Thursday, July 31, 2014

YDF, 7.31.14

2002 Upper Deck Vintage #62

I know these UD Vintage cards from the early '00s are blatant and unauthorized rip-offs of classic Topps designs, but you can't deny the sheer greatness of a card like this.  It's Cal, it's Camden Yards, it's baseball.  It's perfect. And it's a checklist card, to boot.


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Three for All

I was the recipient of a pretty amazin' package of cards recently, as my buddy Nick (of Dime Boxes fame) hooked me up as he so often does.  Nick's packages normally include a great assortment of cards for every corner of your collection.  This time around wasn't any different.

The package was definitively parsed into three sub-sections: Mets, Player Collection, and Horizontal Heroes (aka cards for my frankenset).

We'll start off with the Mets portion of the sampler, and the creative Piazza insert seen above.  There's a bottomless well of Piazza cards, isn't there?  And that is obviously a good thing!

A Rey Ordonez rookie from Pinnacle's Aficionado set.  All the cards from this set are of the horizontal variety.

Score's 1995 Summit Edition are a pretty underrated set, I think.  This one takes it to the next level, though, as this is an Nth Degree parallel.  The scan makes it appear as though Bobby Bo is playing in a field of television static.  I assure you it's much sexier in person.

Speaking of sexy, I'm absolutely crazy about this card of Paul Wilson.  I'm not too wild about '95 Score Select, but the Sure Shots insert set is pretty damn awesome.  I don't think I've ever come across one of these before, but I'm in love.  I think former Mets prospect Terrence Long is also featured in the Sure Shots checklist, so I'll have to add that to my want list.

Nick recently composed a thoroughly enjoyable post about this year's Panini Golden Age.  He dissected a blaster of the stuff and I have to say I'm pretty impressed with the look of the cards as well as the player assortment.  This Swoboda card is from last year's offering, which isn't chopped liver either.  One of the heroes of the '69 Miracle Mets, it's good to see Ron getting some love.

You can always count on Nick to track down a bevy of cool oddballs.  A pretty good variety here, including a great Keith Hernandez disk which prominently features the former NL MVP's dynamic 'stache.

But the highlight of the Mets section of the package has to be these SSPC cards from 1975.  I don't know how he tracks 'em down, but Nick seems to find a pretty good number of these.  I've been going to shows and combing through dime boxes for over 20 years and I can't recall ever coming across these things.  Then again, maybe I did and I just wasn't interested at that particular point in time (I've come a long way as a collector, thankfully!).

Anyhow, of trio, the card on the top left represents my first of outfielder Bob Gallagher. That's one more player to cross off the All-Time Mets Project checklist!

Okay, onto the next section of the package: Player Collection.

This one absolutely floored me.  Firstly, what an awesome action shot of Kid!  Secondly, how has this card managed to hide itself from me for over 20 years?!  Didn't have it and hadn't ever seen it.  Just goes to show you that the early-90s cards we all make fun of still contain untold numbers of great surprises.

Wow, what on earth is happening on this card?  Are we seeing Albert's dream bubble?  I wonder why Pinnacle didn't just choose one photo of the other.

A very cool bat barrel photo of Slammin' Sammy.  I think this might be my favorite year of Upper Deck MVP, by the way.

I love my Vladdy!  A fellow collector of the future Hall of Famer, Nick has really ballooned my Vlad Guerrero collection over the years.  My favorite of the handful he included was by far this Target Red Back from 2010 Topps.  I guess I didn't buy a whole lotta packs in 2010 because I never came across these retail-only inserts.  But I'd love to track down some more.

Now we're talkin'!  My main man Butch Huskey, pictured on this '99 Upper Deck card as a member of the Mariners.  It's horizontal, it's Butch, it's wonderful!

Also from '99 UD, this Jay Bell card is pretty handsome.  I kinda wish the D-Backs would go back to their original uniform.  Then again, didn't they have about a dozen official uniforms back then?  I like the pinstripes with the purple and turquoise, personally.

All right, some Gabes!  I guess my pursuit of Gabe or Garbiel cards (in honor of my son) has more or less morphed into a player collection for Gabe Kapler since he's the most noted of the ballplayers born with that name.  And, I'm okay with that.  Kapler is a pretty cool dude.  I even follow him on Twitter!

Okay, and now we finish with a flourish with the "Horizontal Heroes" section.

Undoubtedly a slam-dunk inclusion into the HH frankenset.  Longtime MLB backstop Charles Johnson tagging out a runner from... Team Cuba??  Yup, I had to look it up to make sure I wasn't hallucinating.  Just a tremendous card!

Oh. My.  This unique card will be filed into my Jay Bell collection.

This is another one that'll be funneled into the player collection area.  The D-Train is a guy who I only casually collect, but I'd like to kick that into high gear at some point.  This one, from 2004 Topps Cracker Jack, is a fine addition.

Yessiree!  Some more brilliance from Stadium Club.  You could probably put together a horizontal frankenset of all TSC cards rather easily.  There are just so many!

And, I've saved the best for last...

The Giants win the pennant!  The Giants win the pennant!

And this might be the most interesting and historical card to make the HH frankenset.  I'm proud to own this one!

As usual, you've bestowed a fun and fantastic batch of cardboard upon me, Nick.  Many thanks!


YDF, 7.30.14

1988 Donruss #31

In 1996, Lance Johnson produced one of the greatest singular seasons by a Mets player ever.  Among the eye-popping numbers were a .333 average, 50 steals, 227 hits and 21 triples--the latter two totals representing league-bests.  So, I'm a Lance Johnson guy through and through when it comes to baseball cards, regardless of what jersey he's wearing.  In 1988, Donruss and Fleer included Lance in their base sets.  Topps did not, though he did make it into that year's Topps Big checklist, strangely enough.


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

YDF, 7.29.14

2014 Panini Prizm Rookie Reign Prizms #1

A recent card show pickup, this one has a refractor-like coating on it, but because it's not a Topps card it's not called a "refractor."  Unless I'm wrong, I think they refer to these as "Prizms" with an 's' on the end.  Anyway, d'Arnaud (with a small 'd') had another big homer for the Mets last night.


Monday, July 28, 2014

YDF, 7.28.14

2003 Topps Total #69

Did you know that Ellis Burks finished third in NL MVP voting in 1996?  He cracked 40 homers, scored 142 runs and compiled a .344 that season.  Had to believe those kind of numbers only get you third place.  Anyhow, this is Burks' second of three Topps Total cards he'd have.  His appearance as a Red Sock in the 2004 set was one of the final cards produced of the former first-round draft pick.


Sunday, July 27, 2014

YDF, 7.27.14

2010 Topps National Chicle #300

So this is a short print from 2010's National Chicle set.  The SP portion of the Chicle checklist is a veritable Dr. Frankenstein experiment littered with, among other things, latter-day players depicted in modern uniforms as well as present-day guys in throwback threads (see above).  It's all very confusing if you ask me.  But, I like Desmond and I this card a lot and was happy to find it in a dime box a couple years ago.


Saturday, July 26, 2014

YDF, 7.26.14

1984 Topps #757

Think of Joe Pesci from My Cousin Vinny and then take a look at Larry Bowa's face in the main batting photo.  Is that a match or what?  Anyhow, this is Bowa's third Topps card as a Cubbie (that includes his '82 Traded issue). It also happens to be his next-to-last Topps card as an active player.  After his '85 card, Bowa would return to cardboard in the '87 Traded set as the manager of the Padres.


Friday, July 25, 2014

Four Topps, #72

It's time once again to dive back into everyone's favorite era of Topps baseball -- the overproduction or "junk wax" era.  It's my favorite era because it's the one that coincided with my entry into collecting.  So, I'll always have a soft spot for these cards.  No matter how ugly or boring you think '89 or '90 Topps are, I'll always stick up for 'em!

Okay, so in today's edition of Four Topps, we'll examine card No. 72 in the Topps sets ranging from 1987 to 1990.  As always, a hat tip to for the subject of today's study.

Here we go...!


Originally a Met, Walt Terrell was involved in a couple of pretty important trades for the New Yorkers.  He was acquired along with Ron Darling in exchange for Lee Mazzilli prior to the 1982 season and was later flipped to the Tigers in December of '84 for Howard Johnson.  Darling and HoJo, of course, were both important pieces to the Mets' championship in '86.  This is Terrell's third card as a Tiger; he first appeared in Detroit garb in the '85 Traded series.  Hey, Stat Man:  Hurled nine complete games, including a pair of shutouts, for the Tigers during the 1986 season.


One of the great pitchers the game has ever known, Eckersley would discover true stardom as the closer the Athletics during the 1988 campaign.  With 390 saves, a Cy Young Award and an MVP on his career ledger, Eck rightfully belongs among the immortals in Cooperstown.  This is his first Oakland A's card from a regular Topps set, though he also was included in the '87 Traded series in Athletics attire.  Hey, Stat Man:  Appeared in a career-high 54 games and logged 16 saves for Oakland in 1987.


John Moses signed a free agent contract with the Twins right at the start of the 1988 season and, thus, was still shown as a Mariner (his former club) on all of his '88 cards.  The exception being Fleer, which granted him a card as a Minnesotan in its '88 Update set.  So, this is Moses' first Twins card, if that excites you any.  Hey, Stat Man:  Crafted a .316 BA over 206 at-bats for Minnesota in 1987.


This is Jeff Huson's rookie card, though his bigger splash came the following year when Topps bestowed upon him the illustrious Rookie Cup on his '91 card.  Huson, a native of Scottsdale, AZ, was traded from Montreal to Texas at the dawn of the '90 season, thus landing him a card in the Topps' 1990 Traded set, as well.  Hey, Stat Man:  Appeared in only 32 games for the Expos in 1989, collecting a total of 12 hits and two RBIs.

And the Winner Is:  Not the most enthralling lot of cards, but the Hall of Famer Eckersley spices things up a bit.  I'll give Eck the nod over Terrell and his mustache.


