Category Archives: bdj610’s Topps Baseball

So Here’s What’s Been Happening While I’ve Been Gone

On Tuesday, I bought my 2015 Topps Pro Debut set, a 200-card Minor League Baseball card set, for $39.00. That was before a $5.00 discount was applied (that eBay put on my bill, I didn’t click on anything, it was just there). After clearing it with the seller, I wound up paying $34.00 for the set.

The set arrived on Friday, and after reading through 200 biographies of players who are now rookies in 2015 and those biding their time, waiting for a shot at the big leagues, I placed the cards in sheets. I now am the proud owner of every Topps Pro Debut set since the Company was awarded the license to produce MiLB cards in 2010. It’s a nice supplement to the basic set as Topps incorporates that year’s eponymous (there’s that word again) design with minor league team logos.

These are the real prospect cards as they feature players in their minor league uniforms, with all of the great minor league team names (Tin Cups, Chihuahuas, Ports). These are the ones that actually count as base set cards. Those Bowman Chrome Prospect cards that a handful of collectors still believe are Rookie Cards (because they depict the player in the clothes of their big league affiliates)? They’re not rookie cards. They’re inserts. That’s what they’ve been since 2006. It’s easy to say, “get over it,” but it’s been 10 baseball card seasons since the big overhaul. If you the collector haven’t by now, you never will, and that philosophy will never go away, so no sense in arguing about it.

I noticed something different about these cards compared to their major league counterparts.

They’re not completely glossy.

Only the player depicted on the card and the border is covered in gloss. The rest of the picture (the background) is matte finished. Okay, so you can’t tell based on the scans, but look at them up close, and you’ll see what I mean.

Not since 1997 Topps have I seen anything like this (I’m guessing).

Coming into today (June 8, 2015). Twenty-four players in this set have already made their major league debuts, and a 25th is making his MLB debut tonight (Carlos Correa of the Houston Astros). That’s 1/8th of the players in this set. Most, if not all, will eventually show up with major league cards in either Series 2 (which is coming soon…excited yet??!) and the Update Series (with 400 cards in this set…they better…more about that later).

In the mean time, the Royals have seven players leading the 2015 All-Star Game balloting. Do you think the commissioner is going to step in? It’s like 1957 all over again, when fans of the Reds (who coincidentally are hosting this year’s gig) placed seven of their players as starters but were over-ridden by Ford Frick.

I’m still biding my time, but the goal is by the All-Star Game that I’ll have the Series 2 cards and the Team Sets in hand and in binders. You know how it is around here during All-Star season (which runs from when the rosters are announced until the end of the game).

There is one more thing I want to write about, but I need to double check with the guys running it first before I can make the announcement here. They may have already made their announcement, but I haven’t seen anything yet. Without spoiling anything, let’s just say that if you’re wondering why the Baseball Card Cyber Museum hasn’t included images of the 2015 Topps Cards, Joe has them, but…

That’s it for now. Time to go online and do some price comparisons.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

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 baseball-reference.com’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.

Sincerely,

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.)

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 there…trust 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!!!

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

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.

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…

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

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!

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Let the Bryant-Mania Begin

(Before I begin, I’d like to take a moment to say thanks and God Bless Francis Cardinal George, who passed away this morning due to complications to cancer. Rest in Peace, Your Eminence.)

In 2010, we had Strasburg Mania.

In 2012, it was Harper Mania.

Today, in 2015, it is time for Bryant Mania!!!

Since Theo and company took over the baseball operations of the Cubs, they have been able to stockpile a number of very prospects. And these last two seasons (well, really since the second half of the 2014 season), we have seen the arrival of heralded players such as Javier Baez (okay, so he’s in the minors…for now), Jorge Soler, Arismendy Alcantara, and before the end of this year (or in the near future), we’ll probably see the likes of Addison Russell, and Kyle Schwarber.

But today, on Friday, April 17, 2015, the most heralded of all of the Cubs’ prospects will make his major league debut.

If you haven’t heard his name by now, meet Kris Bryant!

That’s right, the guy who’s Bowman card has been in the news lately for being sold for a mere $90,000 plus dollars, stepped onto a major league ballfield for the very first time today.

How did he do?

0-4 with three strikeouts (all swinging, all against James Shields) in a 5-4 loss.

Eh, can’t win them all. Even Mike Trout went 0-3 in his MLB debut.

He did have a few dazzling defensive plays, which is amazing considering that it was his defense that they were concerned about.

Okay, so what about cards??!

While certain collectors, okay, many collectors, went insane over Topps’ treatment over the Washington Nationals’ duo (super short-printed cards, variations up the wazoo in Series 2 and other places, mega-short-printed autograph cards), it looks like Topps has been preparing for this moment, and it looks like Bryant’s first Topps cards will be appearing in earnest.

According to the Number One Source in the Hobby, and confirmed by Topps’ Facebook page, Bryant’s cards will:

  • show up on a  prospect base (meaning INSERT!!!) card in 2015 Bowman Baseball (as scheduled). There will be inserts and autographed insert cards to chase,
  • (hopefully) have autographed cards as part of 2015 Tier One Baseball (hopefully, because they won’t be packed out, but redemption cards will),
  • be rushed into 2015 Topps Finest Baseball as card No. 111, one of the short-printed base cards, and there will be autograph cards here as well,
  • be getting the Harper treatment for his Rookie Cards in Topps Archives (limited base cards and autographs),
  • appear in Topps Series 2 Baseball which releases in June. No indication has been made as to if it will be another SSP card, but based on how early it is in the season, there should be no reason as to why he won’t be included in the base set and not card #701,
  • be added to this year’s edition of Stadium Club, Allen & Ginter’s and Topps Chrome.

Okay, he’s here now. He’s gotten his first game out of the way. Let the Hobby riots begin.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

    2015 Topps The Jackie Robinson Story

    In amongst all of the cards Topps included in packs of 2015 Topps Series 1 was a ten-card set featuring Hall of Fame second baseman Jackie Robinson. These cards were exclusively included in packs sold at Target stores across the country. These were beautifully done, and gives collectors a brief biography of this great man’s life before, during, and after his playing career.

    It was a historic day in baseball history when Jackie Robinson took the field for the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1945, tabbed by manager Clyde Sukeforth to be the first baseman that day against the Boston Braves, batting second in the lineup. In four plate appearances, Robinson was 0-3, reaching on a throwing error and scoring a run in the 7th inning before being replaced by Howie Schultz in the ninth. The Dodgers went on to beat the Braves 5-3.

    It would be the first of 1382 regular season games he would take part in, all from 1947-1956. He finished the ’47 campaign with a .297 average, 12 home runs, 48 rbi’s, an OPS of .810, and led the NL with 29 stolen bases. He was named Rookie of the Year, and finished 5th in MVP voting.

    All this, while becoming the first black player in MLB’s modern era.

    It is because of him that the door to playing in the major leagues was blasted open, allowing players of all races in the game. While many of the veterans of the Negro Leagues would sadly not get a chance to play in either the National or American Leagues, it is because of the courage of Robinson (and Larry Doby to follow) that we would eventually know the names of Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Ernie Banks, Frank Robinson, et. al. By the time Pumpsie Green debuted for the Red Sox over 12 years later, all 16 major league teams finally integrated.

    But I digress.

    Today, as it has been done since Ken Griffey Jr. first asked Commissioner Bud Selig in 2007 if he could on this day, all major league players, coaches, and managers will be wearing the number 42. Now the number was retired in perpetuity in 1997, with only the handful of players who were currently wearing the number being allowed to have it if they chose going forward. When Mariano Rivera retired in 2013, no active player in the majors (and the minors for that matter) would be allowed to wear 42 on a regular basis moving forward.

    So today, as you’re all finishing up your tax forms, raise a glass to Mr. Robinson. The game was forever changed for the better because of the courage he displayed on and off the field during a very difficult time in American history.

    Thank you.

    Sincerely,

    James B. Anama

    Reports of 2015 Topps Team Sets are Showing Up on the Bay

    When the Cardinals/Cubs game was rained out on Tuesday, reports came out that fans who did show up bought Cubs cards for the players to sign. The thing was that these did not have the regular card numbers, but CHC-1, CHC-2, etc.

    That could only mean one thing…

    The 2015 Topps Retail sets are now live!!!

    After checking the bay, team sets are showing up thanks to a couple of sellers that I have bought from in the past. When I get a bit of cash next month, I’ll probably take a shot at them. In the past, both sellers have offered all 32 team sets in an auction. I don’t know if they’ll do them this year, but you never know.

    The number one source in the Hobby has been kind enough to post checklists for both the Athletics and Padres cards that I did not have before, so without further ado, here are the checklists:

    Oakland Athletics

    • OA-1 Sonny Gray
    • OA-2 Coco Crisp
    • OA-3 Brett Lawrie
    • OA-4 Sean Doolittle
    • OA-5 Sam Fuld
    • OA-6 Jesse Chavez
    • OA-7 Ben Zobrist
    • OA-8 Scott Kazmir
    • OA-9 Stephen Vogt
    • OA-10 Drew Pomeranz
    • OA-11 Josh Reddick
    • OA-12 Eric Sogard
    • OA-13 Marcus Semien
    • OA-14 Ike Davis
    • OA-15 Dan Otero
    • OA-16 Tyler Clippard
    • OA-17 Billy Butler

    San Diego Padres

    • SDP-1 Matt Kemp
    • SDP-2 Alexi Amarista
    • SDP-3 Andrew Cashner
    • SDP-4 Will Middlebrooks
    • SDP-5 Jedd Gyorko
    • SDP-6 Justin Upton
    • SDP-7 Ian Kennedy
    • SDP-8 Tommy Medica
    • SDP-9 Carlos Quentin
    • SDP-10 Wil Myers
    • SDP-11 Rymer Liriano
    • SDP-12 Cory Spangenberg
    • SDP-13 Yonder Alonso
    • SDP-14 Yangervis Solarte
    • SDP-15 Tyson Ross
    • SDP-16 Derek Norris
    • SDP-17 Joaquin Benoit

    It’s going to be a long month. But I know it will be worth it.

    Sincerely,

    JayBee Anama

    Opening Day is Here!!!

    It’s Easter Sunday. He Has Risen!!!

    A month of spring training games have now whittled the rosters down to 25 players each (plus those on the DL, of course). This is it. Every prognosticator has made their choices as to who will win it all, but the games aren’t played on paper. They’re played on the diamond.

    And tonight, the first of 2,430 games will be played, opening up another season of Major League Baseball!!!

    The 2015 season opens with the St. Louis Cardinals taking on the Chicago Cubs at beautiful, but still being renovated, Wrigley Field. The bleachers won’t be ready supposedly until June. And while modern technology has now started to take over the park (they now have a video board in left???), it still holds a lot of the charm and old-time feel the park has had in it’s 100+ year history.

    But enough about the field. Let’s get on to the more important issue. The I-55 rivalry starts in earnest. There’s no hiding here. Both teams have re-tooled for this year with off-season free agent signings and trades to supplement their rosters. We welcome Joe Maddon, Jon Lester, Miguel Montero, Jason Heyward, and others to the rivalry.

    Right now, everyone is even at 0-0. Time to play ball.

    Sincerely,

    JayBee Anama

    Happy Kazuo Uzuki Day!!!

    Let me just say that I love this card.

    It drives a certain Hobby blogger (now Twitter fiend) to the brink of insanity. But I think it’s great.

    Long story short, on the heels of Daisuke Matsuzaka, Topps decided to add a card of the next great Japanese pitching phenom. This kid named Kazuo Uzuki. The bio on the back of the card talks of a pitching prodigy who was so close to making that first Japanese team in the 2006 World Baseball Classic, but was prohibited by age. Here’s the full bio:

    Already being called “The Uzi” by some for his 104 MPH fastball, kaz will be the first japan-based high-schooler to jump straight to professional baseball in America when he graduates in 2009. “He is, hands down, the best pitching prospect I’ve seen in 30 years,” said one MLB scout. And one unnamed American League GM said, “The contract this kid is going to get will be astronomical.” At age fourteen, he was the youngest player invited to the WBC squad trials and – though he was cut on the last day – he made a lasting impression with his 17 Ks in 7 innings of work during intrasquad matches.

    What a prospect. No wonder Topps added his card to packs of their 2008 Topps Series 1 product.

    But wait.

    People started to guess that something was amiss.

    There was no information anywhere on a Kazuo Uzuki. Nothing online about this wunderkid. And for all of the accolades, you’d think someone would have heard of him.

    And that’s when things started to unravel.

    On April 1, 2008, Topps finally announced that this was an April Fool’s joke, less than two months after the product went live. And go figure. Kazuo Uzuki means “first son of April” (if Wikipedia is to be believed).

    It turns out that the Japanese pitching phenom was really a New York University law student named Sensen Lin (who, oh yeah, is Chinese). When he was interviewed by the Wall Street Journal Law Blog, he said he had summered with Ropes & Gray LLC. I went to check, and according to his LinkedIn profile, he’s been with the firm for six years now (and no, I’m not going to link his profile…are you kidding? Although, I may ask if I can add him as a connection…)

    So let’s raise a glass to Mr. Lin, who so graciously is now a part of cardboard lore.

    Happy April Fools’ Day everybody!!!

    Keep the pranks to a minimum, will you?

    Sincerely,

    JayBee Anama

    2015 Topps Team Set Preliminary Checklists

    As the 2015 MLB season is almost upon us, it is time for the writer of this humble, little blog, to do a bit of Internet searching. What for, you may ask?

    For any information regarding the 2015 Topps Retail Sets.

    In fact, last night I received a Twitter message from a guy named Edgar (@eg9413) asking:

    @eg9413: @bdj610 Any info on whether Topps is making the retail team sets for baseball this year?

    My response:

    @bdj610: @eg9413 I’ve been looking, info normally comes out just about now. As soon as I find anything, I’ll post online.

    Well, guess what I found this morning??!

    Images (if you want to call them that) and checklists of 30 of the 32 team sets for 2015 (for some reason, my source did not have any information for the Athletics nor the Padres).

    Yes, this is what the blister pack should look like for the team sets (which should match the color border of your team…most are blue, and there are some reds, some oranges, a purple for the Rockies and I’m thinking one green for the Athletics. No cards yet, but the checklists are worth a look.

    Please note that these are always subject to change:

    Arizona Diamondbacks

    • AD-1 Paul Goldschmidt
    • AD-2 Trevor Cahill
    • AD-3 Chris Owings
    • AD-4 Aaron Hill
    • AD-5 Jake Lamb
    • AD-6 Tuffy Gosewisch
    • AD-7 Patrick Corbin
    • AD-8 David Peralta
    • AD-9 Addison Reed
    • AD-10 Cody Ross
    • AD-11 A.J. Pollock
    • AD-12 Mark Trumbo
    • AD-13 Bronson Arroyo
    • AD-14 Jeremy Hellickson
    • AD-15 Daniel Hudson
    • AD-16 Josh Collmenter
    • AD-17 Brad Ziegler

    Atlanta Braves

    • AB-1 Freddie Freeman
    • AB-2 Shelby Miller
    • AB-3 Chris Johnson
    • AB-4 Alberto Callaspo
    • AB-5 Mike Minor
    • AB-6 James Russell
    • AB-7 Julio Teheran
    • AB-8 B.J. Upton
    • AB-9 Arodys Vizcaino
    • AB-10 Christian Bethancourt
    • AB-11 Zoilo Almonte
    • AB-12 Andrelton Simmons
    • AB-13 Nick Markakis
    • AB-14 Alex Wood
    • AB-15 Craig Kimbrel
    • AB-16 A.J. Pierzynski
    • AB-17 Jason Grilli

    Baltimore Orioles

    • BO-1 Adam Jones
    • BO-2 Alejandro De Aza
    • BO-3 Miguel Gonzalez
    • BO-4 Ubaldo Jimenez
    • BO-5 Zach Britton
    • BO-6 Darren O’Day
    • BO-7 Manny Machado
    • BO-8 Bud Norris
    • BO-9 Jonathan Schoop
    • BO-10 Steve Pearce
    • BO-11 J.J. Hardy
    • BO-12 Chris Davis
    • BO-13 Delmon Young
    • BO-14 Chris Tillman
    • BO-15 Wei-Yin Chen
    • BO-16 Tommy Hunter
    • BO-17 Caleb Joseph

    Boston Red Sox

    • BRS-1 Pablo Sandoval
    • BRS-2 David Ortiz
    • BRS-3 Christian Vazquez
    • BRS-4 Mike Napoli
    • BRS-5 Dustin Pedroia
    • BRS-6 Xander Bogaerts
    • BRS-7 Hanley Ramirez
    • BRS-8 Rusney Castillo
    • BRS-9 Mookie Betts
    • BRS-10 Wade Miley
    • BRS-11 Rick Porcello
    • BRS-12 Clay Buchholz
    • BRS-13 Joe Kelly
    • BRS-14 Justin Masterson
    • BRS-15 Koji Uehara
    • BRS-16 Junichi Tazawa
    • BRS-17 Matt Barnes

    Chicago Cubs

    • CHC-1 Anthony Rizzo
    • CHC-2 Junior Lake
    • CHC-3 Starlin Castro
    • CHC-4 Brian Schlitter
    • CHC-5 Travis Wood
    • CHC-6 Javier Baez
    • CHC-7 Jorge Soler
    • CHC-8 Miguel Montero
    • CHC-9 Mike Olt
    • CHC-10 Chris Coghlan
    • CHC-11 Dexter Fowler
    • CHC-12 Jon Lester
    • CHC-13 Jake Arrieta
    • CHC-14 Jason Hammel
    • CHC-15 Hector Rondon
    • CHC-16 Tsuyoshi Wada
    • CHC-17 Kyle Hendricks

