Thursday, November 29, 2012


Probably like everyone else out there who collects baseball cards and has a computer (or tablet or iPhone or toaster or any number of devices that allows you to browse the internet), I frequent Check Out My Cards, or COMC for short.  Yet, I've never bought cards off the site before.  Probably because I wasn't at peace with the shipping costs.  It certainly had nothing to do with the selection and card prices -- both of which are usually awesome.

But, then came Black Friday.  And with it an email from the good folks at COMC, touting a bevy of discounts and free shipping teasers, etc.  So, since I'm obsessed, my first thought was to check out what sort of price slashing had come upon SPs from the 2012 Heritage set.  And, boy there were plenty!

Not only were the dealer prices of every 2012 short print greatly reduced, but COMC agreed to eat the shipipng cost if you bought 10 items or more.  Essentially, this was the perfect storm for me!

Normally, I have a personal policy of not buying anything for myself beyond Thanksgiving (save for life essentials like food and toothpaste and toilet paper and such).  But, I had to make an exception in this instance.  I mean who knows when I was going to find SPs this cheap again.

Thus, I made a deal with myself that I'd break my ethical code under one condition: Do not cross the $20 threshold.  Or, the price of a typical blaster box.

Well, after an hour or so of adding and removing things from my virtual shopping cart, I finally created a combination of cards that worked out to exactly 20 bucks on the button.

One of those cards is the Ichiro SP above.  I knew I had to make this one of my choices, since I have his High Numbers card in the binder already.  Wouldn't be right not to have his last card as an M.

I also managed to pick up the last lousy Met from 2012 Heritage.  And fittingly, that player no longer calls Queens his home...

I kinda wrestled with the idea of using one of my choices on this bum.  But, I mean, I have to stay true my Mets I guess.  Plus, it was one of the cheapest cards in my cart.

Then there were a couple of Rookie Cuppers, thus polishing off that subset...

Next to Ichiro, the Dee Gordon card was the priciest.  But, that isn't really an admonishment when none of the cards eclipse the two-dollar mark.  Plus, I really like that Gordon card!

Here're a pair of young sluggers...

For the same reasons that I love Steve Lombardozzi's short print, I really dig this Hosmer card.  A very unique choice for the main photograph, plus the smaller inset photo is great also.  Both of these were "musts" when I was tossing cards into my cart.

A couple of accomplished  hurlers from the American League also made the cut...

With second base artfully positioned over his left shoulder, I have to wonder if the background in the Weaver card was artificially generated.  If not, great job Topps!  Nothing to dislike about the classic pose in the Shields card, either.

And then there are these nine guys...

I know it's only perception, but it feels like there are about 37 Marlins cards sprinkled through the 75-card short print checklist.  And check out the terrible Photoshop job on Jonathan Sanchez's cap.  Looks like the boys at Topps just kinda mailed that one in. 

Hey, not too shabby.  Seventeen SPs from the 2012 Topps set, collectively gotten for under $20.  And that whittles my short print "Wanted" list down to just 23.  Hard to believe!

What's that?  Oh, yes, that's true.  Earlier I said that I spent $20 on the dot, yet in the preceding paragraph I referenced an "under $20" purchase of Heritage cards. 

Okay, so actually that's not a continuity boo-boo.  You see, I have an embarrassing error to report.  I previously reported some time ago that I had put the lid on the 2012 Archives set.  However, upon further review, your's truly fudged up his checklist.  Turns out that I was still one card shy of a full 200-card deck.

No worries, though.  For 40-cents of my recent COMC purchase, I rectified that problem!  I still feel kinda silly nonetheless.  I pretty much made a big deal about finishing the set.  But, hey, I came clean to everyone, so that has to count for something.

All in all, my first COMC experience was fully worthy of five out of five stars.  The site is a breeze to navigate; the card images are clear and vibrant; and the shipping time was under one week.  To tell the truth, I wasn't expecting to see these cards for quite some time.  I guess I was under the false impression that the packaging and shipping process was more snail-like.  I was glad to be wrong!

And since I'm being honest in this post, I'll tell you that it took every fiber of my being to resist pulling the trigger on one more group of SPs.  Up until 10 p.m. on the night of Cyber Monday I was going to submit an order for 10 more cards.  You know, 10 so I could take advantage of the free shipping.  It's such a good freakin' deal, and the cards were so cheap!  The shopping cart was loaded up and everything.

Alas, I exercised some self-restraint and turned the ol' laptop off and went to bed without committing to buy.  A very big step for such a weak, little man.

I'm hoping we won't have to wait til next Black Friday weekend for another COMC discount bonanza.


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Fun with Heritage, 3rd Edition

Hey gang!  Time for another installment of "Fun with Heritage," where we compare today's Topps Heritage cards with their vintage predecessors.

Sticking with the 2012 Heritage set (as we have with the first two editions), we'll take a look at card No. 183 and see how well it matches up to it's 1963 counterpart.

First, we'll go way back to '63 to see what player was represented on No. 183...

1963 Topps, #183

The back of the card foretells that Joe Pepitone is primed to make a bid for the Bombers' regular first base job in the wake of the Moose Skowron trade.  It also touts him as a "youngster" who "can hit for power."  Well, they were right on all counts, as the Brooklyn native popped 27 homers in 157 games for the Yankees in 1963.  Pepitone played 12 seasons in the majors, eight of which were spent as a Pinstriper.  He totaled 219 long balls for his career, maxing out with a 31-homer campaign in '66.  This card represents Pepitone's first stand alone card; his cardboard debut was a "Rookie Parade" card (No. 596) in the '62 set which featured Pepi and three other rookie infielders.

And now we flashforward to 2012 Topps Heritage...

2012 Heritage, #183

While Pepitone had barely cut his teeth in the bigs when his '63 card dropped, this 2012 Heritage card finds Mark Teixeira a nine-year veteran.  Tex had just completed his third season as New York's first baseman in 2011, a year that once again saw him swat at least 30 homers and drive in 100-plus RBIs.  The factoid on the back of the card places Teixeira in elite company:  "Mark, Albert Pujols and Miguel Cabrera are the only three men with 100 HRs, 300 RBI and 300 Rs since 2009."  Like Pepitone before him, Teixeira is a defensive whiz at first base.  His 2012 Gold Glove is the fifth in his trophy case.

The Final Say:  Tex has the upper hand on Pepi in Gold Gloves (5 to 3) and World Series rings (1 to zip), but the former is a Maryland kid.  And, well, there is something to be said about a handsome, Italian-American lad from Brooklyn who plays first base for the New York Yankees.  Advantage: Pepitone.


Previous "Fun with Heritage" features:
2nd Edition:  1963/2012, card No. 111
Seminal:  1963/2012, card No. 124

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Exploring '73 Topps

In a previous post, I mentioned I picked up a few cards from the 1973 Topps set at a local card show recently. Other than a solitary Vida Blue card, I had no other representatives in my collection from this vintage set.  For that reason, '73 Topps possess a mysterious aura to it.  One that has given me the itch to discover the many wonders that have been heretofore hidden to me.

Thus, last at Sunday's show I made it a point to search out some affordable '73s.  I found one dealer that had three tables full of neatly organized boxes of Topps cards from the early '60s to mid '70s, mostly commons, but all basically in pack-fresh shape.  So, I dug in.

The first card I came across that captured my attention was the above Jim Fregosi card.  Now, even though I'm not overly familiar with this year of Topps cards, I had gathered from the many wonderful blogs out there that '73 Topps features some of the best and most unique photography from this era of cards.  The Fregosi card provides pretty solid proof of that.  This is such a terrific action shot.  There's so much going on, from the field to the dugout to the stands.

Off to a great start!

Here are my other acquisitions...

These two cards were no-brainer purchases, for me anyways.  While Tom Seaver was and is The Franchise of the Mets, Ed Kranepool represented the team's ironman, if you will.  He debuted as a 17-year-old on the original Mets in 1962 and played 18 seasons in Flushing -- a record that will never be bested.  Meanwhile, Dave Kingman, an ornery figure to say the least, swatted 442 homers playing for seven teams over 16 years.

Another tremendous picture, this one from a curious angle.  Where exactly was this photog perched?  In any event, we see Patek -- who led the AL in putouts and double plays in 1971 -- turning the trick here.

Gotta love the old Braves uniforms.  This Evans card is from early in his career.  He had established career-highs with 19 long balls and 71 RBIs in 1972.  Petrocelli, on the other hand, was already a well-established major leaguer.  He carved out a nice 13-year career in Boston which included a 40-homer campaign in 1969.

This might be my favorite card of the lot.  Awesome photo of a very good major leaguer.  Simmons, who would craft three 100-RBI seasons over the course of his career, was coming off a 16 homer, 96 RBI season for the Cards -- his third full year in the bigs.  He was an All-Star and finished 10th in NL MVP voting in '72.

Last, but certainly not least, comes a card which perfectly captures the essence of what I was hoping 1973 Topps would represent:

The back of the card lets us know that Mr. Day's real first name is Charles.  It does not, however, provide any clues as to this one-of-a-kind nickname.  Regardless, looks like ol' Boots is caught in a pickle here.  A rundown, perhaps?  I love how we also get an out of focus look of the catcher in the foreground, as he jogs down the line to provide backup.  Great card, great name!

While it's not a huge start, these seven cards have provided me with enough to want to continue my journey through the world of 1973 Topps.  I'm certainly in no rush with this project, but I'll absolutely be on the lookout for more vintage boxes at future cards shows.  


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Reasons to be Thankful, Pt. 2

Wait, don't get the wrong idea.  I am NOT thankful for the Philadelphia Phillies.  On the contrary, I rue the fact that they exist and that I'm forced to live in the heart of their media market.

Okay, now that I've cleared that up, let me explain further why I am thankful.  In the mail Wednesday came a trade package from Michael, the purveyor of the baseball blog Grubby Glove.  Michael dropped me an line last week hoping to work out a swap of 2012 Heritage SP cards.  I had a couple duplicates he needed, and he had a few off my list.

In addition to that, however, he also offered up 13 base cards off my 'Wanted' list.  At the time of our email exchange, I only needed 14 more cards to put 2012 Heritage to bed.  But after I snagged card No. 154 -- the Don Mattingly manager card -- at Sunday's hobby show, that number was reduced to 13.

That means Michael had the final pieces for my Heritage '12 base set, and he was sending them Delaware bound.

My heart be still!

Well, those 13 base cards plus three wonderful short prints were contained the yellow mailer that was nestled into my mailbox when I got home yesterday.  Among them, the above Phillies team card.

Plus these:

And these:

And don't forget about the short prints:

So, yet another hobby-related reason to be thankful: A completed 2012 Heritage base set.  One that I've been working towards since Mrs. K, err, I mean the Easter Bunny put a retail blaster in my Easter basket.

And it's been quite a fun journey along the way.  Lots of blaster boxes and blister packages and rack packs were ripped, and a Mickey Mantle 1/1 cut signature was discovered.  But, most importantly, a new baseball card love affair with Topps Heritage was forged.  One that I will hopefully enjoy for many years to come.

Michael, I can't thank you enough for helping me bring closure to this set.  And for adding a few big pieces to my ongoing quest for the short print checklist.  Happy Thanksgiving to you, sir!

And to all of you out there reading this, as well.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Reasons to be Thankful, Pt. 1

Howdy, all!  And an early Happy Thanksgiving to everybody.

ARPSmith's newest weekly Wednesday contest asks us bloggers/collectors to conjure up a reason (or reasons) to be thankful, as it pertains to our beloved hobby.

Well, it just so happens a recent trade package from Marcus at All the Way to the Backstop contained the ingredients which will allow me to do just that.

For starters, the above R.A. Dickey '87 Mini card from this year's Update set.  I'm thankful I got to watch and root for this year's NL Cy Young winner, as he pitched game after inspiring game for my beloved Mets.

And, speaking of the Mets...

Yup, I'm even thankful for those Amazin' Mets.  Yeah, they give me heartburn when they're actually good, and they put me in the dumps when they're bad.  But, for better or worse, they're my favorite team and that won't change.  Mostly because it's something I can share -- and have shared my whole life -- with both my father and grandfather.  Watching Mets games with the two of them are moments and memories I wouldn't trade for anything.

While we're on the topic of family, I am absolutely thankful for my mother.

What, 1990 Topps Stickers don't make you think of your mom?  Okay, let me explain.  My mom is a selfless person in every way imaginable.  And that even extended to card collecting when I was younger.  Whether it was driving me to a local card show, surprising me with packs of cards, or taking me to Caldor in the pouring rain so I could get a 1990 Topps Sticker album kit, Mom was there.  No kidding, I still remember the storm I made my poor mother drive through.  I also remember my dad being pretty sore at me once he found out!

Of course I'm thankful for the late, great Gary Carter, who was one of my heroes growing up.  But, this card is from a Milton Bradley board game, which reminds me of my sister and the many hours we spent playing board games as kids.  My sister is three years my elder, and we always had a great relationship growing up.  We never fought like most siblings tend to...except when it came to board games.  Because, you know, sometimes she would try to cheat.  Or, better yet, when I didn't feel like playing a certain game, she would pull my hair until I agreed.  Ah, memories...

Oh, you know what else I'm thankful for in our wonderful hobby?  Oddball cards!

I'm on record regarding these Cap'n Crunch cards -- I love 'em!  It's pretty cool that they're starting to pop up regularly in a lot of these re-packs from Target and such.  I've been lucky because Marcus has hooked me up with quite a few of these bad boys.

And, speaking of Marcus, well, I'm thankful for Marcus.

Not just because he sends me awesome baseball cards on a somewhat regular basis, including these two 2012 Heritage black bordered parallels.  But, in a broader sense, he was the first person I really formed a bond with in this blogging universe.  After all, his blog inspired me to start up my own little operation.  Anyhow, he's a good soul and a very generous trading partner.

Marcus, good buddy, thanks for the cards, as always.  And I wish you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving!


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

My Favorite Card is... a Red Sock?!

I've thought long and hard over this subject, and I can't promise that this truth will be the same tomorrow.  Or even a few hours from now.  But, I think this 1975 Carl Yastrzemski card, which I bought at a mall show many years ago, may be my favorite card.

Coming from a Mets fan since birth, it's rather odd that this would be my favorite.  Yet, the more I think it over, the more it seems perfectly normal.

I mean, the last name alone draws me to this player.  He has a long Polish last name, I have a long Polish last name.  His nickname is Yaz, my nickname is Kaz.  He wore sideburns for a long stretch of his career, I wore sideburns for most of my mid-to-late 20s.  He won the AL Triple Crown in 1967, I won the 8th grade geography bee at Applegarth Middle School.

The parallels are as startling as they are boundless.

And, of course, this is a '75 Topps card we're talking about.  This is perhaps the most unusual and awesome design from the long and beautiful history of Topps baseball cards.  The colors and the fonts and the little baseball in the bottom right corner.  It's nearly perfection, if perfection existed.

Furthermore, I realized that there a lot of players on my all-time favorites list who wore the Red Sox laundry. Pedro Martinez immediately jumps to mind, as he is my absolute favorite pitcher ever.  And, I marvel at Manny Ramirez, therefore I horde his cards at all possible opportunities.  I like Big Papi cos he's a big, jolly, fat guy who plays the game with a kid's enthusiasm and a man's strength.  I was Nomar fan the first time I saw him play in the minors when he was 'the guy with the silly name who plays for the Trenton Thunder'.  Of the Big Three shortstops from the mid-90s, he was always the guy I argued was the best at the time.

See?  I have this, like, subconscious Red Sox fetish.  I'm sure if I sat on an analyst's sofa for a while, he or she might determine that my extreme hatred for the Yankees throughout my adolescence brought upon this deep-down affinity for Boston baseball stars.

Helping me further this realization in recent times was Adam at Thoughts and Sox.  We worked out a trade a week or so back in which I helped him fill some gaps in his enormous Red Sox collection -- which was not very easy, mind you.  The guy has a gazillion Red Sox cards!  In exchange, he flipped me a stack of Pedro's and Papi's.

I don't have David Ortiz listed under my official 'Player Collection' tab on this blog, but he's a guy who I enjoy collecting.  Of those cards Adam sent me, I think this 2009 Chrome is by far the best.  Sometimes Topps misses the mark when they do these horizontal landscapes, but this isn't one of those instances.

Now, on the other hand, Pedro Martinez is most definitely a player I openly collect.

I love these All-Star Game cards from the Upper Deck Forty Man set.  The colors and composition combined with a good photo and the Milwaukee ASG logo make this card a real winner.  This is before Pedro started sporting his Smokey Robinson hairdo, by the way.

So, I guess it's not so strange that a card of a Red Sox legend might be my favorite baseball card of all time. And it's certainly nothing for this Mets fan with a long Polish last name and a raging hatred for the Yankees to be ashamed of.

By the way, Adam, thanks for a great trade.  And for also furthering my Red Sox 'thing'.

Whatever it may be.


Monday, November 19, 2012

Some Sunday Card Show Action

Another monthly sports card show arrived at my local fire hall this past Sunday.  And with it came sundry cardboard goodies for my collection.

Among my pickups were a few attractive vintage cards, including the above Luis Aparicio "In Action" card from 1972 Topps.  I didn't have any cards of Luis in my collection previously, and for 75-cents, I couldn't pass this one up.  Plus, I haven't come across too many '72s in such nice condition that aren't horribly miscut.  At least not in the discount boxes.

I also picked up this pair from the same table:

Rusty's 1966 Topps card is obviously cool at first glance, and made even cooler by the fact that -- upon closer inspection -- the photo was snapped at Shea Stadium!  And, after fishing through a good number of 1965 commons, I came across this nice, crisp Al Jackson card.  This is my second card of this original Met.

From a different table, I picked up eight cards from the 1973 Topps set.  I've been meaning to dip my toe into the wonderful world of '73 Topps for a long time now, and finally did so on this occasion.  Nothing groundbreaking, as the priciest card of the lot was $1.50.  But, I'm really enamored with these cards.  I'll save them for a future post, though.

One of my favorite vendors -- and a fellow supporter of Manchester United -- always has quarter boxes chock full of cards to satisfy any cardboard craving.  Since I was short on time (I only gave myself two hours since it was a football Sunday), I only sorted through one box, but found some nice prizes:

I'm definitely a fan of the "Then & Now" insert set from the Heritage series.  I especially love the Piazza and Yogi specimen.

But, undoubtedly the craziest and most satisfying find of the show was the last table I stopped at.  A father and son combo, sporting a Colts sweatshirt and Robert Griffin III jersey respectively, were displaying a group of 3,200-count boxes at their location.  No big deal at first sight, until I read the sign adoring the front of the nearest box:

"25 cards for $1"

Now, even me and my Radio/TV/Film degree can do that math:  four cents per card.

Yes, please!

Now, I know what you're thinking.  Junk Wax City!  Well, sure, there were a good amount of lovable cards from that era.  But, there were certainly a ton of quality cards in there, too.

And, I nearly jumped out of my shorts when I came across this:

A 2012 Heritage short-print that I didn't have!!  And, not just any short-print, but No. 451, Steve Lombardozzi.  I've secretly really, really, really wanted this card for a long time because, well, this is such a unique photo.  And to snag it for less than a nickel was probably the biggest thrill of the show.

Some other surprises from this 25-for-a-buck box included a decent run of 2012 Topps Minis.

Hey, that works for me!  In addition to this Brett Lawrie rookie, I was able to grab nearly the entire Mets team set, save for David Wright.  I'm not in love with the minis because the odd size drives me crazy, but, Lord, for that price I could afford to ignore my OCD.

Here are some other highlights from the 25-for-1 box:

The black-bordered Sugar Ray Marimon card from the 2012 Heritage Minors set was a must-have.  Not just because it's a short-print, but because he pitched this past year for my local Wilmington Blue Rocks -- the Royals' high-A farm team.

So after I was done raking through this box, I turned my attention to the one directly next to it.  Same dealer, but this next box out-did the previous.  I mean, it's pretty hard to one-up a box that hawks four-cent cards, right?

Well, how about a penny box!

Now, between you and me, I didn't sense that much difference between the 25-for-1 box and the penny box. Other than the presence of the Heritage SP Easter eggs in the former, the quality and condition of the cards was nearly identical.  But, what the heck?  No sense quibbling over mere cents.  I happily grabbed 100 cards for a buck and called it a day.

Oh, but actually I made one more stop before I darted for the parking lot.  I needed five more cards to cap off my 2012 Update set, among them the following Chris Iannetta card:

I located Mr. Iannetta and his four friends from the table of a very organized dealer, and was now officially done with another monthly card show -- my last of 2012.

I'd have to chalk this show up as a resounding success.  In addition to completing another set, I found a coveted SP for my 2012 Heritage pursuit, gained a few great vintage cards, and added a bunch of cards to my player collections.  And I didn't have to break the bank to do it.

The next card show can't arrive soon enough!


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Happy Birthday, Tom Terrific!

'Tis the birthday of the greatest New York Met ever, Mr. George Thomas Seaver.

Born on this date (Nov. 17) in 1944, Tom Terrific is the only Mets player to have his uniform number retired (Hodges and Stengel, too, but as managers).

Here are some "terrific" facts about Tom:

- Etched 311 wins over a brilliant 20-year career
- Career strikeout mark of 3,640 is sixth-highest total in history
- Was the NL ROY in 1967, posting a 16-13 record and a 2.76 ERA
- Captured the NL Cy Young Award three times (1969, '73, '75)
- Holds the Mets single-season record with a whopping 25 wins ('69)
- Nine-time All-Star Game participant
- Elected to the Hall of Fame in 1992

Happy Birthday, Mr. Seaver!