YDF, 7.25.14

2008 Topps Yankees Team Set #NYY10

In my opinion, the photo choice for Joba's card from the 2008 Yankees Team Set surely blows the doors off his regular flagship issue.  And that's not to say his regular Topps card isn't good, because it is.  But I just have a thing for this one.  Yet another reason why the Topps Team Sets are occasionally a worthwhile purchase.


Thursday, July 24, 2014

YDF, 7.24.14

1990 Topps Batting Leaders #12

These special "Top Active Career Batting Leaders" cards were K-Mart exclusives found in 100-card blister packs of 1990 Topps (one per pack).  K-Mart/Topps did the same thing in 1989, though the cards from that year had red borders.  I guess these things are kinda rare since--depending on the player--some of the cards from this set carry a somewhat bloated asking price on eBay, etc.  However, you can probably find a copy of this Lansford for a buck or cheaper.


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

YDF, 7.23.14

2006 Upper Deck #228

Aaahhh, the elusive Jose Lima.  I finally found this card at a recent show for a dime.  Though he's not in the appropriate uniform, this is Lima's lone entry into the Mets baseball card catalog (as far as I know) and one of the final cards produced of the late Dominican right-hander.  Normally, I require the card to bear an image of the player in a NYM uniform, but I'll bend the rules for Lima and add this to my All-Time Mets Project collection.


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Twelve on the Horizon

I've been sitting on (not literally, mind you) a stack of pretty cool horizontal cards that I picked up from about a month or so ago.  I've been meaning to scan 'n post a bunch of them, but you know how that goes.

Anyhow, without any further blithering or blathering, here are a dozen cards from that lot that have made the cut--at least for right now--for my Horizontal Heroes frankenset.

Up top, we lead off with a 1993 Score Select Kevin Seitzer which has captured card No. 87 in the frankenset.  I don't recall '93 Select having a ton of horizontal shots, but this one has got to be one of the most interesting in the set.  If not THE most interesting.

2013 Topps Update #US90

I'm trying to be conscious of not admitting too many cards from the current decade, but that's a tough task when you consider how many photographic gems Topps has churned out.  This card gets bonus points for Chase Utley's out-of-character exuberance and also for the fact that Michael Young was a Phillie for a hot second.

1996 Score #108

There are about a zillion great horizontal cards featuring catchers in the throes of action at or around the plate.  If you're not careful, you could probably do an entire frankenset strictly comprised of such cards.  Not that that's a bad thing, but a little variety doesn't hurt.  In the case of this '96 Score McFarlane, it's too good to ignore.

1995 Upper Deck #114

Any time you can find a horizontal card of a pitcher doing something outside his accepted norm, you tend to gravitate towards it.  That's clearly the case with Rob Nen's 1995 Upper Deck issue.

1999 Stadium Club #127

Like so many other neat cards, I believe I first became aware of this one via Nick's Dime Boxes blog.  I immediately made sure to add it onto my 'want' list at Just Commons.  I think this might be one of four or five Brady Anderson cards that currently reside in the HH frankenset.  A strange coincidence, I assure you.  Then again, I don't have anything against Brady.  After all, he happens to be Mrs. K's favorite player of all-time (well, at least the one not named 'Cal').

2001 Fleer Ultra #132

Throwback jerseys on cards are always deserving of bonus points, especially when it comes to truly old-timey ones like the A's boasted back in 2000.  On top of that, Stairs is such a cool player to include in the set.  He looks pretty natural in that wool jersey, does he not?

2008 UD First Edition #213

Remember what I mentioned about catcher cards?  Well, I couldn't resist this one, either.  The hockey-style mask plus the fact that it's John Buck--a former Met--ensures that this one joins the fray.

2010 Topps Update #US-231

I had to find a way to work a 'Gabe' card into the mix, and this one was an easy choice.  Then again, whether the name on the front was Gabe or Marty or Ezekiel, this card would have made the cut because it's such a unique photo choice.  I love how horizontal shots work on the 2010 Topps design.

1995 Score #432

A second card featuring a Phillies celebration?  I must be getting soft in my old age.  No matter the team, a card depicting a dugout welcome will almost always receive a favorable reception.

1994 Pinnacle #523

Dunston is another one of those guys that I really wanted to work into the set, and this '94 Pinnacle card fits the bill nicely.  At first glance you might be tempted to dismiss it as ordinary.  But, take a look at the placement of the baseball and where it's frozen for eternity.  Pretty cool.

1992 Topps #550

A stone-cold, lead pipe lock for inclusion in the HH frankenset.  Along with Doc Gooden's '92 Stadium Club classic, this is one of those cards that will not be budged from its spot for any reason beyond ludicrous bribery.

2006 Upper Deck #566

And we'll finish on a sizzling note with this 2006 masterpiece from 2006 Upper Deck.  I don't know much about Pablo Ozuna, but judging from this action sequence, I like the way he plays the game.  And could that be loopy MLB Tonight analyst Eric Byrnes he's about to engulf?  It truly doesn't get any better than that.