Somebody’s probably already caught this…

31 10 2012

A Halloween Special.  Cuz this is sort of spooky.

I’ve been working on going through the 1988 Topps set to do a “completed set” post (which I should have done tomorrow), and I just had to point this out…

Note – I’m not even complaining that this happens.  I understand (mostly) why it can and does happen for older players – though for Gwynn it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense since pictures of him should be aplenty!  If anything, I think it’s cool that I went through the 1988 set, saw the Tony Gwynn card that I have probably seen 100 times before.  But I’m now seeing it through 2012 goggles, and now I think “that looks familiar – it’s got to be the same photo as the Gypsy card that also has a miniscule variation that is really the same photo cropped differently”.  On some level, that’s actually kind of cool.  Or pathetic.  Whatever.

I also noticed this happened with Gwynn elsewhere – his 2012 Ginter card is the same photo as one of the Topps Glossy sets.  This is a much cooler photo for that to happen, in my humble opinion.

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Completed insert set – 2012 Gypsy Queen Moonshots

30 10 2012

I completed my second insert set from 2012 Gypsy Queen through a recent trade – Moonshots.  This set is sort of like Home Run Heroes from last year, except it focuses on a specific home run, not season(s) leading the league.

Info about the set:

Set description: “Featuring all the top home run hitters”.  The description Topps gives on the sell sheet is not as specific as the set itself.  The set features retired and current players; each player depicted hit a specific home run that is discussed on the back.  The front has a purple / maroon border with the Gypsy Queen logo in the top left and the “Moonshot” in a banner across the top.  The player name and team are at the bottom.  The picture shown is not necessarily from the home run discussed on the back.

Set composition: 20 cards, 1:3 odds (2012 Gypsy Queen)

Hall of Famers:  9.  Babe Ruth, Frank Robinson, Mickey Mantle, Mike Schmidt, Reggie Jackson, Ralph Kiner, Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Frank Thomas.

How I put the set together: 

  • 12 cards from 2 hobby boxes
  • 6 cards from trades
  • 2 cards from a card show

Thoughts on the set:  I’m always happy when there is something specific that ties a set together.  Not just “Great Ones” or something like that.  Including guys based on a specific home runs is very cool.  What I do wish they’d have done is matched the picture up with the home run discussed on the back.  They picked one of two appropriate home runs for Reggie Jackson, using the homer he hit in the Tiger Stadium All-Star Game (the other being his 3rd homer in Game 6 of the ’77 World Series).  But he was with Oakland when he hit that homer, and the picture on the front shows him with the Yankees!  Albert Pujols is featured as an Angel, and when this set came out, he hadn’t even played a game for the Halos yet.  The same for Prince Fielder with the Tigers.  Also, they didn’t number the insert sets in 2012 – they used the player’s initials.  I hate that!  Still, I do like this set overall, and the design definitely works.  “A” for the idea, “C” for the execution.

Card that completed my set: #MS-MM – Mickey Mantle

I got this card in a trade from the Daily Dimwit.

Highest book value: #MS-MM – Mickey Mantle

Best card (my opinion): #MS-MM – Mickey Mantle

A clean sweep for the Mick.  Like Reggie, there are two appropriate home runs for this set (actually, Mick may have more, but there are 2 that come to my mind).  The homer not featured – is the first tape measure shot, which came at Griffith Stadium against the Senators on April 17, 1953.  That ball cleared the left-center bleachers, barely touching an ad sign for Natural Bohemian beer (which I discussed in a previous “Saturday Suds” post :)).  It apparently landed what was measured 565 feet away, which is why it gave birth to the phrase “tape measure shot”.

The homer that is featured on the card came on May 22, 1963 against Bill Fischer of the KC Athletics.  This one barely missed becoming the only ball hit out of Yankee Stadium.  It struck the top of the facade in right field – and was reportedly still rising when it did so – and careened back to the outfield.

My Favorite Reds card: There are none.





Completed insert set – 2012 Topps Heritage News Flashbacks

29 10 2012

This is one of the “standard” insert sets in 2012 Topps Heritage, though this one has (for the most part) nothing to do with baseball – it honors the 1963 “year in the world”.  They do this every year with Heritage.

Info about the set:

Set description:  “10 world news moments from 1963.”

The set has a white border with a pennant in the top left saying “News Flashbacks ’63”.  The person featured is in the top right, and there is a green circle in the bottom with wording describing the event depicted.

Set composition: 10 cards, 1:12 odds (2012 Topps Heritage)

Hall of Famers: There aren’t any baseball players in this year’s version, after Jackie Robinson was included in last year’s.

How I put the set together:

  • 4 cards from the 2 hobby boxes I bought
  • 1 card from a retail blister (the ones with 3 packs and 3 black parallels)
  • 1 cards from Sportlots
  • 4 cards from trades

Thoughts on the set: I think they’ve done this each year for Heritage – and I think it’s a good idea.  The point of Heritage is to honor a past Topps set – and having an insert set that also shows what happened in the world is great!

The things I’d change – they are the same I said when I finished off last year’s set.  First, I’d number the cards in chronological order – they don’t even “number” them this year, they alphabetized them.  I hate that.