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Two Phillies and a Tiger walk into a bar...

...and totally... 

...complete my...

...Topps Series 2 base set!

[Ed. Note: Oh, I know, that was dreadful. But it had to be done...]

Today's mail delivery turned what had been a forgettable day -- replete with an agonizing trip to the dentist -- into an absolute winner.  Jason from Alaska, who happens to be the man behind Jason's Card Therapy, contacted me last week and was gracious enough to offer up the final three cards I needed to polish off my Series 2 checklist.  

And today, the much-anticipated envelope containing those three cards arrived.  It figures two of the pesky cards that I was missing were stinkin' Phillies, but I digress.  I'm just thrilled to finally complete the quest.

Jason, many thanks to you, sir.  You've made me a very happy collector today!


Monday, November 12, 2012

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner (2006 Heritage)

Most of you already know this, but Adam at ARPSmith's Sportscard Obsession runs a weekly Wednesday contest.  And the prizes for winning those contests are pretty snazzy.  Usually it just involves leaving a comment on a specified post and hoping your name comes up roses via a randomizer application.

This time around, it was a World Series prediction contest.  My guesses of "Giants in six" and "Sandoval as MVP" and "39 total runs" generated enough contest points to out-score the rest.

Thus... Jackpot!

As a contest winner, you get to peruse the prize page and choose your spoils.  There were some great relic cards, even a few nice vintage.  But, my attention was immediately drawn to a random 50-card lot of 2006 Topps Heritage cards.

This being the first year that I've really fallen into the Heritage trance, I missed out on a lot of great cards -- and a lot of outstanding retro designs -- over the past decade or so.  One of those years that passed me by was '06, which paid homage to the 1957 Topps set.  A pretty basic, yet attractive design.

So I was naturally anxious to get these cards and see what the 2006 Heritage set had to offer.

Well, I wasn't disappointed.  Adam put together a great assortment of players, including some big-time names -- like Gary Sheffield, above.  And, as they seem to do with the Heritage sets, Topps hit a home run with the photography.  Classic poses mixed with some good in-game action shots makes for a nice set.

Here's a look at some of my other favorites from the winning lot:

Andruw was coming off a 51-homer season for the Braves in 2005, and there were fewer hotter names in collecting.  Albert Pujols, one of those names, eked out the NL MVP vote over Jones that season.

At the tender age of 39, Maddux tossed 225 innings and posted a 13-15 mark for the Cubs in '05.

For a man with lumberjack strength, this pose is tremendously appropriate for Thome, who had just wrapped up a three-year run in Philadelphia.

Speaking of Philly, Utley's 2005 season for the Phillies was a breakthrough affair, to put it mildly.  In 147 games, Chase cracked 28 homers with 105 RBIs.  A star was born.

Did you know Greinke's actual first name is Donald?  Well, Donald Zackary Greinke lost 17 games for the Royals in 2005 and was still a few seasons away from putting his anxiety issues behind him.

A very svelte K-Rod was at the top of his game in the mid-00s.  He dominated AL batters en route to compiling 194 saves from 2005 to 2008.  A few years later, he would hit fast food joints hard and give Mets fans heartburn while figuring out new ways to blow 9th-inning leads.  I digress, though.

Good ol' Johan.  It looks like he's hunching over to fit into the frame of the card.  Appropriate, since he was a larger-than-life ace for the Twins, and then the Mets.  Sadly I think his best days are behind him due to arm issues.  At least he gave the gift of a no-hitter to Mets fans in 2012.

And finally...

Whoa!  Big boy!  I can't say I was previously familiar witih Walter Young.  At first glance, it appears one of the linemen from Baltimore Ravens stumbled into the Orioles' photo session.  And, after checking him out at, it appears that scenario isn't too far fetched.  His major league career spanned 14 games over the 2005 season.  And, oh yeah, his uniform number?  How about 75.

So there it is.  Count me as a fan of 2006 Topps Heritage.  I can't say I'll be working on this base set any time soon, though.  Too much work to be done on this year's set, plus I'm already pretty deep into the 2011 edition also.  But, it's great to add these cards to my collection.

And, remember, if you haven't taken part in any of Adam's contests, make sure you hop on over to his blog each Wednesday and throw your hat in the ring!