    Chicago White Sox

    • CWS-1 Jose Abreu
    • CWS-2 Tyler Flowers
    • CWS-3 Conor Gillaspie
    • CWS-4 Alexei Ramirez
    • CWS-5 Adam Eaton
    • CWS-6 Zach Duke
    • CWS-7 Avisail Garcia
    • CWS-8 Melky Cabrera
    • CWS-9 Adam LaRoche
    • CWS-10 Chris Sale
    • CWS-11 Jeff Samardzija
    • CWS-12 David Robertson
    • CWS-13 Jose Quintana
    • CWS-14 John Danks
    • CWS-15 Gordon Beckham
    • CWS-16 Emilio Bonifacio
    • CWS-17 Javy Guerra

    Cincinnati Reds

    • CR-1 Joey Votto
    • CR-2 Tony Cingrani
    • CR-3 Daniel Corcino
    • CR-4 Zack Cozart
    • CR-5 Todd Frazier
    • CR-6 Devin Mesoraco
    • CR-7 Manny Parra
    • CR-8 Brandon Phillips
    • CR-9 Aroldis Chapman
    • CR-10 Marlon Byrd
    • CR-11 Billy Hamilton
    • CR-12 Jay Bruce
    • CR-13 Johnny Cueto
    • CR-14 Homer Bailey
    • CR-15 Skip Schumaker
    • CR-16 Mike Leake
    • CR-17 Anthony DeSclafani

    Cleveland Indians

    • CI-1 Corey Kluber
    • CI-2 Trevor Bauer
    • CI-3 Michael Bourn
    • CI-4 Lonnie Chisenhall
    • CI-5 Cody Allen
    • CI-6 David Murphy
    • CI-7 Carlos Santana
    • CI-8 Jason Kipnis
    • CI-9 Yan Gomes
    • CI-10 Jose Ramirez
    • CI-11 Michael Brantley
    • CI-12 Brandon Moss
    • CI-13 Nick Swisher
    • CI-14 Ryan Raburn
    • CI-15 Carlos Carrasco
    • CI-16 Danny Salazar
    • CI-17 Mike Aviles

    Colorado Rockies

    • COR-1 Troy Tulowitzki
    • COR-2 Charlie Blackmon
    • COR-3 Rex Brothers
    • COR-4 Corey Dickerson
    • COR-5 Tommy Kahnle
    • COR-6 Jordan Lyles
    • COR-7 Wilin Rosario
    • COR-8 Nolan Arenado
    • COR-9 Justin Morneau
    • COR-10 DJ LeMahieu
    • COR-11 Drew Stubbs
    • COR-12 Carlos Gonzalez
    • COR-13 Jorge De La Rosa
    • COR-14 Christian Bergman
    • COR-15 Tyler Matzek
    • COR-16 LaTroy Hawkins
    • COR-17 Jhoulys Chacin

    Detroit Tigers

    • DT-1 Miguel Cabrera
    • DT-2 Alex Avila
    • DT-3 Al Alburquerque
    • DT-4 Ian Kinsler
    • DT-5 J.D. Martinez
    • DT-6 Anibal Sanchez
    • DT-7 Jose Iglesias
    • DT-8 Yoenis Cespedes
    • DT-9 Joe Nathan
    • DT-10 Anthony Gose
    • DT-11 Nick Castellanos
    • DT-12 James McCann
    • DT-13 Steven Moya
    • DT-14 Joakim Soria
    • DT-15 Victor Martinez
    • DT-16 David Price
    • DT-17 Justin Verlander

    Houston Astros

    • HA-1 Jose Altuve
    • HA-2 Jason Castro
    • HA-3 Matt Dominguez
    • HA-4 Brett Oberholtzer
    • HA-5 Evan Gattis
    • HA-6 Jon Singleton
    • HA-7 Colby Rasmus
    • HA-8 Marwin Gonzalez
    • HA-9 Chris Carter
    • HA-10 Jed Lowrie
    • HA-11 Jake Marisnick
    • HA-12 George Springer
    • HA-13 Luke Gregerson
    • HA-14 L.J. Hoes
    • HA-15 Scott Feldman
    • HA-16 Dallas Keuchel
    • HA-17 Collin McHugh

    Kansas City Royals

    • KCR-1 Eric Hosmer
    • KCR-2 Jeremy Guthrie
    • KCR-3 Greg Holland
    • KCR-4 Alcides Escobar
    • KCR-5 Salvador Perez
    • KCR-6 Jason Vargas
    • KCR-7 Yordano Ventura
    • KCR-8 Brandon Finnegan
    • KCR-9 Omar Infante
    • KCR-10 Mike Moustakas
    • KCR-11 Alex Gordon
    • KCR-12 Lorenzo Cain
    • KCR-13 Kris Medlen
    • KCR-14 Kendrys Morales
    • KCR-15 Luke Hochevar
    • KCR-16 Wade Davis
    • KCR-17 Alex Rios

    Los Angeles Angels Of Anaheim

    • A-1 Mike Trout
    • A-2 Josh Rutledge
    • A-3 Josh Hamilton
    • A-4 Chris Iannetta
    • A-5 Garrett Richards
    • A-6 Matt Shoemaker
    • A-7 Erick Aybar
    • A-8 Jered Weaver
    • A-9 C.J. Wilson
    • A-10 Albert Pujols
    • A-11 Kole Calhoun
    • A-12 David Freese
    • A-13 Matt Joyce
    • A-14 Hector Santiago
    • A-15 Huston Street
    • A-16 C.J. Cron
    • A-17 Andrew Heaney

    Los Angeles Dodgers

    • LAD-1 Clayton Kershaw
    • LAD-2 Andre Ethier
    • LAD-3 Yimi Garcia
    • LAD-4 Adrian Gonzalez
    • LAD-5 Zack Greinke
    • LAD-6 A.J. Ellis
    • LAD-7 Carl Crawford
    • LAD-8 Brandon League
    • LAD-9 Joc Pederson
    • LAD-10 Yasiel Puig
    • LAD-11 Hyun-Jin Ryu
    • LAD-12 Yasmani Grandal
    • LAD-13 Jimmy Rollins
    • LAD-14 Howie Kendrick
    • LAD-15 Juan Uribe
    • LAD-16 Kenley Jansen
    • LAD-17 Brandon McCarthy

    Miami Marlins

    • MM-1 Giancarlo Stanton
    • MM-2 Steve Cishek
    • MM-3 Justin Bour
    • MM-4 Martin Prado
    • MM-5 Tom Koehler
    • MM-6 Bryan Morris
    • MM-7 Jarrod Saltalamacchia
    • MM-8 Carter Capps
    • MM-9 Christian Yelich
    • MM-10 Henderson Alvarez
    • MM-11 Adeiny Hechavarria
    • MM-12 Marcell Ozuna
    • MM-13 Jose Fernandez
    • MM-14 Dee Gordon
    • MM-15 Donovan Solano
    • MM-16 Michael Morse
    • MM-17 Mat Latos

    Milwaukee Brewers

    • MB-1 Ryan Braun
    • MB-2 Carlos Gomez
    • MB-3 Matt Garza
    • MB-4 Jean Segura
    • MB-5 Khris Davis
    • MB-6 Gerardo Parra
    • MB-7 Adam Lind
    • MB-8 Kyle Lohse
    • MB-9 Scooter Gennett
    • MB-10 Jonathan Lucroy
    • MB-11 Aramis Ramirez
    • MB-12 Jimmy Nelson
    • MB-13 Jonathan Broxton
    • MB-14 Wily Peralta
    • MB-15 Martin Maldonado
    • MB-16 Will Smith
    • MB-17 Mike Fiers

    Minnesota Twins

    • MT-1 Torii Hunter
    • MT-2 Brian Dozier
    • MT-3 Brian Duensing
    • MT-4 Eduardo Escobar
    • MT-5 Phil Hughes
    • MT-6 Ricky Nolasco
    • MT-7 Joe Mauer
    • MT-8 Glen Perkins
    • MT-9 Kurt Suzuki
    • MT-10 Trevor May
    • MT-11 Kennys Vargas
    • MT-12 Danny Santana
    • MT-13 Trevor Plouffe
    • MT-14 Josmil Pinto
    • MT-15 Aaron Hicks
    • MT-16 Oswaldo Arcia
    • MT-17 Ervin Santana

    New York Mets

    • NYM-1 David Wright
    • NYM-2 Lucas Duda
    • NYM-3 Dillon Gee
    • NYM-4 Curtis Granderson
    • NYM-5 Jenrry Mejia
    • NYM-6 Daniel Murphy
    • NYM-7 Matt Harvey
    • NYM-8 Zack Wheeler
    • NYM-9 Bartolo Colon
    • NYM-10 Juan Lagares
    • NYM-11 Dilson Herrera
    • NYM-12 Jon Niese
    • NYM-13 Wilmer Flores
    • NYM-14 Bobby Parnell
    • NYM-15 Travis d’Arnaud
    • NYM-16 Michael Cuddyer
    • NYM-17 Jacob deGrom

    New York Yankees

    • NYY-1 Masahiro Tanaka
    • NYY-2 Jacoby Ellsbury
    • NYY-3 Brett Gardner
    • NYY-4 Dellin Betances
    • NYY-5 Carlos Beltran
    • NYY-6 Stephen Drew
    • NYY-7 Brian McCann
    • NYY-8 Garrett Jones
    • NYY-9 Michael Pineda
    • NYY-10 Jose Pirela
    • NYY-11 Mark Teixeira
    • NYY-12 Bryan Mitchell
    • NYY-13 CC Sabathia
    • NYY-14 Nathan Eovaldi
    • NYY-15 Alex Rodriguez
    • NYY-16 Didi Gregorius
    • NYY-17 Chase Headley

    Oakland Athletics – Not found at this time.

    Philadelphia Phillies

    • PHP-1 Chase Utley
    • PHP-2 Domonic Brown
    • PHP-3 David Buchanan
    • PHP-4 Darin Ruf
    • PHP-5 Cole Hamels
    • PHP-6 Ryan Howard
    • PHP-7 Freddy Galvis
    • PHP-8 Jonathan Papelbon
    • PHP-9 Ben Revere
    • PHP-10 Carlos Ruiz
    • PHP-11 Cliff Lee
    • PHP-12 Maikel Franco
    • PHP-13 Cody Asche
    • PHP-14 Jerome Williams
    • PHP-15 Ken Giles
    • PHP-16 Grady Sizemore
    • PHP-17 Jake Diekman

    Pittsburgh Pirates

    • PIP-1 Andrew McCutchen
    • PIP-2 A.J. Burnett
    • PIP-3 Gregory Polanco
    • PIP-4 Josh Harrison
    • PIP-5 Starling Marte
    • PIP-6 Mark Melancon
    • PIP-7 Jordy Mercer
    • PIP-8 Charlie Morton
    • PIP-9 Neil Walker
    • PIP-10 Tony Watson
    • PIP-11 Vance Worley
    • PIP-12 Jeff Locke
    • PIP-13 Antonio Bastardo
    • PIP-14 Pedro Alvarez
    • PIP-15 Gerrit Cole
    • PIP-16 Francisco Cervelli
    • PIP-17 Francisco Liriano

    St. Louis Cardinals

    • SLC-1 Adam Wainwright
    • SLC-2 Jon Jay
    • SLC-3 Lance Lynn
    • SLC-4 Jason Heyward
    • SLC-5 Jhonny Peralta
    • SLC-6 Trevor Rosenthal
    • SLC-7 Michael Wacha
    • SLC-8 Matt Carpenter
    • SLC-9 Carlos Martinez
    • SLC-10 Matt Holliday
    • SLC-11 Yadier Molina
    • SLC-12 Matt Adams
    • SLC-13 Peter Bourjos
    • SLC-14 John Lackey
    • SLC-15 Kolten Wong
    • SLC-16 Jaime Garcia
    • SLC-17 Sam Freeman

    San Diego Padres – Not found at this time.

    San Francisco Giants

    • SFG-1 Madison Bumgarner
    • SFG-2 Brandon Belt
    • SFG-3 Joaquin Arias
    • SFG-4 Matt Cain
    • SFG-5 Santiago Casilla
    • SFG-6 Travis Ishikawa
    • SFG-7 Brandon Crawford
    • SFG-8 Joe Panik
    • SFG-9 Tim Hudson
    • SFG-10 Tim Lincecum
    • SFG-11 Hunter Pence
    • SFG-12 Buster Posey
    • SFG-13 Casey McGehee
    • SFG-14 Yusmeiro Petit
    • SFG-15 Andrew Susac
    • SFG-16 Angel Pagan
    • SFG-17 Gregor Blanco

    Seattle Mariners

    • SM-1 Robinson Cano
    • SM-2 Charlie Furbush
    • SM-3 Felix Hernandez
    • SM-4 Austin Jackson
    • SM-5 Dominic Leone
    • SM-6 Logan Morrison
    • SM-7 Fernando Rodney
    • SM-8 Kyle Seager
    • SM-9 Chris Young
    • SM-10 Mike Zunino
    • SM-11 Hisashi Iwakuma
    • SM-12 Dustin Ackley
    • SM-13 Roenis Elias
    • SM-14 Chris Taylor
    • SM-15 Justin Ruggiano
    • SM-16 Seth Smith
    • SM-17 Nelson Cruz

    Tampa Bay Rays

    • TBR-1 Evan Longoria
    • TBR-2 Alex Cobb
    • TBR-3 David DeJesus
    • TBR-4 Nick Franklin
    • TBR-5 Asdrubal Cabrera
    • TBR-6 James Loney
    • TBR-7 Chris Archer
    • TBR-8 John Jaso
    • TBR-9 Desmond Jennings
    • TBR-10 Rene Rivera
    • TBR-11 Jake McGee
    • TBR-12 Drew Smyly
    • TBR-13 Steven Souza Jr.
    • TBR-14 Kevin Kiermaier
    • TBR-15 Brandon Guyer
    • TBR-16 Matt Moore
    • TBR-17 Kevin Cash

    Texas Rangers

    • TR-1 Yu Darvish
    • TR-2 Adrian Beltre
    • TR-3 Michael Choice
    • TR-4 Shin-Soo Choo
    • TR-5 Elvis Andrus
    • TR-6 Prince Fielder
    • TR-7 Anthony Ranaudo
    • TR-8 Robinson Chirinos
    • TR-9 Rougned Odor
    • TR-10 Jurickson Profar
    • TR-11 Jake Smolinski
    • TR-12 Leonys Martin
    • TR-13 Mitch Moreland
    • TR-14 Neftali Feliz
    • TR-15 Yovani Gallardo
    • TR-16 Ross Detwiler
    • TR-17 Nick Martinez

    Toronto Blue Jays

    • TBJ-1 Jose Bautista
    • TBJ-2 R.A. Dickey
    • TBJ-3 Edwin Encarnacion
    • TBJ-4 Russell Martin
    • TBJ-5 Dioner Navarro
    • TBJ-6 Jose Reyes
    • TBJ-7 Marco Estrada
    • TBJ-8 Justin Smoak
    • TBJ-9 Aaron Loup
    • TBJ-10 Dalton Pompey
    • TBJ-11 Drew Hutchison
    • TBJ-12 Josh Donaldson
    • TBJ-13 Michael Saunders
    • TBJ-14 Mark Buehrle
    • TBJ-15 Brett Cecil
    • TBJ-16 Marcus Stroman
    • TBJ-17 Aaron Sanchez

    Washington Nationals

    • WN-1 Bryce Harper
    • WN-2 Doug Fister
    • WN-3 Gio Gonzalez
    • WN-4 Stephen Strasburg
    • WN-5 Wilson Ramos
    • WN-6 Anthony Rendon
    • WN-7 Jayson Werth
    • WN-8 Ryan Zimmerman
    • WN-9 Jordan Zimmermann
    • WN-10 Michael Taylor
    • WN-11 Danny Espinosa
    • WN-12 Ian Desmond
    • WN-13 Denard Span
    • WN-14 Max Scherzer
    • WN-15 Drew Storen
    • WN-16 Tanner Roark
    • WN-17 Jose Lobaton

    AL All-Star Team

    • AL-1 Mike Trout, OF, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
    • AL-2 Jose Abreu, 1B, Chicago White Sox
    • AL-3 Miguel Cabrera, 1B, Detroit Tigers
    • AL-4 Robinson Cano, 2B, Seattle Mariners
    • AL-5 Jose Altuve, 2B, Houston Astros
    • AL-6 Adrian Beltre, 3B, Texas Rangers
    • AL-7 Alexei Ramirez, SS, Chicago White Sox
    • AL-8 Michael Brantley, OF, Cleveland Indians
    • AL-9 Salvador Perez, C, Kansas City Royals
    • AL-10 Adam Jones, OF, Baltimore Orioles
    • AL-11 Jose Bautista, OF, Toronto Blue Jays
    • AL-12 Yoenis Cespedes, OF, Detroit Tigers
    • AL-13 David Ortiz, DH, Boston Red Sox
    • AL-14 Felix Hernandez, SP, Seattle Mariners
    • AL-15 David Price, SP, Detroit Tigers
    • AL-16 Greg Holland, RP, Kansas City Royals
    • AL-17 Corey Kluber, SP, Cleveland Indians

    NL All-Star Team

    • NL-1 Clayton Kershaw, SP, Los Angeles Dodgers
    • NL-2 Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, Arizona Diamondbacks
    • NL-3 Anthony Rizzo, 1B, Chicago Cubs
    • NL-4 Freddie Freeman, 1B, Atlanta Braves
    • NL-5 Javier Baez, 2B, Chicago Cubs
    • NL-6 Anthony Rendon, 3B, Washington Nationals
    • NL-7 Troy Tulowitzki, SS, Colorado Rockies
    • NL-8 Christian Yelich, OF, Miami Marlins
    • NL-9 Bryce Harper, OF, Washington Nationals
    • NL-10 Andrew McCutchen, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates
    • NL-11 Billy Hamilton, OF, Cincinnati Reds
    • NL-12 Yasiel Puig, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers
    • NL-13 Giancarlo Stanton, OF Miami Marlins
    • NL-14 Buster Posey, C, San Francisco Giants
    • NL-15 Madison Bumgarner, SP, San Francisco Giants
    • NL-16 Johnny Cueto, SP, Cincinnati Reds
    • NL-17 Craig Kimbrel, RP, Atlanta Braves

    Some quick notes:

    • Nice to see that the All-Star Teams on both leagues consist of actual teams, with each position represented. Nice to see Chicago represented well on both sides of town.
    • I don’t like many of the letters used for the card numbers (really, Pittsburgh has to be PIP instead of PIT???)
    • Every player listed above showed up with links in Baseball-Reference, which means there shouldn’t be any typos.
    • You will see lots of first cards of players with their new teams before you will see them in Series 2 or Update Series later this year, so get ready for tons of variations.
    • Even though Ichiro Suzuki is no longer with the Yankees, I’m still seeing that he hasn’t signed a deal with Topps. Shame. Matt “I’m-Still-Too-Good-for-Topps” Wieters doesn’t appear in the checklist for the O’s.

    When I find info on both the Athletics and Padres (had the same issue with the Padres’ team set in 2011), I’ll make sure to add their checklists here.

    Remember, all of these are preliminary and subject to change.

    I can’t wait until these sets go live. If I get all 32 of these sets, I will have ten full years of team sets in my collection. I know I’m crazy to collect EVERY SINGLE SET, but I love seeing them all grouped together in a binder.

    The season couldn’t start fast enough. Bring on April.

    Sincerely,

    JayBee Anama

    Enjoying the Hobby…One Tweet at a Time. #BlogtheHobby #Collect #TheHobby

    If you follow a lot of the Hobby Bloggers on Twitter (like me @bdj610 for example), you will notice that many of us are very passionate about the Hobby we all enjoy. Opinions about collecting cards, regardless of the topic, are positively or negatively expressed 140 characters at a time.

    Many times I agree with what’s written, other times, not so much. Nothing wrong with opinions, both good or otherwise. It’s great that there is a forum out there that everyone can share their points of view without repercussions. But sometimes, the negative statements bug me. And here’s why.

    I love collecting Topps cards. Always have since I first learned about them in 1987 and then after seeing some of the neighborhood kids playing with them the following year. Collecting baseball cards exposed me to the game of baseball, and I’ve been a fan ever since. Before the interwebs, baseball cards were the best source of information about players and the teams. And let’s face it, some of the designs were fantastic too. Now I’m sure if the neighborhood kids were trading Donruss or Fleer cards that I’d have become a loyal Donruss or Fleer fan. But they collected Topps. So to me, Topps was it.

    Back to my point.

    So on Thursday, March 19, one of the Hobby Bloggers (I think you know where I’m going with this and who I am talking about) went on his usual rant about his problems with the Topps Company. He’s done it before, always finding something to nitpick about Topps and their recent lines of baseball cards. From “added value” (or the “lack thereof”) to his increased hatred of short-prints (gimmicks), to the surprises (he wants full disclosure of everything for some reason) that Topps puts out there. He just finds something to complain about.

    Yet he doesn’t even collect them. And has happily said so.

    And I’ve always wondered…

    “If you hate what Topps puts out to market, and say you don’t even buy their new stuff, WHY ARE YOU STILL IN THIS HOBBY IN THE FIRST PLACE??!”

    Now I’ve said it before, but no Hobby is perfect. Whether it’s stamps, coins, Beanie Babies, dolls, cow figurines, or even baseball cards, there are always things people can find that are good and bad about them. I would be totally naïve to say that everything Topps is great as well. I’ve had my questions about what they’re thinking from time to time. But I still enjoy collecting the cards. I don’t let the extreme SSP’s, the variations, the Lincoln sightings, the sparkle cards (this guy likes to call them twinks…and I’ll get to that another time) get to me because, with some exceptions, I’m not really on the hunt for them. For me, and I think many casual collectors, finding one of these cards in a pack is a bonus and makes for a pleasant surprise (or a quick buck if I’m desperate).

    However, this guy, and his defenders, continually whine and cry about Topps’ latest efforts while at the same time wonder why they aren’t coming up with new ideas to add to their products. It’s as if nothing satisfies them, or at this point, nothing will satisfy them.

    Okay, so on with the tweets. This is the one that got me involved. I could easily add their names to what they wrote. I mean none of them read my blog and I’m very sure that the main guy un-followed me because of my LOVE of the Topps Company anyway. But because I did not go out of my way to get their approval to post their tweets on this humble little blog, I am going to change their names on the tweets.

    guyno1: Does anyone at @toppscards even give a “expletive” that their products are (literally) uncollectable? (Don’t answer that, we know the answer)

    Okay, so who’s “we” kemosabe? You and your fanboys who agree with every word you type? How can a company that focuses on collectibles make products that “are (literally) uncollectable?” And what makes you think that these people don’t care?

    My response (and what got me involved in the conversation in the first place:

    @bdj610: guyno1 @toppscards Funny, but many people believe otherwise. They’re still collectable. Maybe not to you. Maybe not your game anymore.

    And then I piled on:

    @bdj610: guyno1 @toppscards Maybe find a new #Hobby? I hear stamps are making a comeback. Coins too. Or you could start a button collection.

    guyno1 @toppscards Not the pins, but actual buttons that would be used for clothing.

    guyno1 @toppscards Plus, you don’t even need to have them mounted on cardboard.

    That got his attention, and the attention of the people who share his views.

    Here was another tweet, again started by our favorite curmudgeon:

    guyno1: In a nutshell, everything collectors hate about @toppscards: RT guyno3 New post: Deep Heritage

    One of his fans decided to chime in with this statement:

    guyno2: guyno1 @toppscards guyno3 I would spend so much more on Topps cards if they would eliminate SPs from sets like H, GQ, Archives, TANG

    Here was my response:

    @bdj610: guyno2 guyno1 @toppscards guyno3 Thanks to the WWW, it’s much easier to get the SP’s you want/need because it’s available online.

    @bdj610: guyno2 guyno1 @toppscards guyno3 And who even says you need them for your set? If you don’t want to collect them, don’t get them.

    guyno2 guyno1 @toppscards guyno3 and then don’t whine about how and why they make them. Or be patient…

    And that drew the ire of the second guy:

    guyno2: @bdj610 guyno1 @toppscards guyno3 that’s an ignorant statement. There were no SP before the Internet.

    What? Really? Card companies did not make short-printed cards before the internet? Now who made the ignorant statement? My response:

    @bdj610: guyno2 guyno1 @toppscards guyno3 but can you imagine if there were way back then? And yes, there were always SP’s/variations.

    The main guy chimed in:

    guyno1: guyno2 @bdj610 @toppscards guyno3 Ignorant statement, but not for that reason

    Really? What part of my statement was ignorant? Thanks to the Internet, not only is it easier to find and even acquire these “hard-to-find” cards for your collection, but the information can be easily accessed that they even exist! What’s wrong there? And if you don’t want to collect them, then don’t collect them. But unlike the eponymous set, SP’s in products like Heritage, Gypsy Queen, Archives, and Allen & Ginter’s are relatively easy to find. And the hunt for them became a lot easier again, thanks to the web. He never really gave “that reason.”

    @bdj610: guyno1 guyno2 @toppscards guyno3 Ignorant why? Because you refuse to accept the Hobby as it is now? Sorry you feel that way.

    Second guy:

    guyno2: @bdj610 guyno1 @toppscards guyno3 hunting down 50-60 SPs one or two at a time is not my definition of easy either.

    Who said it was ever easy? If it were that easy to get everything at once, how is it fun? I’d love to be able to do that, but I know where I stand financially and accept that it’s not realistic.

    @bdj610: guyno2 guyno1 @toppscards guyno3 I never said it was. But it’s that thrill of finding the one or two that keeps me going.

    And isn’t that the point? It’s the thrill of the hunt. Whether you buy tons of packs, visit stores or shops, or even scour the Bay (or COMC, or Sportlots, or Beckett, or any other place online), when you find a card or two that you need and are able to get it at the price you want, doesn’t that excite you to no end (a 1992 Topps Jose Tolentino card comes to mind for me, and this was pre-Internet).

    guyno2: @bdj610 guyno1 @toppscards guyno3 glad it works for you. It’s the reason why I and plenty others no longer spend on those products.

    Okay, and here was the line that got him:

    @bdj610: guyno2 guyno1 @toppscards guyno3 Then I have to ask, if you no longer spend on these products, why are you complaining about it.

    If he (and others) are no longer spend on those products (and they are well within their rights to do so), why complain? What is the point? You’ve just stated you’re not buying what their making. So focus your energies on something else other than whining and moaning about a product you yourself just said you’re not going to get.

    guyno2: @bdj610 guyno1 @toppscards guyno3 shame on me for wanting a more enjoyable collecting experience

    So you enjoy crying about how you don’t like how the Hobby has evolved? You “want” a more enjoyable collecting experience?

    Time to go all-religious.

    I remember hearing a story long ago, and then somehow while flipping through channels, I came through the religion-based channels block and heard Joel Osteen (my parents watch his show from time to time so I recognized the guy) start repeating the story (in his own way of course):

    A guy is praying to God. “Please God, let me win the lottery.”

    The next day, he doesn’t win.

    The following day, he prays again. “Please God, let me win the lottery.”

    The next day, once again, he doesn’t win.

    A few days later, same prayer. “Dear God, please let me win the lottery.”

    This time, the guy gets a response from God.

    “Son, meet me half-way here. BUY A TICKET!!!”

    See, the guy just wanted to win, but he didn’t make an effort to do so. If he had done so by going to his nearby lottery agent, and bought a ticket, then at least he had a shot. But he didn’t. So praying to the high heavens wasn’t going to work.

    My point?

    If this guy wants “a more enjoyable collecting experience,” he’s going to have to find it.

    @bdj610: guyno2 guyno1 @toppscards guyno3 Wanting and Finding a more enjoyable collecting experience are two different things.

    @bdj610: guyno2 guyno1 @toppscards guyno3 You can “want” all you want, but what’s the point if you don’t go out there and find it?

    Make an effort. If something isn’t to your satisfaction, wouldn’t it be better to find another solution than to complain about how what’s in front of you isn’t good enough? This can be applied in lots of situations, not just the Hobby (please use discretion because this solution doesn’t work in EVERY SITUATION).

    And no I’m not saying that finding something else is easy. It never is. But if you really want to find enjoyment in this Hobby, you have to go out there and find what actually makes you happy.

    guyno1: guyno2 Geez, I wish I had the unlimited bankroll and patience @bdj610 seems to have.

    ‏@bdj610: guyno1 guyno2 Patience I have. Bankroll, not so much. That’s why I have to maintain patience. Otherwise…reality sucks.

    That should be self explanatory. I have patience, to a point. I try to practice this when it comes to whittling down my want lists. But sometimes, when it’s there in front of me, I have this fear that I might not find something better and then when I come back, the card I want is gone. So my wallet has taken heavy hits from time to time. I wish I had the money to buy everything I wanted, but I know where I stand. Should I buy the cards in front of me that I might not see again for a very long time? Or should I go to the grocery store and stock up for the week? Decisions, decisions, decisions.

    @bdj610: guyno1 guyno2 You need to have patience. When you find yourself stressed about this or any Hobby, it’s time to find a new one.

    The word Hobby is defined as: an activity or interest pursued for pleasure or relaxation and not as a main occupation.

    When the Hobby stresses you out, and you no longer feel relaxed, then why continue it? This goes back to finding another Hobby. Hobbies are supposed to be a release, a distraction, something to take your mind of the struggles of the real world and bring you back to a place that made you feel that all was right with the world.

    And if this one isn’t doing right by you, then find something else that will. The Hobby of card collecting has so many other avenues to take, so when you find that one road hasn’t been good to you, there is another to explore. Try again.

    guyno2: @bdj610 guyno1 @toppscards guyno3 again though as long as it works for you that’s really all that matters right?

    guyno2: @bdj610 guyno1 @toppscards guyno3 THE HOBBY: Love it or leave it (expletive)!!!!! Great advice.

    I don’t know. Maybe both of these guys should leave the Hobby. They sure aren’t positive influences in it. And again, for every one person who leaves, another one might come in for the first time looking forward to what may be one of the greatest things he or she has ever come across and becomes a collector for life. Who knows.

    I mentioned patience earlier. A while back, the main antagonist of the story went to a card show and found some 2010 Topps legends SP’s in a bargain box. He took a picture of them (2010 Topps SP’s of Dizzy Dean and Honus Wagner…both I have by the way), and said something to the effects of “Fifty cent gimcracks. Explain how these “add value” again?”

    @bdj610: guyno2 guyno1 @toppscards guyno3 …I’ll give guyno1 props for…

    @bdj610: guyno2 guyno1 @toppscards guyno3 getting those SP’s from 2010 at 2015 prices (which was a lot cheaper compared to) when I was getting them.

    Well, they were added value…back in 2010. And you’re buying them now, six card-years later, so yeah, the “added vaue” is gone. But you have them now for your collection. Be happy. Not cynical. They added value when the demand was high for them. Now? Probably not as the people who wanted them already have them. (I’m still looking for some by the way. Please see the sidebar).

    After this exchange, all went silent. Both men probably had to go back to work and was spending their lunch breaks on the twitterverse. I did, however, make a new friend on Twitter.

    @Icampintense: @bdj610 wow. Straight roasting people in that little post about Topps. Very nice!

    ‏@bdj610: @Icampintense Thank you. guyno1’s act of (mild expletive) about Topps and the state of the Hobby here on Twitter is getting as old as my love of it.

    @Icampintense: @bdj610 I’ve had that dude muted for well over a year. Can’t stand him honestly. I prob spend too much time defending Topps.

    @bdj610: @Icampintense I do too, but I love pushing his buttons, especially when he goes on his rants. Probably why he un-followed me.

    Yeah, so I am a bit of a trouble-maker, aren’t I??!

    And finally, the poor guy that got caught in the crossfire because his blog post was linked by our friendly neighborhood grump, chimed in:

    guyno3: @bdj610 guyno2 guyno1 The point of this is that SPs featuring franchise players is a cheap ploy to make people buy more.

    Congratulations. You win the prize for finally figuring out why Topps has been doing this in the first place!!!

    @bdj610: guyno3 guyno2 guyno1 If you’re actively looking for them, then of course you’ll be spending the money.

    @bdj610: guyno3 guyno2 guyno1 But for those who are not actively looking out for these, then getting one is a bonus and exciting.

    Of course, Topps would create short-printed variation cards of Clayton Kershaw, David Ortiz, Bryce Harper, Mike Trout, etc. Because they know collectors will want them for their collections, no matter what, even if they wind up whining all the way to their goals. Do you think collectors (with the possible exception of team collectors) would show the same clamor around SP’d cards of the mop-up reliever or third-string catcher? Not so much.

    guyno3: @bdj610 guyno2 guyno1 …saying “don’t want, don’t get” is just silly. SPs are fine if they’re EXTRA, but not when they should be base

    Which brings me back to my point about the Internet, and the easier access to these cards online.

    @bdj610: guyno3 guyno2 guyno1 I’ll give you that for the non-eponymous items…but even in those sets, the SP’s aren’t that hard to find.

    Let’s face it. The idea of the proliferation of short-printed cards would not work in a pre-internet age. Because the options of notifying people about having or wanting them would be limited to Hobby Magazines and classified ads. It would be an even more frustrating endeavor. But we are now 16 years into the 21st century. We have the technology and the information at our fingertips. Make use of them.

    Make an effort to find happiness within this Hobby. It’s out there. You have to go out there and look. Believe me, it’s a lot more fun to find what makes you happy than it is to sit down and mope about the things that don’t.

    Sincerely,

    JayBee Anama

    Éirinn go brách! Celebrating at Home.

    Today is St. Patrick’s Day. It is the day that honors St. Patrick, who is the patron saint of Ireland. It also commemorates the arrival of Christianity to the Emerald Isle. In fact, it is said (thanks Wikipedia) that he used shamrocks to explain the Holy Trinity.

    My family will be enjoying boiled corned beef brisket with all the veggies (potatoes, carrots, cabbage) tonight. I would like to apologize to my sister for once again we will not be able to join her for dinner (it’s a school night, there are still dance classes happening). Meanwhile, I’ve been playing Irish music on the computer all afternoon, just to get into the mood.


    If anybody says, “Top of the morning to you,” to you today, make sure to respond in kind, “And the rest of the day to yourself.”

    Public Service Announcement (as my wife just said that she found the Bailey’s): As you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, please remember to celebrate responsibly.

