on the batting photo card, and batting stats on the pitching photo card, just to emphasize the point.  I also would have used a different head shot in the corner, but this is just nitpicking a well executed idea by Topps.  And may be a moot point now, but in my dream scenario, Rob Manfred and John Fisher both go to jail, the A’s stay in Oakland, and the new commissioner bans the DH in both leagues, at which point Topps starts doing batting cards for pitchers who hit well.  Maybe not every year, but cycle through a couple every season, maybe in the Traded set at the end of the year.  Who wouldn’t have like to see Kershaw or Grienke batting stats every few seasons, or Gooden and Fernando back in their day?

I'll never stop loving an obvious air brushing.  Hopefully technology doesn't get to the point where we're denied this long time tradition and staple of the Topps baseball card sets.

Old familiar guys in strange new uniforms is another staple of the Topps set that never stops being a slight jolt to the brain when I see one for the first time.  I find this Jose Abreu particularly tough to process.

Voit is destined to be an all-timer when it comes to dropping irrelevant baseball trivia over beers, and Topps cards with their italicized career stats have long been a great source of those sorts of trivia tidbits.  The list of New York Yankees to lead the American League in home runs includes the likes of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle and of course,...Luke Voit.  That'll forever be a funny fact.

Due to my age I mostly associate these multi-player star cards with the Fleer sets of the 1980's, but Topps has been doing it too going back to 1957.  It's nice to see it continue.

Great players deserve great looking baseball cards, as evidenced by this year's Mookie Betts.  Who wants a boring card of their favorite player?  Well done here Topps.

Like every other baseball fan with a pulse, I love the way this kid plays the game, and this card does about as well as a 2.5 x 3.5 piece of glossy cardboard can at capturing that energy.


I like seeing rookies get nice looking rookie cards.  Granted, these three above aren't likely to be "one-hit wonders" as far as appearing in Topps sets, a lot of guys end up only having one card.  While players today have no doubt seen there face on cardboard a half dozen times or more before they show up in a Topps set, I still believe this is a big deal.  It's the first card that resonates with non-collector's.  At risk of annoying some of you, I don't think any one cares about a "First Bowman," or whatever that set is called, I know I don't.  These are three rookie cards the families' of these kids can be proud to pass out to friends and co-workers.

I'm not sure if it's mandated by the MLBPA, if not it should be, but no set is complete without a couple "Gerald Young cards" these days.   

A handful of random cards that caught my eye as nice ones.  I'd be remiss not to mention that this years "Future Stars" banner leaves a little to be desired, but I'd rather Topps use one I don't like than not use one at all.

A final point about this set, and the Topps set in general, it's just a good excuse to talk baseball.  So I have a little rant I want to get out now since it's my blog and no one can tell me I can't.  Until he was released last week, Harrison Bader held the title of "My Favorite Yankee."  Which through no fault of Bader speaks poorly of Brian Cashman.  A fact that seems to be somehow lost to time is the fact that the Yankee rosters that won four World Series from 1996-2000, were built by Harding Peterson and Bob Watson.  Cashman took over the GM job in 1998, but seems to get all the credit for the teams that actually built that dynasty.  In the last 20 years he's won the same number of World Series as the White Sox and Royals despite more or less having an unlimited budget for most of that time.  He needs to go.

PSA on Ultra Pro Pages

I accidently bought 9 pocket pages that have a "flap" that folds over the top of each row in the page.  This was an enormous blunder, but I was too excited to start sleeving these cards to go out and get the proper pages.  These flap pages don't look as nice as the regular ones, and are difficult to get the cards into.  It took me twice as long to get this set into pages as it usually does, and that was with just tucking the flap behind the card.  I'd still be at it if I was actually trying to pull the flap over.

Not a knock on Ultra Pro pages, they're the only one's I'll use.  I'd just recommend skipping the flap pages.

Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Oceanside, NY

These 5 cards were sent by "Bo" of Oceanside, New York.  By my count this is at least the 7th time that Bo has sent cards, making him one of the more regular contributors to this blog.  That '94 Upper Deck is of the "Electric Diamond" variety.  The '95 Stadium Club is the standard base card, but given that there are seven different variations of it, seeing the standard base card is almost more unusual than seeing one of the other asinine half dozen variants.

Also, bonus point to Bo for using the Yogi Berra stamp.

Thanks for the cards Bo!