Also, there are some other things that could have gone in this set – though I think they did a pretty good job with the content.  Things Topps could have considered:

  • Iron Man debuts in Marvel Comics Tales of Suspense.  Marvel also released its first ever X-Men comic.
  • The Beatles release their first album Please Please Me
  • Lawrence of Arabia wins Oscar for Best Picture
  • Buddy Rogers wins the first WWF championship belt after the WWWF splits from NWA
  • Medgar Evers is murdered in Jackson, Mississippi by Byron De La Beckwith – who wouldn’t be convicted for another 30 years
  • ZIP Codes are introduced in the United States
  • The Pro Football Hall of Fame opens its doors in Canton, OH
  • I left My Heart in San Francisco by Tony Bennett was song of the Year

Aside from the Beatles, and maybe Iron Man (both of which probably pose rights issues for Topps), I don’t even know if I’d really change anything from what they did include – the above are just ideas.  The zip code thing is actually featured as a cartoon on the back of each card.

Card that completed my set: #NF-VT – Valentina Tereshkova

This was one of two cards in a trade from Reader Mike just before I moved to Chicago in early September.  I waited to open the package until early October; the month delay is standard for me right now.

Highest book value: #NF-JK, NF-JKE – John F. Kennedy

The 2 cards of the US President carry a little more weight than the rest of the set.

Best card (my opinion): #NF-A – Alcatraz

I love the mystique of Alcatraz – it’s intrigued me ever since Sean Connery did “the Rock” with Nick Cage.  I still wish they had continued the show from last year.

As I did last year – I thought it would be fun to take a look at each of these cards and what they represent.

NF-A – RFK order closure of crumbling Alcatraz: Alcatraz, in need of millions of restoration dollars to remain a viable prison, was ordered closed by U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy in 1963.  On March 21, the last convicts were removed from “The Rock”, which, for three decades, had housed some of the country’s most notorious offenders.

NF-JK – The end of “Camelot”:  America wept as one on the afternoon of November 11, 1963, when President Kennedy was shot and killed during a motorcade in Dallas.  With wife Jacqueline by his side in a roofless limo, the popular 46 year-old died soon after being struck by two bullets from the high-powered rifle of Lee Harvey Oswald.

NF-JKE – “Berliner” JFK pledges German freedom:  Some 120,000 Germans witnessed a landmark speech by President John F. Kennedy on June 26, 1963.  With the words “ich bin ein Berliner” (“I am a Berliner”), Kennedy pledged United States solidarity with the citizens of West Germany, and hailed their nation as a symbol of freedom during the Cold War.

NF-MK – MLK’s “Dream” awakens a nation: From the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. on August 28, 1963, Dr. King delivered some of the most compelling and influential words in U.S. history, when he told the world “I have a dream today.”  The 17-minute call for equality among races helped animate the Civil Rights movement.

NF-MKI – MLK’s Letter “The Negro is Your Brother”: A letter written by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in August of 1963 “The Negro is Your Brother” (also known as the “Letter from Birmingham Jail”) implored Americans to wait no longer for an end to discrimination.  “This ‘wait'”, he wrote while incarcerated for demonstrating, “has almost always meant ‘never'”.

NF-PP – Conclave convoked: Paul to lead Church:  Five years after becoming a cardinal, Giovanni Montini of Italy was chosen to succeed John XXIII in leading the Roman Catholic Church as Pope Paul VI on June 21, 1963.  His election during the ’63 conclave was not a surprise, as he Montini was long-seen as a leader in ministering, teaching and administering.

NF-PS – Beloved landmark bites the dust:  Considered an architectural masterpiece when it was built 53 years earlier, New York City’s Penn Station was demolished amid considerable protest, beginning in October 1963.  The nine-acre station (named for the Pennsylvania Railroad) was leveled, in part, to make room for Madison Square Garden.

NF-UA – Feds vs. Gov as U. of Alabama integrated:  On May 16, 1963, a federal district court ordered the U. of Alabama to admit African-American students Vivien Malone and James Hood.  Governor George Wallace blocked their admission by standing in the front of the doorway on June 11, but ultimately lost his battle to keep the school a whites-only institution.

NF-UC – Cuba closed to American Travel:  After embargoing trade with Cuba in 1961 and ’62 during a nuclear arms crisis, the U.S. went a giant step further on February 8, 1963, when President John F. Kennedy prohibited American citizens from traveling to the island country.  JFK also made commercial and financial transactions illegal.

NF-VT – Pioneering Cosmonaut First Woman in Space:  Tereshkova, the daughter of a Russian tractor driver, turned her early parachuting experience into a role in her country’s cosmonaut program.  On June 16, 1963, she became the first woman in space.  Aboard Vostok 6, Valentina orbited Earth 48 times on a 70-hour mission – a journey that made her a Soviet hero.





Saturdays Suds: Baseball & Beer #15 – Goebel

27 10 2012

I did a beer from San Francisco last weekend, so it’s only fair to do one from Motown this week.  Stroh’s would be the obvious choice, but they still make Stroh’s, and I don’t have any in the fridge right now, so that will be for a later day.  This post is for a beer you can no longer buy any more – Goebel was discontinued in 2005.  So this falls in the category of “history of baseball beers” as opposed to ones I can try.