    Now for the baseball portion of the program. If you’re wondering, while there are many baseball players of Irish descent, 47 native-born Irish men made at least one appearance in the majors.
    The last native born Irish player was Joe Cleary. Born in County Cork, Cleary only appeared in one game (08/04/1945) in 0.1 inning of work for the Washington Senators. But in that eventful inning, he struck out one batter (the good news), but allowed five hits, three walks, and seven earned runs to score. Saving time for the math, but seven runs in 1/3 innings equals an ERA of 189.

    SBS Baseball created a team of All-Irish baseball players as part of their Foreign League. Imagine the World Baseball Classic without the US. Teams included as part of this league include teams from Asia/Australia/Africa, Canada, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Eastern Europe, England, Germany, Latin America, Mexico, Panama, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, and Western Europe (14 total teams). I’ll try and run a season during my lunch break and will post results later to see how the Irish do against the rest of the world.

    So now, a quick toast to everyone, Irish or just-for-the-day:

    May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be at your back.
    May your cards collections grow to unmeasurable heights in both volume and value.
    May the quest for new cards be swift.
    May the journey of life treat you well today and always.
    And may a certain North Side baseball team win it all this year (just have a decent season…please).
    If you catch my drift.

    Sláinte!

    Sincerely,

    JayBee Anama

    39 at 39…Plus One

    In many of his radio (and subsequently his TV show), Jack Benny, when asked how old he was, would say that he was 39 years old. This would always get big laughs from the audience, and the laughter would continue after the person he was talking to would crack a joke about his answer.

    That was his character. Although he portrayed himself as vain and cheap on the program, he most certainly was the opposite in real life. Unlike many of the comedians of his time, he always made sure that the rest of his cast got the majority of the laughs, while he played straight man to the craziness around him.

    Jack Benny will always be 39 years old to fans of his program, and I count myself as one of them. Last month was “Jack Benny Month” on Those Were the Days, a radio program that re-plays many of the old time radio shows. It seems that before music and talk radio ruled the airwaves, and before many people sat in front of their televisions and computers, radio was the main form of entertainment. And there was no better show on the air on Sunday nights than the Jack Benny program. When I first discovered Chuck Schaden’s radio show so many years ago, I was hooked. And while I enjoyed listening to (when I had the time) shows like Fibber McGee and Molly, Burns and Allen, Suspense, The Great Gildersleeves, The Whistler, and even looked forward to The Cinnamon Bear in December, I loved it when they would put on a Benny program.

    What is the point of me talking about old-time radio?

    Well, I was going to write about Jack Benny last month on Valentine’s Day (his birthday). So that’s all I have to say…

    No…

    Wait.

    That’s not all I have to say today.

    You see, as of today, Mr. Benny and I have something else in common.

    Today is March 12. And I turn 39 today.

    Forgive me, I have to take a minute to breathe as I even fathom to think about that.

    I am 39 years old…TODAY!!!

    Where have the years gone??! I am now officially what I thought was the definition of old when I was 7. I had pangs when I turned 30, and now I am a year away from 40. I always thought of myself as young, and in many ways I feel young.

    This is a day for me and my family to celebrate. And we will. There will be a bacon-wrapped deep dish pizza coming tonight. There will be a day to celebrate with my parents and sibs tomorrow. There will also be another dance competition for my daughter that will be happening then too…but that’s another story.

    I look back at my life, and yes, there have been ups and downs. I have experienced a lot of joy (from growing up in Manila and coming to America to meeting and marrying the girl that would become my wife and becoming the father of two amazing kids) and sorrow (the Brown’s Chicken massacre, my grandmother dying). There have been good times (achievements in high school, working in theatre, and now spending time with my family) and bad ones (losing a job and the uncertainty of the future when the company closed). I have learned a lot and still feel I have a lot to learn.

    I am truly blessed to have the life I am living. Even with all of the struggles (and there have been many), I am grateful to have the experiences I have had.

    So I want to take this opportunity to thank my family, my parents, my siblings, my friends, acquaintances, co-workers, and those I recently connected with last October at my 20th HS reunion for being a part of my life. Good or otherwise, you have all shaped me into the person I am today. Every opportunity to interact with you is something I cherish.

    Now that we have all that out of the way, let’s talk about baseball cards (this is a Topps baseball card blog, isn’t it??!)

    I’m 39 years old today.

    A few years ago, someone contacted me about a project he was doing as a birthday present for his friend. I wrote about it here and it got the attention of a Sports Collector’s Daily.

    The gist of it? A guy gave his friend, turning 40, every #40 card from Topps’ history (1951-2011 at the time).

    So why not do the same thing…to a point.

    In a previous birthday post, I named an all-star team of players born on March 12. Heading in to the 2015 season, 63 players out of the 18,408 who debuted in MLB at one point were born on March 12. The youngest (heading into the 2015 campaign) is Taylor Hill, born on this date in 1989 (wow, I’m old). But in honor of my 39th birthday, why not display all the cards from my birth year (1976) to now that were assigned card #39 by the Topps Company. Now granted, many of the names who share this card number do not have the name recognition that the guys with #40 have, but hey, they’re on cardboard, they’re immortalized.

    So here you go, from 1976 through 2015, cards #39 (images from the Joe McAnally and the Baseball Card Cyber Museum):

    So happy 39th to me. And, before I forget…

    Happy Birthday Bryan Hebson!!!

    Sincerely,

    JayBee Anama

    Well, That Was Quick…

    One minute I was ready to write a post about Presidents cards in honor of President’s Day, and the next it’s the middle of March.

    Where did the time go?

    Better question: Where did I go??!

    If there are any readers of this humble, little blog left, waiting until I actually make an appearance, I apologize. Lots of things happening personally that has had me put the blog on the back burner, including:

    My Wallet Card hanging out with my daughter’s First Place Trophy!!!

    If it hasn’t been mentioned before here, my daughter is a competitive dancer, and this is her first year competing as a soloist (she’s previously performed in trios, small groups, and large groups). She has been in two competitions, and so far, she’s taken home two 1st place trophies in her category. This is one of the trophies she won, and Wallet Card (who has been spending time with a lot of hardware – will show that in a minute), wanted to hang out with it.

    Wallet Card hanging out with Award Winning Crackers…yes, I work for a food company.

    There was also another trip to Aurora and the haunted Paramount Theatre that involved overnight stays because my daughter was performing on both days and it would be too much to drive back and forth, so there were overnight hotel stays involved. This will be the closest my family gets for a vacation, so we made the most of it (the hotels were great).

    Well, she’s competing again this weekend, and this is going to be a real test as the people in charge aren’t really that familiar with her dance company and the competition should be more balanced. So she’ll really have to “work it” to continue her winning streak.

    Back to something Hobby related.

    When last I wrote, I was depressed because 2015 Topps Series 1 had not arrived in stores yet, and even if they did, I didn’t have a lot of money. So I drowned my sorrows at the Dollar Tree and scored some penny packs.

    Well since then, I now am the proud owner of the 2015 base set and six of the basic insert sets. This week, I’ll try and get in on the action on the more challenging insert sets (the four retail-exclusives, the Gallery of Greats, and the Spring Fever set). I will have to get a couple of five-inch binders and sheets though…I’m out of everything.

    The first card I opened from my packs of 2015 Topps was Troy Tulowitzki:

    2015 Topps #125 Troy Tulowitzki. Did you know Topps is selling poster prints of the 2015 Topps cards?

    The one great thing about Heritage coming out this month is that the prices of Topps Series 1 should be going down (hopefully). This is the best time to strike for those sets.

    Meanwhile, the card census has been slow and steady. I’m not necessarily cataloging the cards…although maybe I should. I just wanted a total count. I have at least the first two binders done (1976 and 1977) and will be working on the rest throughout the year…while making sure to include the 2015 totals too.

    On an unrelated note, I do owe a couple of people some cards. I still have to mail out the Hobby pack of 2014 Topps Update Series to the gentleman who won the All-Star Rookie Team contest last year, and someone emailed me about the 2004 Topps Traded checklist cards, looking for a specific one, with Kenny Lofton on it. The good news is that the Lofton card is not split between multiple cards, and I actually had an extra one (the red Hobby version). So I have to get to the post office soon.

    Some things I’m waiting for before Opening Day (and we’re at T-27 days and counting):

    • The Cubs actually winning a Spring Training game (they haven’t won one yet)
    • The staff at SBS Baseball to download the 2014 statistics (and then eventually, I’ll revive the All-Star Team Tournament)
    • News on the Retail Sets (if Topps is making them this year). It would be the 10th year Topps has produced these exclusive team sets, and I look forward to what 2015 holds.

    That’s it for now. I’ve watched a few games on MLB Network, and I have the cards in hand. I’m excited for the upcoming season. And although my visits here have been infrequent, I do plan on making time to post more often as the season gets underway.

    Sincerely,

    JayBee Anama

    Not Bad for $0.35…Ripken and Chipper Short-Prints? Excellent!!!

    One of my goals this year is to try and clear out the extra cards that are sitting in boxes in my basement. They don’t count as part of my actual collection, and I am not counting them as part of the Card Census I’m working on to manage my collection.

    And while I still have yet to find any 2015 Topps cards (I will make a trip to a Target near church…), I did finally open the 35 packs of 2013 Topps Update Series that I bought at the Dollar Tree.

    Now these cards consist of 5 base cards. No inserts, no relics, no autographs. Just five cards. And with my luck, I wasn’t expecting much in terms of quality hits. I mean, after all, I already have all 330 cards of the base set. What could I possibly get out of these packs?

    Turns out…something.

    As you may know, Topps inserted a lot…really…a lot of short-printed variation cards in the Update Series. Many of them were of the All-Star Game variety, featuring star players from All-Star Games past. Some were even super-short printed.

    Now, I am not sure if I mentioned that in previous pack purchases that I did get a short print:

    

    2013 Topps Update Series Mariano Rivera #US313b

    Tonight, after opening 35 packs of 2013 Topps Update cards, I now have in my hands:

    2013 Topps Update Series Chipper Jones #US53b

    2013 Topps Update Series Cal Ripken Jr. #US216b

    Neither are of the super-short print variety, nor is the Rivera from before, but they are SP’s nonetheless.
    I am looking to sell these babies as I have decided not to collect them. Although they are short-prints, and they are of retired All-Stars, to me, these are not even akin to the 2009-2012 short printed cards of the CMG players from 2009 through the Hall of Fame 5 from 2012 Topps Series 2.

    So here is my call to sell. I’ll start with this blog post, and then Twitter and Facebook to see if I can gauge some interest. I’m thinking at least $7.50-$10.00 per card would be a good starting point. If after a couple of days, I get no decent responses from either site, I’ll throw them on the Bay.

    Wish me luck.

    Sincerely,

    JayBee Anama

    I’m Sorry, The Jeter Card Sold for HOW MUCH??!

    Still upset that my local big box store did not have any 2015 Topps Series 1 packs out, I drowned my sorrows at the Dollar Tree to find that, even though I thought it ended, the store was still selling certain packs for a penny.

    So I got myself 35 5-card packs of 2013 Topps Update Series. I’ll be breaking that shortly while biding my time, waiting for my paycheck to come next week so I can hop aboard the 2015 Topps train on the Bay.

    In the meantime, while perusing the Twitterverse, the biggest casebreaker out there, brentandbecca, has been busy sorting and listing all of the cards they have from the 35 to 100 cases they open for every product (okay, that’s an exaggeration, but they do bust open a ton of cases). If you want to know what almost EVERY CARD LOOKS LIKE, check their auctions on eBay.

    Speaking of checking their auctions…

    So this is Derek Jeter’s final regular series Topps card. He’s been in every eponymous Topps set since 1993. That gives him a staggering 23 regular Topps cards in his illustrious career. Now, I know last year’s Update Series included reprints of his previous 22 cards, but they were of the framed variety and quite frankly, because they were serial numbered, not worth the time and money for me to invest. Heck, some of the reprints were worth more than the regular cards.

    But I digress.

    So brentandbecca is still sorting through their cards and he put on auction the above card.

    Guess what the final price was for this one regular card? Keep in mind that this is not the SP card. There is no twinkle in his eye, (for that matter, I have no idea if he has a sparkle card). This is the base card that EVERY factory set will have when summer hits.

    Not $1.00.

    Not $5.00.

    Not $10.00.

    Not $20.00.

    Not $50.00.

    Just check this out:

    Let’s try that again:

    That’s $100.00.

    For one base card!!!

    And the funny thing is that the guy who “won” the auction paid for it.

    Yes, I know that the card itself has been all over the news as it is Jeter’s final card. But this is a bit excessive, don’t you think? Now EVERYBODY’s going to want to put this card online to see if they can ride the wave of hysteria.

    Sadly, I can’t yet. I haven’t seen any cards from 2015 as of today (yes I know it’s only Day 2 since the official release).

    I’m in the wrong business.

    Now I’d love to have the finances that brentandbecca have to break open so many cases. And don’t get me wrong, I’d love to spend my day opening packs of cards (it’s a ton of work, and I give him, his wife, and his support staff a lot of props for the work they do).

    I’m just not sure if my shelves could take the weight.

    Congrats.

    Sincerely,

    JayBee Anama

    2015 Topps Series 1 is Live…and I Missed It??!

    Kidding. But I wish I was able to participate in the festivities!!!

    I know 2015 Topps S1 is live. I’ve seen videos (from Keith Olbermann to Topps case breaks). I’ve seen Facebook posts of people breaking open packs, blasters, boxes, cases, etc. and showing off what they got. I’ve watched the twitter feed to see what everyone thinks of the backs (a big thank you to Sooz for being kind enough to post the back of the card so we all know what they look like – apparently, I’m the only one who wanted to see that stuff).

    I’ve been to the Number One Source in the Hobby‘s site to see pictures of the short prints and sparkle cards (somewhere Stale Gum is fuming…to me, him ticked off about the cards makes it seem that all is right with the world). It looks like there are 25 SP’s are included in this product (that I counted anyway) and the sparkle cards are back.

    I’ve even gone on eBay to get an idea of what prices are going to be so that when the time (and paycheck comes), I’ll have an idea of how much I plan on splurging (after bills, of course).

    The cards look great. I’m just insanely jealous that my local big box store didn’t have any product on the shelves today. I’m hoping tomorrow will be better.

    All I’ve seen looks great, but I feel I can’t make any comments until I have the things in my hands.

    I just want one pack. One lousy $1.99 pack.

    Maybe 4.

    Maybe tomorrow.

    Sincerely,

    JayBee Anama

    RIP Ernie Banks 1931-2015

    Just saw the news tonight. Ernie Banks passed away today at the age of 83 years old (he would have turned 84 at the end of January).

    No, I never saw him play. I don’t own an actual card of his during his playing days (from 1953-1971). But for as long as I’ve been alive, he was a Cub legend. He was “Mr. Cub.”

    His statistics were more than enough to get him into Baseball’s Hall of Fame in 1977: 2528 Games, .274 average, 512 home runs, 1636 rbi’s, .500 slugging percentage, .830 OPS. He appeared in 14 All-Star Games in 11 seasons (remember, they played two ASG’s for a time).

    His number 14 was the first to be retired by the Cubs.

    Between he, Ron Santo, Billy Williams, and Ferguson Jenkins, they were so close to the promised land of the World Series, but then…you know.

    But after his playing days, he became one of baseball’s great ambassadors. “It’s a beautiful day for a ballgame… Let’s play two!” a quote that’s been attributed to him because of his love of the game. He served in the Army and played in the Negro Leagues before signing with the Cubs, becoming the team’s first African-American player.

    He was one of baseball’s great ambassadors. He was truly, one of baseball’s greatest players.

    My condolences go out to the Banks family, the Cubs organization, Major League Baseball, and the fans. Not just Cubs fans, but all baseball fans. We have lost a legend.

    Sincerely,

    JayBee Anama

    The 2015 Topps Series 1 Checklist is Now Live!

    As they promised last week, Topps has released the 2015 Topps Baseball Series 1 Checklist.

    Before we get to the guts of the list, they also posted one more picture:

    These are the rainbow foil parallels. Now I don’t collect parallels, and some took to the twitterverse wishing that these weren’t going to be included, but they look nice, and if I get one in a pack, I’d be happy with it. I mean, with the color scheme of the cards for this year’s design, they do look pretty in the light…

    But I digress…

    The checklist is out. Not only are there 350 base cards (1-6, 8-351…the seven is really gone), but there are a ton of inserts that look to be split between the Hobby shops, the retail stores, and both in terms of exclusivity.