Updated Totals:

Thursday, August 10, 2023

2009 Upper Deck 1989 20th Anniversary Buyback #102


Card Review: 9.2  I'm grading this card slightly lower than I graded the 1989 Upper Deck base card due to the foil (hologram) stamping on the front.  I understand the "20th Anniversary" stamp on the front is what makes this a different card, but from a design perspective, it's not an improvement.  At least it covers up the catcher a little (I think it's Joe Girardi, could also be Damon Berryhill or maybe Jody Davis?), and I've always felt this card could have been cropped a little better.  Either show more of the catcher, or none at all UD.  I guess I'm the only person in the hobby who complains about the photography on '89 UD.

That last sentence sort of sums up why I'm not a huge fan of "buybacks" and don't really view them as "new" or "unique" cards.  This is an 1989 Upper Deck.  That's objectively true.  It's just been altered.  All the online data bases catalog it as a "unique" card from 2019, so I will too, but it doesn't feel honest.  To me it's just a gimmick.  But I'm a slave to my collection, so if it's listed as a "unique" card, I'm going to pick them up when they become available at a reasonable price.

Speaking of adding "new" cards, this is the first new Wallach card post since 2019, when Topps included something like 20 different versions of the same Wallach card as an insert in their Archives set.  The "Green" non-autographed version was the last one I picked up and posted.  The last time I added a Wallach card after the year it was issued, was way back in in July of 2017 when I picked up my first copy of the 1991 Panini French sticker.  For the first few years of this blog, it was almost entirely post like this, now they're few and far between.

I'll be reluctantly counting this as my first copy of this card, rather than my 301st copy of 1989 Upper Deck (which if you were to carbon date it, I'm confident you'd find it is).  As for this buyback "set," I couldn't find much on it.  They were inserted in packs back in 2009.  I don't what packs.  I don't really care.  I don't know how many there are, if they were done for every card in the '89 UD set, just the '89 UD set minus the high numbers, or just for the superstars.  The most informative information I could find on these was from a Rickey Henderson blog, and they didn't seem to know much about them either.  I don't see too many of these pop up on eBay, and when they do, they're usually what I deem to be wildly overpriced.  When this one appeared recently at on only a slightly grossly overpriced "buy it now" option, I went ahead and added it. Feel free to provide any additional information you may have on them in the comments.

Number of this card in my collection: 1

Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Mansfield, TX

 This pair of cards was sent by Tom of Mansfield, Texas.  Tom has been sending me cards for over a decade now, first sending cards back in 2013, making him one of the first people to do so.  The 1990 Donruss design is one that would lend itself well to multiple colors.  While I have strong sentimental feelings towards the basic red design of the set, I think it would have worked very well with a large variety of colors matched to team colors.

Thanks for the cards Tom!

Updated Totals:

1990 Donruss Baseball's Best: 20

1990 Upper Deck: 394

While you're here, go ahead and check out Tom's blog "Angels in Order"

Monday, July 31, 2023

Forest Hills, NY

These 28 cards were sent by Oren of Forest Hills, New York.  The obvious attention grabber of this grouping of cards are the two up top in the fancy "Topps Archives" cases.  Here the are again, for a better look at them:


Before I dive into anything on these two cards, let me first and foremost say Thank You! to Oren.  I see these, or at least other Wallach's in these cases with the red Archives sticker, pop up on eBay with some regularity and I know they aren't cheap and they tend to sell.  So I fully appreciate how generous it was of Oren to send them, and I am very happy to add them to my collection.  I do however have some thoughts on this Topps creation that I feel like sharing.

I've never paid for one of these, or in the alternative, I've paid for over a 1,000 copies of the 1984 card on the left.  My belief is that these are copies of a 1984 Topps and a 1986 Topps All-Star.  I know the online databases catalog them as 2019 Topps Archives Signature Series, I just don't agree with that.  Topps printed these cards in 1984 and 1986.  They were issued, and presumably, pulled from packs back then.  Any after market alterations to them don't make them "new" cards, they're just altered.  That doesn't mean they're not cool, or fun to collect, it's just not something I necessarily buy into.  If it was a company other than Topps doing it, they'd probably be ignored completely by collectors.  On the other hand, if it was Matt Groening, Todd McFarlan, or Banksy adding personalized doodles to the front of the card, they'd be even more collectable.  They just wouldn't be a "new" baseball card.

But again, I'm happy to add them, and I'm going to leave them in these cases because I do find them to be pretty cool.  It's just not a line that I feel the need to collect in order to have every unique Wallach card, because as far as I'm concerned these aren't "new" or "unique."  

For now, I'm not including these in updated totals below.  My gut is to just count them as '84 and '86 Topps and keep it simple.  But my OCD feels the need to keep in step with the Baseball Card Database which list them as 2019 products.  I'm going to have to think about it.

Thanks again Oren!

Updated Totals: