Completed insert set – 2016 Pressed into Service

5 12 2016

When I finished this set, I wasn’t expecting this to actually be a finished set at that point.  This was one Topps really could have done each series and made a 30 card set.

Info about the set:

Set description:  “When their teams needed them most, these 10 position players ventured into unfamiliar territory.”  The front has a picture of the position player who was forced into a pitching situation, with a background that prominently features baseball stitches.

Set composition:  10 cards, 1:8 (2016 Topps series 1)

Hall of Famers:  2. Wade Boggs, Stan Musial.

How I put the set together:

  • 7 cards from my series 1 HTA jumbo box
  • 4 cards from a trade

Card that completed my set: #PIS-5 – Paul O’Neill

2016-topps-pressed-into-service-oneill

I got this as one of 4 cards in trade from 30 dollar habit.

Thoughts on the set:  I love the set and my main complaint is that Topps only did it in series 1.  C’mon!  There are so many other great instances of position players pitching.  From Babe Ruth coming back to show he could still pitch, to Mark Grace giving up David Ross’ first homer, to David Ross hitting a homer as a pitcher.  Jimmie Foxx, Ted Williams and Adam Dunn all have stories to tell.  There are so many great options!

Best card (my opinion): #PIS-3 – Jose Canseco

2016 Topps Pressed Into Service front

Canseco is the most fun out of all these guys, though I like the Ichiro story from last year as well.

Best Reds card (my opinion):  Paul O’Neill is the only one.

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O’Neill came in to pitch in a blowout loss in 1987.  Wish they could have found a shot from the actual game.

Here’s the whole set.

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2016-topps-pressed-into-service-swisher

Any other tidbits:  Musial was the one that seemed to stick out as not belonging.  He was a pitcher coming up in the minors, but only had one instance where he was “pressed into service” in the bigs.  He pitched to one batter in 1952 and didn’t get an out.  I wish Topps had put more about the actual pitching appearance.  Musial faced Cubs hitter Frank Baumholtz and threw just one pitch.  It was a gimmick because the Cubs and Cardinals were officially out of the pennant chase, but Baumholtz had an extreme outside chance to catch Musial for the batting title.  Musial came in from the outfield to face him in the first inning. Baumholtz grounded to third, reached on an error, and ended his batting title prayer.  Musial has the strange stat line of facing one hitter, not giving up a walk, hit or HBP, but not also having no credit for any portion of an inning.  He has to be tied for the least innings pitched of any pitcher in MLB history!





Saturdays Suds: Baseball & Beer #73 Lagunitas IPA “W”

3 12 2016

I’m fresh of watching the Big Ten championship game – what a finish!  But it can’t top the finish of the World Series.  As a Chicago resident, I got to enjoy that win, even though the Cubs aren’t my team.

Brewery:  Lagunitas, Chicago IL

lagunitas-wBeer:  https://lagunitas.com/beers/ipaLagunitas IPA

Description:  “A well-rounded, highly drinkable IPA.  A bit of Caramel Malt barley provides the richness that mellows out the twang of the hops.”

It’s a solid IPA.  Not my favorite because I’ve got to where I prefer less malt.  But it’s enjoyable – hoppy, but not as hoppy as some – with a nice malt backbone.

Medium:  You can find this beer all over the place in markets where Lagunitas distributes.

But not the W flag version🙂.  It only comes in a 12 oz bottle.

How it’s related to baseball:  When the Cubs won the World Series, Lagunitas produced a bunch of bottles with the famous “W” flag on the label.  The “W” is the flag that all the Cubs fans out here fly in honor of a Cubbie win.  If you went to the brewery the week after game 7 – as I did – the Lagunitas IPA bottles you’d have were the ones you got.

It’s funny, I just had one, snapped the picture above and went home (after about 4 other beers).  The bartender asked me if I wanted to keep the beer, and I wish I had.  What I didn’t realize was that the bottle was going to become a collector’s item.  I figured a boat load would hit distribution shortly thereafter.  That wasn’t the case.  Lagunitas sent some out in distribution, but as surprise wins if you bought a 6 pack.  From what I’ve heard, the Cubs put the kibosh on this since there isn’t any kind of license agreement.

Wish I’d have kept the bottle, they are going for about 20 bucks on eBay, and since my son has become a die-hard Cubs fan i’m sure he’d appreciate it in 17 years when he’s of age!





Trade / Cards sent from reader Bill

22 11 2016

I haven’t done too many trades this year.  In fact, I think the last one was in March or April of this year.  But a blog reader contacted me a little bit ago saying he had some cards to send my way.  He sure wasn’t lying – he sent a bunch of 2001 Topps cards from my want list.  I fully intend on completing this Lifetime Topps project, and getting base cards is the best way to do that!

Here are highlights from the base 2001 set (15 cards off the list in total):

trade-reader-bill

And here are the best cards from the 2001 Topps Traded set (22 more cards off the old wantlist):

trade-reader-bill-2

Finally, Bill sent me a card from the All-Star Stitches set.  This is Todd Frazier.  It’s the chrome version, which is cool because I want all the Frazier cards from this set!  HR Derby champ was the best sporting event I’ve been to!

trade-reader-bill-2-topps-stiches-crome-frazier

Bill – thanks for the trade!  I’ll go through the wantlist you sent and see what I can find!





Completed insert set – 2000 Topps Hank Aaron reprints

20 11 2016

No posts the last week or so, aside from my previously scheduled beer post.  I actually got to a pretty interesting point – I have no more posts in the queue.  I’ve been dwindling on that front for a while, and had basically been less than 5 for a month or so.  And then I went to Mexico for my buddy’s wedding with just 2 posts in queue.  One was a completed insert set, the other was yesterday’s “beer” post.

But yesterday was the last “scheduled” post that I’d done in advance.  So for the foreseeable future, this blog will be at the whim of my schedule and desire to do baseball card posts.  I’ve picked up other hobbies, and with 2 kids, it’s just harder.  I want to get the Lifetime Topps project done, but I may need to rethink the insert part of that.  It’s just become too much by the time I got to the mid 2000’s.

I’m kind of happy about that.  Blogging takes up a lot of time, and I’d like to just do it when I get the urge.  At least for now.  I think I’ll still knock out 10 posts a month or so.  We’ll see.

That aside, I have a few completed insert sets left, and this is one I’d be going after even if I wasn’t trying to get every insert Topps created.

Info about the set:

Set description:  Aaron was the 5th historic player honored with a reprint set (Mantle in ’96, Mays in ’97, Clemente ’98, Ryan ’99).  And he would be the last of this run; after 2000 they started doing multiple player reprints as insert sets.  This set had reprints of the full run of his base Topps cards during his career.  Reprints of his 19 regular cards from 1954-1976 were issued across both series.  The 12 even years come in series 1, while the 11 odd years come in series 2.  There is a gold Aaron logo, created just for this set.

Set composition:  23 cards, 1:18 odds (2000 Topps)

Hall of Famers:  1 – just Aaron.  None of his multi-player cards are included.

How I put the set together:

  • 5 cards from the 2 different 2000 series hobby boxes
  • 1 card from a trade (thanks Night Owl)
  • 9 cards from COMC
  • 6 cards from Beckett Marketplace
  • 2 cards from Sportlots

Card that completed my set:  #4 – 1957 Topps

I bought the last card I needed from COMC back in July.  I’d been one card shy for over a year, but this card, which is probably his most famous because of the reverse negative issue.  That may be why it was the hardest to pick up.

Thoughts on the set:  Retro sets are everywhere you look these days, but in 1998 there weren’t that many, and they were almost all reprints.  This wasn’t the first set like this, but it was still a great idea at this point in time.

Best card (my opinion):  #1 – 1954 Topps

Aaron is one of those players who has an iconic rookie card.  His 1954 Topps card has to be in any top 20 cards of all time, maybe top 10.  So I’ve got to give the nod there.  But I really like the 1973 card.

My Favorite Reds card:  There are none (obviously).

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Saturdays Suds: Baseball & Beer #72 Bench Warmer Porter

19 11 2016

This is the last Cooperstown Brewing post for me!  I went to Cooperstown and some surrounding areas 3 months ago, and now I’ve finally posted all the baseball beers I drank.  Most were Cooperstown Brewing Company beers – this is the 7th and last of theirs. I posted about the brewery itself about back when I was there.

CBC tap bar

Brewery:  Cooperstown Brewing in Milford, NY

cbc-benchwarmer-porter-bottleBeer:  Bench Warmer Porter

Description:  “A full-bodied, rich smooth porter using 4% chocolate malt, subtle floral, herbal character.”

It pours a dark color as you’d expect from a porter, with hints of chocolate and smoke.  Other than their Induction Ale, this is my favorite beer of theirs.

Medium:  I had it on tap, and bought a few bottles.  Of course you could buy a pint, too.

How it’s related to baseball:  All of CBC’s beers are baseball themed; they’re built around the idea that a brewery around Cooperstown should focus on the baseball part of the town.  This beer is focusing on the depth of a team – the guys on the bench.  I guess they would be fine drinking a slightly heavier beer since they’re not going to get into the game :)!

CBC Benchwarmer porter





Completed insert set – 2002 Topps Ring Masters

9 11 2016

Don’t worry, regardless of the political landscape, the world hasn’t ended!  I completed an insert set!  Grant it, it was over a year ago, but I can still post about it now!  Yes, it looks like Trump is the Ring Master in the election, but the guys below are the Ring Masters from the 2002 insert set.

Info about the set:

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Set description:  This insert set honors players with championship rings to their credit.  The cards have a blue background and a bit of starburst with a larger version of the same photo.  It’s hard to describe but it you look at it you’ll see what I’m saying.  The cards are super thick!  The back has a write-up with even more blue.

Set composition:  10 cards, 1:25 (2002 Topps series 2)

Hall of Famers:  1. Just Greg Maddux.  Others forthcoming.

How I put the set together:

  • 3 cards from Sportlots
  • 7 cards from COMC

Thoughts on the set:  There’s some weird stuff going on – there are some omissions I don’t understand.  Like why is nobody from the recently crowned Diamondbacks on here.  I’d have included Johnson, Schilling, and then some Yankees with a boatload of rings over Mike Mussina who didn’t have any.  Selfishly – I’d have liked to see Barry Larkin in here.  Or Rickey Henderson.  That said – the thick cards are very nice.

Out of my 25 – they only included 8 – I think most of mine would are much better than what they did include.  I’d also have gone chronologically with the set.  Still, a very cool set either way you look at it.

Card that completed my set: #RM10 – Paul O’Neill

2002 Topps Ring Masters front

I got this card from COMC last July.  And by last July I mean 2015.  When Donald Trump wasn’t even a thought as a political candidate!  I don’t know

Best card (my opinion): #RM1 – Derek Jeter

2002-topps-ring-masters-jeter

Paul O’Neill both had 5 rings when this set was released.  Jeter had 4 but would end up with 5.  I also think this is the best photo.  So he wins.

Best Reds card (my opinion): there are none.  O’Neill won 1 of his 4 rings with the

Here’s the whole set.

2002-topps-ring-masters-complete

2002 Topps Ring Masters front

Any other tidbits:  I’m not sure why Mike Mussina is in this bucket.  He never won a World Series.  Aside from him, the other 9 guys won a combined 20 rings.  It was 19 at the time of this set – Jeter won with the 2009 Yankees and every other title was before 2001.





Completed insert set – 2000 Topps All-Star Rookie Team

6 11 2016

So this is one of those where I started doing the post a long time ago thinking I had completed the set.  Then I went to do the post, and, boom.  I don’t have

Another completed insert set – this one is probably the first card set where Topps specifically paid tribute to the historical Topps All-Star Rookie teams.

Info about the set:

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Set description:  This set has the shiny backgrounds like so many 2000 Topps inserts do.  But this is one of the cooler sets in the product – Topps picked the best active All-Rookie players, one at each position just like they pick each year.  The back has a list of every Topps ASR team member from each position.

Set composition:  10 cards, 1:36 odds (2000 Topps series 2)

Hall of Famers:  3.  Cal Ripken, Ken Griffey Jr., Mike Piazza

How I put the set together:

  • 1 card from my 2000 series 2 hobby box
  • 5 cards from COMC
  • 3 cards from Sportlots
  • 1 card from a card show

Thoughts on the set:  One of the better inserts is my favorite insert set from 2000 Topps.  I like the design, and its cool that the back has the history of the award at the selected player’s position.

Card that completed my set: #RT5 – Manny Ramirez

2000 Topps All-Rookie Team front

Got this from a purchase in August on COMC

Best card (my opinion): #RT9 – Dwight Gooden

2000-topps-all-rookie-team-doc-gooden

Doc Gooden in an Astros uniform.  I can’t say I remember that – apparently he pitched one game for them in 2000.  I think this (and the parallels) were his only card with the Astros.

My Favorite Reds card:  #RT7 – Ken Griffey Jr.

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The only one in the set.

Here’s a scan of the whole set.

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2000-topps-all-rookie-team-complete

Any other tidbits:  Ripken is the only player to make the ASR team twice.  It’s a really tough thing to do – because you have to be rookie eligible and in theory you can only do that once.  Ripken made the team in 1981 when he hardly played, but there just wasn’t much as far as rookie shortstops.  Then he made it in 1982 when he was the AL Rookie of the Year.