    Now understand, I’m only listing the checklists for the base and basic inserts sets. No relics, no autos, no auto-relics, no manufactured relics. Just the cards I’d be willing to collect for this product. So, without further ado, here is the base checklist:

    BASE:

    1 Derek Jeter New York Yankees
    2 Jose Altuve/Victor Martinez/Michael Brantley LEAGUE LEADERS
    3 Rene Rivera San Diego Padres
    4 Curtis Granderson New York Mets
    5 Josh Donaldson Oakland Athletics
    6 Jayson Werth Washington Nationals
    8 Miguel Gonzalez Baltimore Orioles
    9 Hunter Pence San Francisco Giants WORLD SERIES HIGHLIGHTS
    10 Cole Hamels Philadelphia Phillies
    11 Jon Jay St. Louis Cardinals
    12 James McCann Detroit Tigers Rookie
    13 Toronto Blue Jays
    14 Kendall Graveman Toronto Blue Jays Rookie
    15 Joey Votto Cincinnati Reds
    16 David DeJesus Tampa Bay Rays
    17 Brian McCann New York Yankees
    18 Cody Allen Cleveland Indians
    19 Baltimore Orioles
    20 Madison Bumgarner San Francisco Giants
    21 Brett Gardner New York Yankees
    22 Tyler Flowers Chicago White Sox
    23 Michael Bourn Cleveland Indians
    24 New York Mets
    25 Jose Bautista Toronto Blue Jays
    26 Bryce Brentz Boston Red Sox Rookie
    27 Kendrys Morales Seattle Mariners
    28 Alex Cobb Tampa Bay Rays
    29 Brandon Belt San Francisco Giants 2014 BASEBALL HIGHLIGHTS
    30 Tanner Roark Washington Nationals Future Star
    31 Nick Tropeano Houston Astros Rookie
    32 Carlos Quentin San Diego Padres
    33 Oakland Athletics
    34 Charlie Blackmon Colorado Rockies
    35 Brandon Moss Oakland Athletics
    36 Julio Teheran Atlanta Braves
    37 Arismendy Alcantara Chicago Cubs Future Star
    38 Jordan Zimmermann Washington Nationals
    39 Salvador Perez Kansas City Royals
    40 Joakim Soria Detroit Tigers
    41 Chris Colabello Minnesota Twins
    42 Todd Frazier Cincinnati Reds
    43 Starlin Castro Chicago Cubs
    44 Gio Gonzalez Washington Nationals
    45 Carlos Beltran New York Yankees
    46 Wilson Ramos Washington Nationals
    47 Anthony Rizzo Chicago Cubs
    48 John Axford Pittsburgh Pirates
    49 Dominic Leone Seattle Mariners
    50 Yu Darvish Texas Rangers
    51 Ryan Howard Philadelphia Phillies
    52 Fernando Rodney Seattle Mariners
    53 Nathan Eovaldi Miami Marlins
    54 Joe Nathan Detroit Tigers
    55 Trevor May Minnesota Twins Rookie
    56 Matt Garza Milwaukee Brewers
    57 Lyle Overbay Milwaukee Brewers
    58 Evan Gattis Atlanta Braves Future Star
    59 Jake Odorizzi Tampa Bay Rays
    60 Michael Wacha St. Louis Cardinals
    61 Johnny Cueto/Clayton Kershaw/Adam Wainwright LEAGUE LEADERS
    62 Nolan Arenado Colorado Rockies
    63 Chris Owings Arizona Diamondbacks Future Star
    64 Atlanta Braves
    65 Alexei Ramirez Chicago White Sox
    66 Vance Worley Pittsburgh Pirates
    67 Hunter Pence San Francisco Giants
    68 Lonnie Chisenhall Cleveland Indians
    69 Justin Upton Atlanta Braves
    70 Charlie Furbush Seattle Mariners
    71 Adrian Beltre Texas Rangers 2014 BASEBALL HIGHLIGHTS
    72 Jordan Lyles Colorado Rockies
    73 Freddie Freeman Atlanta Braves
    74 Tyler Skaggs Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
    75 Dustin Pedroia Boston Red Sox
    76 Ian Kennedy San Diego Padres
    77 Edwin Escobar Boston Red Sox Rookie
    78 Yordano Ventura Kansas City Royals
    79 Starling Marte Pittsburgh Pirates
    80 Adam Wainwright St. Louis Cardinals
    81 Chris Young Seattle Mariners
    82 Nick Tepesch Texas Rangers
    83 David Wright New York Mets
    84 Jonathan Schoop Baltimore Orioles
    85 Adam Wainwright/Johnny Cueto/Clayton Kershaw LEAGUE LEADERS
    86 Tim Hudson San Francisco Giants
    87 Eric Sogard Oakland Athletics
    88 Madison Bumgarner San Francisco Giants WORLD SERIES HIGHLIGHTS
    89 Michael Choice Texas Rangers
    90 Marcus Stroman Toronto Blue Jays Future Star
    91 Corey Dickerson Colorado Rockies
    92 Ian Kinsler Detroit Tigers
    93 Andre Ethier Los Angeles Dodgers
    94 Tommy Kahnle Colorado Rockies
    95 Junior Lake Chicago Cubs
    96 Sergio Santos Toronto Blue Jays
    97 Dalton Pompey Toronto Blue Jays Rookie
    98 Mike Trout/Nelson Cruz/Miguel Cabrera LEAGUE LEADERS
    99 Yonder Alonso San Diego Padres
    100 Clayton Kershaw Los Angeles Dodgers
    101 Scooter Gennett Milwaukee Brewers
    102 Gordon Beckham Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
    103 Guilder Rodriguez Texas Rangers Rookie
    104 Bud Norris Baltimore Orioles
    105 Jeff Baker Miami Marlins
    106 Pedro Alvarez Pittsburgh Pirates
    107 James Loney Tampa Bay Rays
    108 Jorge Soler Chicago Cubs Rookie
    109 Doug Fister Washington Nationals
    110 Tony Sipp Houston Astros
    111 Trevor Bauer Cleveland Indians
    112 Daniel Nava Boston Red Sox
    113 Jason Castro Houston Astros
    114 Mike Zunino Seattle Mariners
    115 Khris Davis Milwaukee Brewers
    116 Vidal Nuno Arizona Diamondbacks
    117 Sean Doolittle Oakland Athletics
    118 Domonic Brown Philadelphia Phillies
    119 Anibal Sanchez Detroit Tigers
    120 Yoenis Cespedes Boston Red Sox
    121 Garrett Jones Miami Marlins
    122 Corey Kluber Cleveland Indians
    123 Ben Revere Philadelphia Phillies
    124 Mark Melancon Pittsburgh Pirates
    125 Troy Tulowitzki Colorado Rockies
    126 Detroit Tigers
    127 Andrew McCutchen/Justin Morneau/Josh Harrison LEAGUE LEADERS
    128 Anthony Swarzak Minnesota Twins
    129 Jacob deGrom New York Mets Future Star
    130 Mike Napoli Boston Red Sox
    131 Edward Mujica Boston Red Sox
    132 Michael Taylor Washington Nationals Rookie
    133 Daisuke Matsuzaka New York Mets
    134 Brett Lawrie Toronto Blue Jays
    135 Matt Dominguez Houston Astros
    136 Manny Machado Baltimore Orioles
    137 Alcides Escobar Kansas City Royals
    138 Tim Lincecum San Francisco Giants
    139 Gary Brown San Francisco Giants Rookie
    140 Alex Avila Detroit Tigers
    141 Cory Spangenberg San Diego Padres Rookie
    142 Masahiro Tanaka New York Yankees Future Star
    143 Jonathan Papelbon Philadelphia Phillies
    144 Rusney Castillo Boston Red Sox Rookie
    145 Jesse Hahn San Diego Padres
    146 Tony Watson Pittsburgh Pirates
    147 Andrew Heaney Miami Marlins Future Star
    148 J.D. Martinez Detroit Tigers
    149 Daniel Murphy New York Mets
    150 Giancarlo Stanton Miami Marlins
    151 C.J. Cron Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Future Star
    152 Michael Pineda New York Yankees
    153 Josh Reddick Oakland Athletics
    154 Brandon Finnegan Kansas City Royals Rookie
    155 Jesse Chavez Oakland Athletics
    156 Santiago Casilla San Francisco Giants
    157 Ubaldo Jimenez Baltimore Orioles
    158 Kevin Kiermaier Tampa Bay Rays Future Star
    159 Brandon Crawford San Francisco Giants
    160 Washington Nationals
    161 Howie Kendrick Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
    162 Drew Pomeranz Oakland Athletics
    163 Chase Utley Philadelphia Phillies
    164 Brian Schlitter Chicago Cubs
    165 John Jaso Oakland Athletics
    166 Jenrry Mejia New York Mets
    167 Matt Cain San Francisco Giants
    168 Colorado Rockies
    169 Adam Jones Baltimore Orioles
    170 Tommy Medica San Diego Padres
    171 Mike Foltynewicz Houston Astros Rookie
    172 Didi Gregorius Arizona Diamondbacks
    173 Carlos Torres New York Mets
    174 Jesus Guzman Houston Astros
    175 Adrian Beltre Texas Rangers
    176 Jose Abreu Chicago White Sox Future Star
    177 Paul Konerko Chicago White Sox
    178 Christian Yelich Miami Marlins
    179 Jason Vargas Kansas City Royals
    180 Steve Pearce Baltimore Orioles
    181 Jason Heyward Atlanta Braves
    182 Devin Mesoraco Cincinnati Reds
    183 Craig Gentry Oakland Athletics
    184 B.J. Upton Atlanta Braves
    185 Ricky Nolasco Minnesota Twins
    186 Rex Brothers Colorado Rockies
    187 Marlon Byrd Philadelphia Phillies
    188 Madison Bumgarner San Francisco Giants WORLD SERIES HIGHLIGHTS
    189 Dustin Ackley Seattle Mariners
    190 Zach Britton Baltimore Orioles
    191 Yimi Garcia Los Angeles Dodgers Rookie
    192 Joc Pederson Los Angeles Dodgers Rookie
    193 Buck Farmer Detroit Tigers Rookie
    194 David Murphy Cleveland Indians
    195 Garrett Richards Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
    196 Chicago Cubs
    197 Glen Perkins Minnesota Twins
    198 Alexi Ogando Texas Rangers
    199 Eric Young Jr. New York Mets
    200 Miguel Cabrera Detroit Tigers
    201 Tommy La Stella Atlanta Braves
    202 Mike Minor Atlanta Braves
    203 Paul Goldschmidt Arizona Diamondbacks
    204 Eduardo Escobar Minnesota Twins
    205 Josh Harrison Pittsburgh Pirates
    206 Rick Porcello Detroit Tigers
    207 Bryce Harper Washington Nationals
    208 Wilin Rosario Colorado Rockies
    209 Daniel Corcino Cincinnati Reds Rookie
    210 Salvador Perez Kansas City Royals 2014 BASEBALL HIGHLIGHTS
    211 Clay Buchholz Boston Red Sox
    212 Cliff Lee Philadelphia Phillies
    213 Jered Weaver Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
    214 Corey Kluber/Max Scherzer/Jered Weaver LEAGUE LEADERS
    215 Alejandro De Aza Baltimore Orioles
    216 Greg Holland Kansas City Royals
    217 Daniel Norris Toronto Blue Jays Rookie
    218 David Buchanan Philadelphia Phillies
    219 Kennys Vargas Minnesota Twins
    220 Shelby Miller St. Louis Cardinals
    221 Jason Kipnis Cleveland Indians
    222 Antonio Bastardo Philadelphia Phillies
    223 Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
    224 Bryan Mitchell New York Yankees Rookie
    225 Jacoby Ellsbury New York Yankees
    226 Dioner Navarro Toronto Blue Jays
    227 Madison Bumgarner San Francisco Giants WORLD SERIES HIGHLIGHTS
    228 Jake Peavy San Francisco Giants
    229 Bryan Morris Miami Marlins
    230 Jean Segura Milwaukee Brewers
    231 Andrew Cashner San Diego Padres
    232 Andrew Susac San Francisco Giants
    233 Carlos Ruiz Philadelphia Phillies
    234 Brandon Belt San Francisco Giants
    235 Jeremy Guthrie Kansas City Royals
    236 Zack Wheeler New York Mets
    237 Lucas Duda New York Mets
    238 Hyun-Jin Ryu Los Angeles Dodgers
    239 Jose Iglesias Detroit Tigers
    240 Anthony Ranaudo Boston Red Sox Rookie
    241 Dilson Herrera New York Mets Rookie
    242 Edwin Encarnacion Toronto Blue Jays
    243 Al Alburquerque Detroit Tigers
    244 Bartolo Colon New York Mets
    245 Tyler Colvin San Francisco Giants
    246 Chris Carter Houston Astros
    247 Aaron Hill Arizona Diamondbacks
    248 Addison Reed Arizona Diamondbacks
    249 Jose Reyes Toronto Blue Jays
    250 Evan Longoria Tampa Bay Rays
    251 Anthony Rendon Washington Nationals
    252 Travis Wood Chicago Cubs
    253 Gregory Polanco Pittsburgh Pirates Future Star
    254 Steve Cishek Miami Marlins
    255 James Russell Atlanta Braves
    256 Adam Eaton Chicago White Sox
    257 Jarrod Saltalamacchia Miami Marlins
    258 Kansas City Royals
    259 Brian Dozier Minnesota Twins
    260 David Peralta Arizona Diamondbacks
    261 Lance Lynn St. Louis Cardinals
    262 Ryan Braun Milwaukee Brewers
    263 Dillon Gee New York Mets
    264 Tony Cingrani Cincinnati Reds
    265 Arizona Diamondbacks
    266 Brandon Phillips Cincinnati Reds
    267 Zack Greinke Los Angeles Dodgers
    268 Aroldis Chapman Cincinnati Reds
    269 Jordy Mercer Pittsburgh Pirates
    270 Steven Moya Detroit Tigers Rookie
    271 Pittsburgh Pirates
    272 Matt Kemp Los Angeles Dodgers
    273 Brandon Hicks San Francisco Giants
    274 Ryan Zimmerman Washington Nationals
    275 Buster Posey San Francisco Giants
    276 Conor Gillaspie Chicago White Sox
    277 Cincinnati Reds
    278 David Phelps New York Yankees
    279 Coco Crisp Oakland Athletics
    280 Miguel Montero Arizona Diamondbacks
    281 Elvis Andrus Texas Rangers
    282 Alex Presley Houston Astros
    283 Chris Johnson Atlanta Braves
    284 Brandon League Los Angeles Dodgers
    285 Chris Carter/Mike Trout/Nelson Cruz LEAGUE LEADERS
    286 Trevor Rosenthal St. Louis Cardinals
    287 Everth Cabrera San Diego Padres
    288 Chris Parmelee Minnesota Twins
    289 Matt Joyce Tampa Bay Rays
    290 David Lough Baltimore Orioles
    291 Mark Reynolds Milwaukee Brewers
    292 Neil Walker Pittsburgh Pirates
    293 Zach Duke Milwaukee Brewers
    294 Aaron Sanchez Toronto Blue Jays Future Star
    295 Erick Aybar Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
    296 Charlie Morton Pittsburgh Pirates
    297 Scott Kazmir Oakland Athletics
    298 Rymer Liriano San Diego Padres Rookie
    299 Joaquin Arias San Francisco Giants
    300 Mike Trout Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
    301 Zack Cozart Cincinnati Reds
    302 Martin Prado New York Yankees
    303 Ike Davis Pittsburgh Pirates
    304 Shawn Kelley New York Yankees
    305 Sonny Gray Oakland Athletics
    306 Juan Lagares New York Mets Future Star
    307 Mark Teixeira New York Yankees
    308 Carl Crawford Los Angeles Dodgers
    309 Maikel Franco Philadelphia Phillies Rookie
    310 Jake Lamb Arizona Diamondbacks Rookie
    311 Jhonny Peralta St. Louis Cardinals
    312 Kyle Lobstein Detroit Tigers Rookie
    313 Anthony Rizzo/Giancarlo Stanton/Lucas Duda LEAGUE LEADERS
    314 Jackie Bradley Jr. Boston Red Sox
    315 Javier Baez Chicago Cubs Rookie
    316 R.A. Dickey Toronto Blue Jays
    317 Clayton Kershaw Los Angeles Dodgers 2014 BASEBALL HIGHLIGHTS
    318 George Springer Houston Astros Future Star
    319 Derek Jeter New York Yankees 2014 BASEBALL HIGHLIGHTS
    320 Shin-Soo Choo Texas Rangers
    321 Josh Hamilton Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
    322 Phil Hughes Minnesota Twins
    323 Eric Hosmer Kansas City Royals
    324 Chris Archer Tampa Bay Rays
    325 Felix Hernandez Seattle Mariners
    326 C.J. Wilson Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
    327 Xander Bogaerts Boston Red Sox Future Star
    328 Adrian Gonzalez Los Angeles Dodgers
    329 Logan Forsythe Tampa Bay Rays
    330 Brian Duensing Minnesota Twins
    331 Danny Espinosa Washington Nationals
    332 Kyle Seager Seattle Mariners
    333 Billy Hamilton Cincinnati Reds Future Star
    334 Gerardo Parra Milwaukee Brewers
    335 Matt Barnes Boston Red Sox Rookie
    336 Matt Carpenter St. Louis Cardinals
    337 Jedd Gyorko San Diego Padres
    338 Yasmani Grandal San Diego Padres
    339 Austin Jackson Seattle Mariners
    340 Carlos Gomez Milwaukee Brewers
    341 Corey Kluber/Chris Sale/Felix Hernandez LEAGUE LEADERS
    342 San Diego Padres
    343 Shane Greene New York Yankees
    344 Manny Parra Cincinnati Reds
    345 Brandon Cumpton Pittsburgh Pirates
    346 Trevor Cahill Arizona Diamondbacks
    347 Dexter Fowler Houston Astros
    348 Carlos Santana Cleveland Indians
    349 Justin Upton/Adrian Gonzalez/Giancarlo Stanton LEAGUE LEADERS
    350 Yasiel Puig Los Angeles Dodgers
    351 Tom Koehler Miami Marlins

    The breakdown:

    • 269 Veterans
    • 30 Rookie Cards
    • 17 Future Stars
    • 15 Team Cards
    • 10 League Leaders
    • 5 2014 Baseball Highlights
    • 4 World Series Highlights

    Number one on the checklist, recently retired Derek Jeter. Personally, it would have been fitting if he was card #2 (get it?). People on the twitter were complaining about Jeter being included in this set. But hey, retired players have been in sets when they’re already out of baseball (See Mark McGwire in 2001, Tony Gwynn in 2002, and Paul Konerko in 2014. Yes, he’s in here too.

    Now, Topps brought back the Future Stars subset for 2015. But instead of picking 17 guys who might never pan out (ala Tim Pyznarski), some of the subjects the company chose were among the ones who were voted as 2014 Topps All-Star Rookies (with that glorious ASRT Rookie Cup).

    Team cards, I noticed made a comeback, for the first time since 2011. Now, was NOT WHAT I WAS THINKING ABOUT when it was announced that the set would be 700 cards. That means of the 40 extra cards for this set, after the 30 team cards, only 10 cards are left for whatever. So much for extra players.

    Of the 30 Rookie Card-eligible players in Series 1, 5 come from the Red Sox, 4 from the Tigers, 3 are from the Blue Jays, and the rest consist of players from the Diamondbacks, Cubs, Reds, Astros, Royals, Dodgers, Twins, Mets, Yankees, Phillies, Giants, Padres, Rangers, and Nationals. None made their debut before August 1, 2014. As a Cubs fan, seeing both Baez and Soler on the checklist makes me happy. The RC class also includes Brandon Finnegan, who bolted his way from the 2014 MLB Draft to the World Series and my new favorite name, George Runie Farmer, aka Buck Farmer, of the Tigers.

    The five season highlight cards will serve as checklists, as they have since 2011.

    Now, on to the inserts. Many we’ve already seen on the sell sheets. Others are brand spanking new. There are at least four retail (that would be Walmart, Target, Toys r Us, etc) exclusive insert sets. Here we go:

    ARCHETYPES
    A-1 Rickey Henderson Oakland Athletics
    A-2 Mariano Rivera New York Yankees
    A-3 Steve Carlton Philadelphia Phillies
    A-4 Mike Trout Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
    A-5 Yasiel Puig Los Angeles Dodgers
    A-6 Yoenis Cespedes Boston Red Sox
    A-7 Paul Goldschmidt Arizona Diamondbacks
    A-8 Giancarlo Stanton Miami Marlins
    A-9 Buster Posey San Francisco Giants
    A-10 Babe Ruth New York Yankees
    A-11 Mark McGwire St. Louis Cardinals
    A-12 Derek Jeter New York Yankees
    A-13 Cal Ripken Jr. Baltimore Orioles
    A-14 Nolan Ryan Texas Rangers
    A-15 Mike Piazza New York Mets
    A-16 Johnny Bench Cincinnati Reds
    A-17 Tony Gwynn San Diego Padres
    A-18 Ted Williams Boston Red Sox
    A-19 Albert Pujols Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
    A-20 Greg Maddux Atlanta Braves
    A-21 Jackie Robinson Brooklyn Dodgers
    A-22 Hank Aaron Atlanta Braves
    A-23 Willie Mays San Francisco Giants
    A-24 Ty Cobb Detroit Tigers
    A-25 Ken Griffey Jr. Seattle Mariners

    HIGHLIGHT OF THE YEAR
    H-1 Lou Gehrig New York Yankees
    H-2 Babe Ruth New York Yankees
    H-3 Babe Ruth New York Yankees
    H-4 Bob Feller Cleveland Indians
    H-5 Stan Musial St. Louis Cardinals
    H-6 Ted Williams Boston Red Sox
    H-7 NEW YORK GIANTS Win The Pennant
    H-8 Ted Williams Boston Red Sox
    H-9 Enos Slaughter St. Louis Cardinals
    H-10 Ernie Banks Chicago Cubs
    H-11 Roger Maris New York Yankees
    H-12 Roger Maris New York Yankees
    H-13 Warren Spahn Milwaukee Braves
    H-14 Brooks Robinson Baltimore Orioles
    H-15 Juan Marichal San Francisco Giants
    H-16 Catfish Hunter Oakland Athletics
    H-17 Nolan Ryan California Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
    H-18 Willie McCovey San Diego Padres
    H-19 Mike Schmidt Philadelphia Phillies
    H-20 Fergie Jenkins Texas Rangers
    H-21 Fernando Valenzuela Los Angeles Dodgers
    H-22 Nolan Ryan Houston Astros
    H-23 Jose Canseco Oakland Athletics
    H-24 Derek Jeter New York Yankees
    H-25 Mark McGwire St. Louis Cardinals
    H-26 Nomar Garciaparra Boston Red Sox
    H-27 Cal Ripken Jr. Baltimore Orioles
    H-28 Josh Beckett Florida Marlins
    H-29 Justin Verlander Detroit Tigers
    H-30 Miguel Cabrera Detroit Tigers

    INSPIRATIONS
    I-1 Manny Machado/Cal Ripken Jr. Baltimore Orioles
    I-2 Ken Griffey Jr/Robinson Cano Seattle Mariners
    I-3 Don Mattingly/Mark Teixeira New York Yankees
    I-4 Al Kaline/Miguel Cabrera Detroit Tigers
    I-5 Steve Carlton/Cole Hamels Philadelphia Phillies
    I-6 Rod Carew/Joe Mauer Minnesota Twins
    I-7 Clayton Kershaw/Fernando Valenzuela Los Angeles Dodgers
    I-8 Jim Rice/Yoenis Cespedes Boston Red Sox
    I-9 Stan Musial/Mark McGwire St. Louis Cardinals
    I-10 Fred McGriff/Freddie Freeman Atlanta Braves
    I-11 Tom Seaver/Matt Harvey New York Mets
    I-12 Jose Abreu/Frank Thomas Chicago White Sox
    I-13 Craig Kimbrel/John Smoltz Atlanta Braves
    I-14 Randy Johnson/Felix Hernandez Seattle Mariners
    I-15 Andrew McCutchen/Willie Stargell Pittsburgh Pirates

    GALLERY OF GREATS
    GG-1 Clayton Kershaw Los Angeles Dodgers
    GG-2 Frank Thomas Chicago White Sox
    GG-3 Derek Jeter New York Yankees
    GG-4 Ken Griffey Jr. Seattle Mariners
    GG-5 Tom Glavine Atlanta Braves
    GG-6 Mike Piazza New York Mets
    GG-7 Mark McGwire St. Louis Cardinals
    GG-8 Roger Clemens Boston Red Sox
    GG-9 Miguel Cabrera Detroit Tigers
    GG-10 Cal Ripken Jr. Baltimore Orioles
    GG-11 Yasiel Puig Los Angeles Dodgers
    GG-12 Steve Carlton Philadelphia Phillies
    GG-13 Hanley Ramirez Los Angeles Dodgers
    GG-14 Willie Mays New York Giants
    GG-15 Sandy Koufax Brooklyn Dodgers
    GG-16 Hank Aaron Milwaukee Braves
    GG-17 Albert Pujols Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
    GG-18 Bryce Harper Washington Nationals
    GG-19 Mariano Rivera New York Yankees
    GG-20 Jackie Robinson Brooklyn Dodgers
    GG-21 Joe DiMaggio New York Yankees
    GG-22 Babe Ruth New York Yankees
    GG-23 Roberto Clemente Pittsburgh Pirates
    GG-24 Nolan Ryan Texas Rangers
    GG-25 Tony Gwynn San Diego Padres

    BASEBALL HISTORY
    1A Geneva Conference begins
    1B Hank Aaron Milwaukee Braves
    2A Polio Vaccine announced as safe
    2B Robin Roberts Philadelphia Phillies
    3A American Bandstand debuts
    3B Red Schoendienst Milwaukee Braves
    4A Nixon / Kennedy debate
    4B Ted Williams Boston Red Sox
    5A MLK leads march on Washington
    5B Warren Spahn Milwaukee Braves
    6A Apollo 11
    6B Tom Seaver New York Mets
    7A Top 40 Countdown premiers
    7B Hank Aaron Atlanta Braves
    8A Gerald Ford sworn in as President of USA
    8B Nolan Ryan California Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
    9A Apple founded
    9B Reggie Jackson Baltimore Orioles
    10A ESPN’s first broadcast
    10B Bruce Sutter Chicago Cubs
    11A CNN begins broadcasting
    11B Darryl Strawberry New York Mets
    12A Space Shuttle Columbia launches
    12B Fernando Valenzuela Los Angeles Dodgers
    13A Sandra Day O’Connor sworn in
    13B Steve Carlton Philadelphia Phillies
    14A Live Aid concert
    14B Nolan Ryan Houston Astros
    15A Clinton earns Democratic nomination
    15B Ken Griffey Jr. Seattle Mariners

    FREE AGENT 40
    F40-1 Albert Pujols Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
    F40-2 Robinson Cano Seattle Mariners
    F40-3 CC Sabathia New York Yankees
    F40-4 Nolan Ryan Houston Astros
    F40-5 Goose Gossage New York Yankees
    F40-6 David Ortiz Boston Red Sox
    F40-7 Andre Dawson Chicago Cubs
    F40-8 Greg Maddux Atlanta Braves
    F40-9 Alex Rodriguez Texas Rangers
    F40-10 Randy Johnson Arizona Diamondbacks
    F40-11 Reggie Jackson New York Yankees
    F40-12 Carlton Fisk Chicago White Sox
    F40-13 David Cone Kansas City Royals
    F40-14 Roger Clemens Houston Astros
    F40-15 Ivan Rodriguez Florida Marlins

    FIRST PITCH INSERT
    FP-01 Jeff Bridges Los Angeles Dodgers
    FP-02 Jack White Detroit Tigers
    FP-03 McKayla Maroney Chicago White Sox
    FP-04 Eddie Vedder Chicago Cubs
    FP-05 Biz Markie Oakland Athletics
    FP-06 Agnes McKee San Diego Padres
    FP-07 Austin Mahone Atlanta Braves
    FP-08 Jermaine Jones Los Angeles Dodgers
    FP-09 Tom Willis Kansas City Royals
    FP-10 Graham Elliot Chicago Cubs
    FP-11 Tom Morello Chicago Cubs
    FP-12 Macklemore Seattle Mariners
    FP-13 Suzy Los Angeles Dodgers
    FP-14 50 Cent New York Mets
    FP-15 Meb Keflezighi Boston Red Sox

    RETAIL EXCLUSIVE

    ROBBED
    R-1 Dustin Ackley Seattle Mariners
    R-2 Alexi Amarista San Diego Padres
    R-3 Jacoby Ellsbury New York Yankees
    R-4 Carlos Gomez Milwaukee Brewers
    R-5 Josh Hamilton Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
    R-6 Jason Heyward Atlanta Braves
    R-7 Ryan Ludwick Cincinnati Reds
    R-8 Michael Morse San Francisco Giants
    R-9 Yasiel Puig Los Angeles Dodgers
    R-10 Colby Rasmus Toronto Blue Jays
    R-11 Ben Revere Philadelphia Phillies
    R-12 George Springer Houston Astros
    R-13 Giancarlo Stanton Miami Marlins
    R-14 Mike Trout Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
    R-15 Mookie Betts Boston Red Sox

    FIRST HOME RUN
    FHR-01 Jorge Soler Chicago Cubs
    FHR-02 Andrew McCutchen Pittsburgh Pirates
    FHR-03 David Wright New York Mets
    FHR-04 Robinson Cano New York Yankees
    FHR-05 Derek Jeter New York Yankees
    FHR-06 Bryce Harper Washington Nationals
    FHR-07 Mike Moustakas Kansas City Royals
    FHR-08 Eric Hosmer Kansas City Royals
    FHR-09 Matt Carpenter St. Louis Cardinals
    FHR-10 Chipper Jones Atlanta Braves
    FHR-11 Anthony Rizzo San Diego Padres
    FHR-12 Jason Heyward Atlanta Braves
    FHR-13 Javier Baez Chicago Cubs
    FHR-14 Yasiel Puig Los Angeles Dodgers
    FHR-15 Alex Rodriguez Seattle Mariners
    FHR-16 Matt Adams St. Louis Cardinals
    FHR-17 Adam Dunn Cincinnati Reds
    FHR-18 Buster Posey San Francisco Giants
    FHR-19 Paul Konerko Los Angeles Dodgers
    FHR-20 Adrian Gonzalez Texas Rangers
    FHR-21 Jose Bautista Pittsburgh Pirates
    FHR-22 Josh Hamilton Cincinnati Reds
    FHR-23 Chase Utley Philadelphia Phillies
    FHR-24 Ryan Howard Philadelphia Phillies
    FHR-25 Joey Votto Cincinnati Reds
    FHR-26 Adam Jones Seattle Mariners
    FHR-27 Chris Davis Texas Rangers
    FHR-28 Don Mattingly New York Yankees
    FHR-29 Joe Mauer Minnesota Twins
    FHR-30 Jose Abreu Chicago White Sox
    FHR-31 Yoenis Cespedes Oakland Athletics
    FHR-32 Paul Goldschmidt Arizona Diamondbacks
    FHR-33 Freddie Freeman Atlanta Braves
    FHR-34 Mike Trout Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
    FHR-35 Evan Longoria Tampa Bay Rays
    FHR-36 Victor Martinez Cleveland Indians
    FHR-37 Mike Piazza Los Angeles Dodgers
    FHR-38 Troy Tulowitzki Colorado Rockies
    FHR-39 Dustin Pedroia Boston Red Sox
    FHR-40 Deion Sanders New York Yankees

    THE JACKIE ROBINSON STORY
    JR-1 Two-Sport College Star
    JR-2 Serving his country
    JR-3 .387 with Kansas City
    JR-4 Robinson Signs with the Dodgers
    JR-5 Robinson Travels North
    JR-6 Breaking the MLB Color Barrier
    JR-7 NL MVP in 1949
    JR-8 World Series Title in 1955
    JR-9 Call to The Hall
    JR-10 Number 42 Retired across MLB

    THE BABE RUTH STORY
    BR-1 St. Mary’s Industrial School Student
    BR-2 Hometown Hero Baltimore
    BR-3 Red Sox Double Threat Boston Red Sox
    BR-4 Postseason Pitching Phenom Boston Red Sox
    BR-5 From Hurler to Hitter Boston Red Sox
    BR-6 The Home Run King New York Yankees
    BR-7 MVP in ’23 New York Yankees
    BR-8 Murderer’s Row Member New York Yankees
    BR-9 The Called Shot New York Yankees
    BR-10 The Babe becomes a media star New York Yankees

    Notes:

    It hasn’t been announced how the retail sets are split. I highly doubt both Walmart and Target would be willing to share exclusives. So one store should get the Babe Ruth story, the other Jackie Robinson.

    The First Home Run and Robbed inserts look to be blaster exclusives. The First Home Run set, at 40 cards, that’s a bit too big for one store to carry in one series.

    I would have preferred the First Pitch set to be a retail set as well. The subjects chosen, all unique: mostly musicians, a Olympic gymnast, and some people I’ve never heard of. So let’s review:

    • Jeff Bridges, actor, “The Dude”
    • Jack White, White Stripes
    • McKayla Maroney, Olympic Gold Winning Gymnast
    • Eddie Vedder, Pearl Jam
    • Biz Markie, more than “Just a Friend”
    • Agnes McKee, 105-year old from Indiana who threw out a first pitch in San Diego honoring the Veterans
    • Austin Mahone, a singer…I guess…my daughter probably has heard of him
    • Jermaine Jones, New England Revolution midfielder
    • Tom Willis, whose goal is to throw out a first pitch at all 30 stadiums…did I mention he doesn’t have arms?
    • Graham Elliot, Chicago chef who hangs out with Gordon Ramsey making and breaking kids’ hearts on MasterChef Junior (and MasterChef)
    • Tom Morello, Rage Against the Machine
    • Macklemore, rapper, frequent “Thrift Shop” customer
    • Suzy, a K-POP (that would be Korean) singer
    • 50 Cent, rapper, entrepreneur, worst first pitch EVER
    • Meb Keflezighi, Eritrean-born American marathon runner who recently won the 2014 Boston Marathon

    I can’t wait for February 4, when these cards go live. Must save for a master set.

    It’s time to get closer to the game. You ready??!

    Sincerely,

    JayBee Anama

    A Long Overdue Update to the Sports Card Blogroll.

    It’s been too long since I last did this, and I feel really bad for letting things get this bad at the Sports Card Blogroll. But it’s about time I clean it up and remove the blogs that haven’t been posting for the last six months or more (I think I saw one that hasn’t done anything in a year…A YEAR!!).

    It pains me to do this because it means that the number of blogs on the active site may go down to under 300, and that’s not a good thing. We need more voices to add to the Hobby Blogging Community, and I’m hoping that the number goes back up. Now, because I wasn’t consistent in my blogroll maintenance, I’ll compare where the roll was a year ago to where it is now.

    After maintenance in January, 2014, there were 315 blogs on the active roster of blogs. I have since added 42 blogs during the year, and removed at least 28, so we ended the year at 329 blogs. Including Royal Card Review, before the purge, there are 330 blogs on the active roster. The following blogs are now going to be removed after being inactive for more than six months:

    Pardon me while I count the damage…33.

    That’s 33 blogs that will now be removed from the active roster. Not counting Royal Card Review (again, added him before the pileup), we are now down to 296 blogs on the active roster. A number that has not been seen in a very long time.

    Now, I put a comment next to the 83F Project. This blog was started back on June 2, 2006 by a gentleman named Scott Mortimer. His goal was to collect autographed cards of every player who appeared in the 660-card 1983 Fleer Baseball card set. Of the 678 possible subjects (meaning some cards had more than one player), he was able to obtain 631 autographs, a bit more than 93% of the set. His blog had no words to it, just a picture of the autographed card and a link to the player’s baseball-reference page. His prizes include autographed 1983 Fleer cards of Hall of Famers (Cal Ripken, Robin Yount, Carlton Fisk, Reggie Jackson, Ryne Sandberg to name a few), to players have already passed on (most recently Tony Gwynn and Bob Welch). He has another website that mentions that he’s also trying for the 1990 Topps Traded set, but now word on how that is progressing.

    I’m adding the 83F Project to the Retired but Relevant section of the blogroll. It doesn’t look he’s added anything for the last ten months, but it would be a shame to have the site vanish into obscurity.

    As it stands right now, the blogroll now contains 297 active blogs, and more coming soon (have to dig up emails for some of them). It’s time to start looking for new blogs to add. Maybe I’ll sneak a peek into Night Owl’s reading list. He always seems to find new blogs. Nachos Grande had a big hit on his hands with his “Get to Know a Blogger” series. I think there were a couple that I didn’t know of before.

    If you, or someone you know, has a blog that is not on the big Sports Card Blogroll, drop me a line at bdj610@hotmail.com, or send me a note on twitter @bdj610 and let me know all about it. If your blog has been inactive for a long time and you plan on making a comeback, let me know that as well so I can add you back onto the active roll.

    In the six-plus years that I have been a part of the Hobby Blogging Community, I have made contact with a number of writers and readers who share the same passion about the Hobby, if not more so, than me. Over time, established media and even the card companies have acknowledged the influence bloggers have in this industry. Lately, a number of bloggers have gone on to other social media sites to maintain their online presence. But it’s blogging about the Hobby that got them their start, and it’s in blogging that I hope will find passionate voices, new points of view, and hopefully, a rebound in the population of the Sports Card Blogroll in 2015.

    Sincerely,

    JayBee Anama

    I’ve Lost Count of How Many Cards I Own!!! Time for a Card Census!!!

    I am a very proud Topps Baseball Card Collector. (If you’ve heard me spew out the resumé, bear with me please).

    I own every base and traded Topps baseball card from 1976 through 2014 Topps Update Series. I also own many assorted sets, including:

    • 1983-1990 Topps All-Star Glossy Send-in Sets
    • 1984-1991 Topps All-Star Glossy Sets
    • 1984-1991 Topps All-Star Glossy Rookie Sets
    • 1984-1986 Topps Super
    • 1986-1990 Topps Mini Leaders
    • 1988-1990 Topps Big
    • 1990-1992 Topps Major League Debut
    • 1995 Topps D3
    • 1997 Topps Screenplays
    • 2001 Topps Archives
    • 2002 Topps Archives: The Best Years
    • 2003 Topps Shoebox Collection
    • 2003-2005 Topps All-Time Fan Favorites
    • 2001-2002 Topps 206 (Series 1-3)
    • 2002-2003 Topps 205 (Series 1-2)
    • 2003 Topps Cracker Jack
    • 2004 Topps Cracker Jack
    • 2005 Topps Hot Button
    • 2005 Topps Rookie Cup
    • 2005-2006 Topps Turkey Red
    • 2006-2014 Topps Allen & Ginter’s
    • 2006-2014 Topps Retail Team Sets (all 30 sets from 2006, 32 since 2011)
    • 2007 Topps Turkey Red
    • 2009-2010 Topps 206
    • 2010 Topps National Chicle
    • 2010-2014 Topps Pro Debut
    • 2011-2014 Topps Gypsy Queen
    • 2012-2013 Topps Archives

    I also am the proud owner of many complete insert sets that were included with Topps eponymous baseball card sets. Now, inserts have been around forever, but they really began to take prominence after the strike in 1994. I have most, if not all, of the insert sets from 1996 through 2014, and those I do not have complete cards of, I am or will be working on soon, like the

    • 2014 Topps All-Star Access
    • 2014 Topps Future Stars that Never Were
    • 2010 Blue Backs
    • 2003 Topps Nolan Ryan No Hitter Record Breakers
    • 2005 Topps Barry Bonds MVP
    • 2010-2011 Topps Legends Short-prints
    • see the want lists on the right-hand side for more

    Now I have a problem.

    I used to have a spreadsheet that kept track of the number of cards I have in my collection.

    I have now lost that spreadsheet. I don’t know why, I don’t know how, but all I know is that it is lost, and I can’t find it.

    So there is only one thing left to do:  Start the count from scratch.

    Which actually may be a good thing. Why?

    Because since I started the new job, I have not really spent time in the basement where my collection is. Now forget the fact that I didn’t really put much time into the blog in 2014 because of the new gig, but my collection seemed to have been ignored.

    Not anymore.

    I am re-setting the official count of my collection to ZERO, and am going to spend 2015 not only increasing my ever growing collection, but I’m going to take a count of the number of cards I have and, more specifically, WHAT cards I actually have.

    Now, this total won’t count the cards that are in boxes that I would like to use to trade, sell, give away, etc. This is for the cards that I consider a part of my collection.

    I’ll probably go down the line, album by album and take a headcount. And on the way, we’ll know for sure exactly what I have in my collection. I don’t plan on taking all year to do this, hopefully a couple of months (when I have some free time). I’ll post updated numbers on the blog.

    So let’s set the number of cards at zero…

    And let’s get to work.

    Sincerely,

    JayBee Anama

    Black and Gold, Black and Gold

    I am reminded about one of the songs my daughter and her dance troupe performed to at either a competition or a recital a few years ago. It’s a song by some guy named Sam Sparro called Black and Gold.

    It’s one of those songs that as a parent I have to tolerate if only because I had to listen to it again and again every time the girls (and the one guy…there is always one guy in a dance troupe that’s full of girls for some reason…nothing wrong with that, of course), went out to perform. As much as I’d love to torture my dwindling subscribership, I’m going to save us all our sanity by NOT linking the music video of the song (but, hey, feel free to do so after you’re done reading this).

    Why do I bring this up?

    It has something to do with Topps’ week-long preview of 2015 Topps Series 1 cards.

    Yesterday, Topps posted a picture of a sheet of Topps Gold cards:

    And here’s an example of the finished product…so you know how the cards are going to look like after it goes through the cutter.

    Well today, Topps showed off a sheet of the black parallels:

    A couple of thoughts.

    I don’t really focus on parallel cards, but these look nice. Looking at the finished Kazmir card, I can see now where the cards are going to be cut on the sheet (look at the three rows of dots on the bottom left and compare it to the sheet. It looks like there will be a bit of wiggle room when it comes to borders (in the event of the inevitable miscut cards).

    One design element that I’m starting to like but did not notice on the regular cards are the diamonds that are on either side of the picture (you can see it on the black, but more pronounced on the gold).

    Final word:

    Thank you for picking Cubs’ players as the subject for both pictures. Jorge Soler looks like the featured player on the gold sheet, while Anthony Rizzo looks great in black.

    Thanks Topps. Oh, and could you do me a favor? Could you at least show us what the BACK OF THE CARDS LOOK LIKE??! Is that too much to ask??!

    Sincerely,

    JayBee Anama

    Let the Countdown Commence!!!

    According to Topps’ Facebook page (and probably on Twitter, I haven’t checked), 2015 Topps Series 1 goes live on February 4.

    WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 4, 2015!!!

    And to whet the appetites of the curious (and to show that they’re not kidding around…feast your eyes on this:

    And if the picture doesn’t excite you (and if that is the case, something is horribly wrong with you), the official checklist will be revealed next Tuesday (that’s in one week folks)!!! Once it goes live, I’ll make sure to post it here (at least the cards that matter to me).

    Are you ready??! T-minus 22 days, and counting…

    Sincerely,

    JayBee Anama

    This Blog Is Still Relevant…And I Have Proof!!!

    On the twitterverse today (you can still follow me @bdj610), former Beckett employee, current Topps employee, and Sports Card Blogroll Hall of Famer Sooz (@yanxchick, you might want to follow her as well) wrote:

    Once again, it’s nothing new. Chris, when he was more active on his blog Stale Gum than he was on Twitter, did these all the time. And other bloggers have done their own Best Blogger of the Year Awards as well. Many times, Night Owl seems to win everyone’s award for Best Blog.

    And rightly so. Greg’s such an incredible writer, and his posts are very entertaining. He and his blog have become the standard that many in the Hobby Blogging Community look up to for inspiration to get their creative juices flowing and add their voices and opinions to the growing pool.

    Back to the point.

    So Sooz, who now has the job many of us have probably have dreamed about (working for The Topps Company), wants to hold a blogging award contest. Lots of topics she has in mind include:

    • Best blog
    • Best new blog
    • Most informative
    • Best trader

    Others have been contributing ideas. Dayf, the Cardboard Junkie wanted to throw in:

    • laziest blogger
    • most cluttered design
    • largest fall from grace
    • most gratuitous use of cartoon horses
    • best depiction of Mark Lemke

    Now for the first three, he must have been thinking about this one-trick-pony of a blog. I can’t imagine who he’s referring to with the other two…

    But then I see this tweet from Bob d’Angelo, a sportswriter who writes articles online about the Hobby from time to time for the Tampa Tribune, sent this response to Sooz’ original tweet:

    Excuse me for a minute. I just need to stare at Mr. d’Angelo’s tweet for about twenty minutes…

    I have been writing this humble, little blog for six years now, and will reach the 7th year some time in May. This is probably the biggest and best compliment I have ever received about my blog. And the fact that it comes from a guy who writes for a major newspaper just blows my mind. Now, my first conversation with Mr. d’Angelo took place a few years ago, when I wrote about MLB Network’s special about baseball cards. He wrote about it on his blog (which I can’t find the link to anymore, but here is a screen capture thanks to the Wayback Machine:

    My curiosity about whose card MLB Network used to provide the background to the logo of the show, and my search to find out (you can read the original article here) got his attention.

    Thank you so much for the compliment Mr. d’Angelo. I really do appreciate it.

    You all can say that I’m making a big deal out of this. After all, it’s just a tweet.

    Well, that may be true. I try so hard not to toot my own horn around here. There are so many people who do this blogging thing way better than I do. There are many people who write a heck of a lot better than I do. But to see a professional writer say something positive about my blog just makes me want to write more. More about this Hobby that we all love. More about whatever it is that comes to mind. And definitely write more than 115 posts that I put out in 2014.

    For those of you who probably want to get in on this “2014 Blog Award” thing that Sooz is doing, you may want to catch up to all of your favorites, or even find a few new ones, at The Sports Card Blogroll. I’ll update the site soon (lots to add and remove). I’m THAT inspired.

    Sincerely,

    JayBee Anama

    Responding to an Anonymous Commenter: "Eponymous"

    I’ve used the word “eponymous” for years on this humble, little blog, when it comes to talking about Topps’ regular baseball card sets. Because there really is no “brand” name for the baseball cards I collect, is there?

    I mean, there are products out there like Topps Allen & Ginter’s, Topps Gypsy Queen, Topps Triple Threads, Topps Archives, and so forth, and so on.

    But what do you call Topps regular baseball card set? Is it Topps Baseball? Do you call it Topps Baseball Series 1? Like I’m hoping many of you do, I just call them Topps cards. I could be more specific, but I think to almost 99% of the non-card-collecting world, when I say Topps, baseball cards are most likely the image people have. And many times, when referring to the most basic of card sets, the cards that many of us collect, I write “the eponymous Topps set”

    So here comes a comment I received the other day from this post…again from an anonymous poster:

    Maybe use ‘flagship’ or ‘base’ instead of ‘eponymous’ since ‘eponymous’ doesn’t really mean unnamed. Examples of eponyms include ‘Rosanne’ TV show, named after Rosanne Barr, or the first Van Halen album, named after the band Van Halen.

    Now I’m confused. “Eponymous doesn’t really mean unnamed?” I didn’t think I was un-naming the cards, I thought I was giving it an adjective to describe the kinds of cards I’m talking about here.

    So I looked it up.

    Ep·onym (n) \ˈe-pə-ˌnim\: one for whom or which something is or is believed to be named
    Epon·y·mous (adj) \i-ˈpä-nə-məs, e-\: of, relating to, or being the person or thing for whom or which something is named : of, relating to, or being an eponym

    Example: “Cool Britannia,” which goes back to Ben and Jerry’s eponymous ice cream in Spring 1996, met its sell-by-date within weeks …

    It would probably be correct if I said Topps’ eponymous baseball cards in this case. But is it grammatically correct to say “eponymous Topps set?”

    I know I’m not a professional writer, and many of my English teachers will tell you that I’m not really that great a wordsmith. But have I really been using the word “eponymous” incorrectly all these years? Can somebody tell me?

    If I have indeed been using the word in the wrong context, I apologize for my slight. But I’ve used the word too much on here. Now I have the urge to go back to the 167 posts I have written on this blog that has the word “eponymous” entered at least once.

    Sincerely,

    JayBee Anama

    My Wallet Card for 2015 #WalletCard @breakdowncards

    On January 2, defgav, the guy who runs the Baseball Card Breakdown blog brought up a, well, not so necessarily new concept for collectors to do in 2015, but it’s something that has gotten many of the Hobby Blogging Community together on their sites and on Twitter (I’m at @bdj610 if you want to follow) abuzz.

    The concept: Wallet Cards.

    This isn’t something new. Bob Costas has been known for carrying a Mickey Mantle card in his wallet wherever he goes. By now, unless he’s replaced it over the years (and I’ve heard people have been giving him copies of that card) it has to be damaged to smithereens.

    For the life of me, I can’t remember for the life of me who did this, but somebody took a stack of cards, and carried them with him in his pocket for a full year, and then compared what they looked like at the beginning of the experiment to the end (the results weren’t pretty).

    UPDATE: Thank you to J. Meeks, the guy who runs My Cardboard Habit. It looks like Mark Aubrey, the guy who ran Mark’s Ephemera (he’s on a break right now…) was the one who pondered,

    What if I took 20 sports cards and treated them like I might have when I was in elementary school for the summer?

    The results are here. Viewer’s discretion is advised (if looking at this stuff will make you wince).

    Now, this is what the guy at BCB proposed:

    “The idea is to pick a junk dupe of a card you like (but are willing to “sacrifice”) and carry it around in your wallet for a full year, occasionally taking pictures of it on your travels or wherever, and share them on your blog. Sort of like the Cards in Odd Places feature I’ve done a couple times.

    “It should be a card that makes you smile every time you see it, since you’ll probably be seeing a lot of it. If size/weight is a concern, consider choosing a mini.”

    Now when I worked for my previous employers, I was given a badge and a lanyard with one of those electronic key things to hang around my neck. Now, because the badge would always twirl, I thought it would be a good idea to put a baseball card behind my badge. Just for fun. I learned that I couldn’t fit a regular 2½ by 3½ card in the plastic pocket that held the badge and key, so I picked a mini card from Allen & Ginter’s…specifically:

    Okay, imagine the mini version of this card in a mini card penny sleeve and top-loader, and you get the idea.

    After one year or so of that, I had this card behind my badge until they closed the place:

    Now, while both cards were protected from being folded, wear, or Dinged Corners (I miss Patricia and Lucy), the holder did collect a lot of dust, crumbs (I worked for a food company), and other foreign objects. The cards did get hit and if one were to look closely at the cards themselves (not the pictures above), you could see tiny divots where the some of these things stuck. Eww.

    So back to the point. What card can I put in my wallet for an entire year, and then occasionally take a picture of it to share on this humble, little blog?

    It is supposed to make me smile when I see it (because supposedly, I’d be seeing it a lot). Should I use an older card from the junk wax era? Should it be a more modern card with the new card stock? Decisions, decisions.

    If I could, I’d try and find that Sparky Anderson card from 1988 Topps that’s so worn out it looks like it was placed in a wallet for decades.

    Sorry Sparky. (Note that this is not the actual card…the real card is buried…I think, in a box in the basement).

    Should it be a mini card like the Lincoln or the Philippines flag? I don’t know, unless I have the top loader, I’d rather not.

    Should I even use, gasp, a card from another company?

    I know that the card I’m going to stick in my wallet will have to be of a Cub. But which one? Should I go with “childhood” (Sandberg, Grace, Dawson), or “adult” (Lee, Ramirez, Wood), or current (Castro, Rizzo)?

    I got it. Let me find it.

    Perfect.

    While I didn’t find the card of the player I wanted, I did find a good one here.

    I’ll have the “Hawk” hang out in my wallet in 2015. The 1992 Topps Andre Dawson #460 card will do just fine. This is the actual card.

    So what I’ll do is at least once a month, I will take a scan of the card, and compare it to the image above and see how it survives being carried around in my wallet. Hey, it looks nice. Now. At the end of the year? We’ll see.

    Count me in for the Wallet Card game in 2015.

    Sincerely,

    JayBee Anama

    Hallbound…2015!!!

    The votes are in…

    • Randy Johnson 534 (97.3%);
    • Pedro Martinez 500 (91.1%);
    • John Smoltz 455 (82.9%);
    • Craig Biggio 454 (82.7%);
    • Mike Piazza 384 (69.9%);
    • Jeff Bagwell 306 (55.7%);
    • Tim Raines 302 (55.0%);
    • Curt Schilling 215 (39.2%);
    • Roger Clemens 206 (37.5%);
    • Barry Bonds 202 (36.8%);
    • Lee Smith 166 (30.2%);
    • Edgar Martinez 148 (27.0%);
    • Alan Trammell 138 (25.1%);
    • Mike Mussina 135 (24.6%);
    • Jeff Kent 77 (14.0%);
    • Fred McGriff 71 (12.9%);
    • Larry Walker 65 (11.8%);
    • Gary Sheffield 64 (11.7%);
    • Mark McGwire 55 (10.0%);
    • Don Mattingly 50 (9.1%);
    • Sammy Sosa 36 (6.6%);
    • Nomar Garciaparra 30 (5.5%);
    • Carlos Delgado 21 (3.8%);
    • Troy Percival 4 (0.7%);
    • Aaron Boone 2 (0.4%);
    • Tom Gordon 2 (0.4%);
    • Darin Erstad 1 (0.2%);
    • Rich Aurilia 0;
    • Tony Clark 0;
    • Jermaine Dye 0;
    • Cliff Floyd 0;
    • Brian Giles 0;
    • Eddie Guardado 0;
    • Jason Schmidt 0;

    On this year’s ballot, a player needed to receive 412 votes to reach or exceed the 75% needed for induction. For the first time since 1955, four players have been elected by the BBWAA into the Baseball Hall of Fame. This will also be the first time that three pitchers have been voted into the Hall by the writers in the same year. Pedro Martinez is now the first player born in the 1970’s to be inducted into Baseball’s Hall of Fame (Pedro was born in 1971).

    The players whose names are italicized will appear on next year’s ballot, having surpassed the five percent rule to stay on (28 votes). Don Mattingly was on his fifteenth and final ballot, and will now wait for the Veteran’s Committee to decide his fate in the future.

    According to the Baseball Hall of Fame website, 549 ballots were cast.

    Sincerely,

    JayBee Anama

    This is It! The Hall of Fame Announcement is Today.

    When the announcement is made today at 01:00 PM CST on Tuesday, January 6, 2014, 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 34 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 2014 election) being considered:

    Rich Aurilia
    Jeff Bagwell, 5th, 54.3%
    Craig Biggio, 3rd, 74.8%
    Barry Bonds, 3rd, 34.7%
    Aaron Boone
    Tony Clark
    Roger Clemens, 3rd, 35.4%
    Carlos Delgado
    Jermaine Dye
    Darin Erstad
    Cliff Floyd
    Nomar Garciaparra
    Brian Giles
    Tom Gordon
    Eddie Guardado
    Randy Johnson
    Jeff Kent, 2nd, 15.2%
    Edgar Martinez, 6th, 25.2%
    Pedro Martinez
    Don Mattingly, 15th, 8.2%
    Fred McGriff, 6th, 11.7%
    Mark McGwire, 9th, 11.0%
    Mike Mussina, 2nd, 20.3%
    Troy Percival
    Mike Piazza, 3rd, 62.2%
    Tim Raines, 8th, 46.1%
    Curt Schilling, 3rd, 29.2%
    Jason Schmidt
    Gary Sheffield
    Lee Smith, 13th, 29.9%
    John Smoltz
    Sammy Sosa, 3rd, 7.2%
    Alan Trammell, 14th, 20.8%
    Larry Walker, 4th, 21.6%

    After the ballots were counted last night, as of right now, only two or three people know the results of the election. Stay tuned. Today should be an interesting day to say the least.

    Sincerely,

    JayBee Anama

    RIP Stuart Scott 1965-2015

    It was just before 10:00 CST this morning, and I was sitting at the social hall of our church when I first saw the news that Stuart Scott, who appeared on many of ESPN’s shows, from SportsCenter to the NFL and NBA pre-game festivities, passed away. He was just 49 years old.

    Back when I had a lot of free time on my hands, before heading off to classes (probably why I was late to many of said classes), I’d tune in to the SportsCenter replays that would air repeatedly from I think 6 in the morning to 12 noon. The show would repeat every hour, and as I prepared for the start of my day, I always made sure to have it on. And many of those shows, when the duo of Dan Patrick and Keith Olbermann were not on the air the night before, were hosted by Rich Eisen and Stuart Scott. Even after going over the highlights of another Cubs defeat (and there sure were many in the mid-90’s), there never seemed to be a reason to change the station. The chemistry they had on the air was excellent, like watching two guys discussing sports at the bar or in the living room. Even watching the highlights of a Pirates-Mets game were interesting thanks to the 1-A team.

    Scott had his own set of catchphrases (and during this time, what SportsCenter anchor DIDN’T have them), but they were only used to emphasize what we were watching. Even when it stopped feeling spontaneous, you can’t help watching an amazing play and thinking of those same phrases in your head.

    • Boo-Yow (not Boo-Yah…had to make sure to get it right…this was direct from a quote from Eisen)
    • Can I get a witness from the congregation?
    • Cool as the other side of the pillow.
    • Don’t hate the player, hate the game

    And so much more.

    Many tributes have been made to the man who, although didn’t revolutionize sports reporting, brought it to the masses in a way that we all could understand, and appreciate.

    I will admit that I stopped watching the Big Show after many of the big players left. Olbermann, then Eisen, Patrick, even Kenny Mayne. But Stuart Scott stayed on, and in his 21-plus years with the company, helped ESPN evolve to the Worldwide Leader, not just on TV, but in other media (print, online). Even when working on ABC, when he was on, there was not a wasted word spoken on screen by the man.

    I knew that he was battling cancer, but not realized that he had overcome it, only for it to come back. And after watching the tributes, and even his ESPY speech last year, he has become more than an inspiration to a generation or more of up-and-coming broadcasters, writers, sports junkies, but to many who are still battling. The line that stands out the most from his speech is one that should become a battle cry…no…THE BATTLE CRY for cancer patients, survivors, and their families:

    When you die, it does not mean that you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and in the manner in which you live. So live. Live. Fight like hell. And when you get too tired to fight, lay down and rest and let somebody else fight for you.”

    I have watched many tributes to Scott. But this was the best one, I think:

    Rich Eisen, now of the NFL Network:

    My condolences go out to his family, to ESPN, and to all who can say that somehow, in some way, that Stuart Scott was a part of their daily lives, even if it was only for an instant.

    Sincerely,

    JayBee Anama

    You Know That Penny Per Pack Thing I Talked About at the Dollar Tree???

    It’s over.

    If you recall, my Christmas present from my son was a five-card pack of 2013 Topps Series 1 that he bought for a penny. I’ve given him some ribbing since that he could have made an effort to buy more…especially since he was budgeted a dollar for each person…

    So finally, last night, I had the opportunity to go to the Dollar Tree to see what they had.

    There was a box full of 2014 Topps Update Series, packs of 2013 Topps Update Series, and even some 2014 Topps Series 2. There were other products strewn around (although it is pointless to pack search these things, they were just everywhere), mostly repackaged cards (30 different cards from different sports for example).

    I grabbed 10 packs each of the Series 2, and both Update Series and proceeded to checkout.

    Guess what?

    As soon as the cashier rang up the first pack…$1.00.

    What??!

    Yup. I guess the sale ended after the new year.

    AAAAAAGGGGH!

    So instead of paying $0.30 for 30 packs, I would have wound up paying $30.00. Yikes. So I returned all of the 2013 Update packs, and kept five packs each of 2014 S2 and Update.

    Lesson learned.

    But at least I was able to buy some cards. Haven’t opened any yet, but I will let you know if there was anything interesting that was inside. Collectors who were lucky…I mean smart…enough to load up on packs have been finding short prints or even SSP’s in these things. So maybe I’ll find something good.

    Or with my luck, five base cards.

    Happy New Year!

    Sincerely,

    JayBee Anama

    2015 Is Here…2015 Topps Series 1 Comes Soon…

    The year 2015 is now ten hours young in Chicago. Last night, my family and I were at a New Year’s Eve party hosted by the family of one of my daughter’s long-time friends. They’re really nice people, and the food was rather good. It wasn’t a sit-down dinner, but there were enough appetizers and Ramen noodles (which was our contribution to the party) to satisfy everybody. Conversation ranged from…let’s see:

    • Philosophy
    • Quantum Physics
    • Should you get a theatre degree?
    • Kids want to go to New York to become Rockettes before going to college? Agree?
    • What to do with boyfriends of daughters. Can we compare notes?
    • Punk Music from the late 70’s through early 80’s MTV

    While there was no sports talk whatsoever, I did keep to my phone, watching former Bull and current Pelican Omer Asik inadvertently tip the ball into his own basket, sending the New Orleans/San Antonio Spurs game into overtime. Baseball, hey, everyone is now 0-0, and while a few players are looking for the right team and contract, many are ready to go. I’m looking forward to the 2015 season, but more importantly, I want to know who’s going into the Hall of Fame. I’ll get to that in a later post.

    But seeing as it’s now 2015, it’s time for me to put away the 2014 cards and binders, and prepare for the upcoming baseball card season. Now we all know what the cards are going to look like. I really can’t wait to see these cards up close. The design is totally unique, with curved lines everywhere, and the circle pattern that encompasses the team logo. Yes, the logo is once again on the bottom right corner, just as it has been in every odd-year since 2009, but that doesn’t detract from the overall beauty of the design.

    Now, about the blog.

    Just as I had worried about last year, I didn’t spend as much time on this humble, little blog as I would have liked. Learning a new job does that to a person. But it’s been a year now, and while there is still so much to learn, I have a better handle on the job responsibilities now than I did when I first started. I am hoping that means I can devote some time to other endeavors, like, the Hobby!!! I’m hoping that I can spend a bit more time on the blog, and not leave it to obscurity just yet.

    One of my goals for 2015, besides completing the eponymous Topps set, is to go to a card show in Rosemont. I didn’t go to any major card shows this year. This is the first time since moving up the street from the Convention Center. I am going to make sure that it will be the last time too. Even if I don’t buy any cards at these large events, I just want to take in the atmosphere and see what’s being sold.

    So let’s get to it:

    Goodbye 2014!!!

    Hello 2015!!!

    Goodbye 2014 Topps Design!!!

    Hello 2015 Topps Design!!!

    May all your collections grow to new heights. Let’s hope Topps makes it a bit easier on us insane set collectors (they probably won’t but it’s nice to dream.) Thank you for letting me into your computers this past year. I hope to be able to share more of my collection with you in 2015!!!

    I do not know where this next journey will take me. All I know is that I am going to enjoy the ride. Let’s make it a good one. Join me, will you?

    Sincerely,

    JayBee Anama

    My Christmas Gifts…So Far

    At my age, I really don’t ask for much when it comes to Christmas gifts (if at all…nobody asks). Anything will do for me now. In the last few years, however, I’ve had to re-think that philosophy.

    A couple of years ago, I received a Magic 8-Ball for Christmas. I was gracious upon receiving it and if I can find it, will put it on the Bay…eventually.

    Last year, along with gloves that didn’t fit, one of the gifts I received a DVD about bartending. With me looking for work, I thought, why not. I don’t really drink, but always wanted to learn.

    This year, I actually received something that I could use. A notepad for my little office. I was happy with this one as I could now use the notebook instead of scrambling to find a piece of paper to write things down. My younger siblings-in-law pooled some funds together to get their married siblings Google Chromecast devices. These are the things you plug into the television and then you can link it to the computer or cell phones to watch whatever it is on the screen on the TV. It’s a really great thing. I’d love to use it.

    The problem? We don’t have a TV that can use this. So, either I re-gift, beg one of my sibs for a TV, or trade it to one of my in-laws who could actually use it. Options, options, options.

    This year, I’ve decided that all I want for Christmas is a 5-inch D-ring (or flat ring) binder and a box of Ultra-Pro Platinum 9-pocket pages. That’s it. That’s all I need. Anything else would have been a bonus.

    Last week, my son and his classmates made their pilgrimage to the Dollar Tree store to buy presents. Last year, he bought me a coffee mug, which I still use. This year, I requested something different. I wanted baseball cards.

    You see, all over Facebook, people were saying that the Dollar Tree stores have been selling packs of baseball cards for a penny. That’s right, one cent. And many of these same people were finding short prints, sometimes SSP’s in these packs. Now, let’s get something straight here. The packs they sell at the Dollar Tree are just of base cards. No inserts, no relics, no autos. Just 5 base cards in a pack. AT A PENNY! Cards haven’t been sold at this low of a price since the 50’s.

    The problem was that I wasn’t sure that the deal was still going on, or that the store near me was even in on the promotion. So just on a whim, I told Taylor I wanted something from Topps. And when he came home with the gifts wrapped, I could tell that he only bought one pack for me. That’s fine, I thought. The sale must be over.

    Today, I opened my pack of 2013 Topps Series 1 cards. I’ll get to what was in the pack in a moment. His receipt was included with the pack. Sure enough, the pack of cards cost…ONE PENNY!!!

    That means for a dollar, he could have bought me one hundred packs. But when he went to the register, he didn’t notice this. So, he got my present for one penny. Oh, well. At least now I know what I’m going to be doing tomorrow…

    Anyway, here are the cards that were included in the pack:

    • #6 Ryan Howard, Phillies
    • #252 Dustin Ackley, Mariners
    • #76 Brandon Inge, Athletics
    • #278 Christian Garcia, Nationals
    • #299 Darwin Barney, Cubs

    Score one Cubs card. Loved Darwin Barney during his time here. I was hoping that he, Castro, and Rizzo would become the next Dunston-Sandberg-Grace infield of the late ’80’s through early ’90’s. But he was traded to the Dodgers last summer. I wish him well.

    Getting a Ryan Howard card a few years ago would be a great thing. Now, eh? Ackley is only 26, still has time to develop into the star that the Mariners are hoping for. Like the Inge card, but really, if you didn’t know who he was, this card could have been of anybody. Christian Garcia is a Free Agent after the 2014 season.

    Love the presents so far. Can’t wait to see if there is more to come. Merry Christmas to you and your kin.

    Now go back and celebrate with family. I know I will.

    Sincerely,

    JayBee Anama

    It’s Christmas Time Again…Fa La La La La

    ‘Twas the day before Christmas, and I shut down my work computer, I look around the house and notice that it’s been a bit of a subdued celebration. It wasn’t long ago that the kids wanted toys and games under the tree. This year, “just give us gift cards…we’ll figure out what to buy.”

    Ho, ho ho.

    Oh, don’t get me wrong, the tree is still standing (after a couple of collapses, it was a miracle that we found a stand that could hold the tree), but with all four of us running non-stop, decorations that we had up in the past are still in boxes. Maybe next year, we’ll use them.

    While it’s already happening elsewhere in the world, tonight, we prepare for the birth of Jesus with Christmas Eve Mass (we’ve been to two Simbang Gabi’s already) and then dinner at my brother’s (and that’s unless the lady with four kids and one just ready to arrive tells us that it’s time to go…long story).

    In the meantime, with the kids getting older, having to shop for them has been a bit easier. They already know what stores they want to go to, so we’ll either give them the cash or the gift card and they’re done. My wife and I on the other hand will just do our shopping when the time is right (probably after the holidays are over).

    On behalf of my family, I hope you and yours have a very good Christmas. May you find the cards you need in your stockings and may we all add to our ever growing collections in the coming new year.

    Sincerely,

    JayBee Anama

    Hey, Did I Mention That the Sell Sheets for 2015 Topps Series 2 Were Live? I Didn’t?

    So it’s been a busy month, well it’s been a busy year for me. The Hobby and this humble, little blog took a bit of a backseat as other things took priority. But apparently in the madness of it all, Topps released images of the sell sheets for 2015 Topps Series 2.

    Take a look at what we get to look forward to just a bit after the 2015 baseball season gets underway:

    Wait, wasn’t the S1 sell sheet 10 pages? This is only 7.

    Series 2 also contains 350 cards, meaning that the base set now stands at 700 cards, the first time the base set has surpassed 660 since 2006. That’s 40 more players (possibly) getting cardboard love (that, or it’s a 40-card retrospective of Derek Jeter’s career…in the base set…don’t quote me on it). Gold, Rainbow foil, Snow Camouflage, Black, Pink, Framed, Clear, Red, Blue, Platinum, and other color parallels will be thrown in for those who love that sort of thing.

    I’m starting to like the look of the base cards. While it isn’t a white bordered set (the first since 2007), it looks like each player’s card will utilize his team’s base colors. I can’t wait to see these cards up close:

    Of the six insert sets being included with Series 2, only one carries over from the first, that being the Highlight of the Year set (30 cards). The rest are new for 2015, and they focus on more on baseball’s history (maybe that’s the theme for 2015 as I don’t really see anything close to a unifying idea):

    • Eclipsing History (15 cards), record breakers. The two-player card features the player that set the record, and then the guy that broke it.
    • Heart of the Order (20 cards), featuring sluggers and the players who bat in front of and behind him.
    • Stepping Up (20 cards), clutch moments…another baseball history concept
    • ‘Til It’s Over (15 cards). Taking the famous line from Yogi, “It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over” this set features “Legendary comebacks.”
    • Baseball Royalty (25 cards) is a Hobby and Hobby jumbo pack exclusive (translation, you’re not going to find these at your big box store). This year’s edition of the legends set.

    Autographs, relics, and the like for each of the above insert sets will be included.

    With all of the off-season transactions, it will be interesting to see many of the players with their new teams. It kind of makes sense to do this in Series 2, not so much in Series 1. Of course, they could just save it all for the Update set.  Which, if we follow the timing of the release of the first two series’ sell sheets, we will probably see previews for some time in March.

    Sincerely,

    JayBee Anama