Brewery: (Originally) Goebel Brewing Company in Detroit, MI

The brand was discontinued by owner Pabst Brewing Co. (who bought the brand from Stroh’s) in 2005.

Beer:  Goebel Beer

Description:  Goebel Brewing opened up in 1873 and was popular in the Detroit era.  It was best known for its mascot, which was a Bantam rooster.

The beer was a dry lager, which was different from what was the standard American lager at the time – I think light beers weren’t really popularized by national brands until the 80’s.  They developed a new process (I think it was called something like crystilled water) that made it possible to avoid pasteurizing bottled beer.

Medium:  It came in a variety of mediums – a 12-pack of cans would have been the most common in 2005, when it was discontinued.  In its early history, it was made in smaller, 8-oz cans with the Bantam rooster on there.

How it’s related to baseball:  Goebel was the sponsor beer for the Tigers for a number of years after World War – and even on some level before (see the fact book below).  I believe Tiger broadcasters HOF-er Harry Heilmann and Ty Tyson did promotions for the beer, but Van Patrick was most associated with the beer.  Patrick called games for the club from 1952 to 1959 and also called Notre Dame and MNF games.  In 1960, when the Tigers switched sponsors to Stroh’s, Patrick was so associated with the beer that he was fired and replaced with Ernie Harwell, who would call the team’s games for more than 3 decades.

I was surprised I couldn’t find an ad or something from Goebel with Patrick, but I found a few bits of paraphernalia online that demonstrate their association to the Tigers.

First is an old facts booklet from the 1911 Tigers – with a likeness of Ty Cobb on the cover – compliments of Goebel Brewing.

Next up is a photo from an All-Star Baseball show featuring George Kell and Heilmann.

I also found a few Tigers calendars from the 1950’s with Goebel promotions – this one is from 1953.

I don’t really have a rooting interest in this year’s World Series, but I hope the Tigers win tonight – just to extend the series.





Completed insert set – 2012 Topps Heritage Baseball Flashbacks

26 10 2012

This is my first completed insert set in 2012 Topps Heritage.  This is one of two “flashback” insert sets – this one is the “Baseball Flashbacks”, honoring baseball news from 1963.

Info about the set:

Set description:  “10 highlights from the 1963 season.”  As always with the Heritage inserts, these cards have a loose connection to the relevant year’s Topps base design (1963 in this case).  The front shows a player inside a white border with a “Baseball Flashbacks” pennant in the top left.  The player name and team is in the top right, while the specific headline for the 1963 accomplishment is included in a green circle in the bottom right of the card.  The back describes the accomplishment in more detail.

Set composition:  10 cards, 1:12 odds (2012 Topps Heritage)

Hall of Famers: 9.  Al Kaline, Ernie Banks, Early Wynn, Hank Aaron, Juan Marichal, Stan Musial, Koufax, Willie Mays, Willie McCovey.  Every player in the set is a Hall of Famer, but Sandy Koufax has 2 cards.

How I put the set together:

  • 4 cards from the two hobby boxes I bought
  • 2 cards from either Check Out My Cards
  • 4 cards from trades

Thoughts on the set:  This is a set that Topps does every year, and I like the continuity, particularly for this product.  I actually think this year’s set has a few more interesting accomplishments than the previous set – maybe 1963 was a better year in baseball!

Here are some of the things I think they missed, or at least should have considered, in order of how strongly I think they should have made it into the set.  The first three are particularly glaring oversights.

  • The Polo Grounds shut down in 1963.  The Mets played the final regular season game there September 18th, and there was a Hispanic All-Star game
  • The 3 Alou brothers batted consecutively in a game on September 10th, and on September 15th, they all played in the same outfield
  • Mickey Mantle hit what may have been the longest homer of his career on May 22, 1963 against Bill Fischer of the KC Athletics.  He barely missed becoming the only player to hit a ball out of Yankee Stadium.  It struck the top of the facade in right field and careened back to the outfield.
  • Pete Rose made his MLB debut and finished as the The Houston’s Colt 45’s had their first season as a franchise (Topps wouldn’t be allowed to include this for obvious reasons)
  • Don Nottebart threw a no-hitter for the Houston Colt .45’s in their second year of existence
  • Willie Mays and Duke Snider both hit their 400th home run

Card that completed my set: #BF-WMC – Willie McCovey

I got this last card from a trade with Mark from This Way to the Clubhouse.  This card honors McCovey’s 100th home run, as he became one of the youngest sluggers to reach that mark.

Highest book value: #BF-SKO – Sandy Koufax, BF-SK – Sandy Koufax, BF-HA – Hank Aaron, BF-WM – Willie Mays

Since there is no Mickey Mantle card in this set, these guys are all valued equally by Beckett.

Best card (my opinion): #BF-SKO

I’ve got to go for the best milestone in this group, and this card honors the record-setting performance that Koufax had in game 1 of the World Series.  He struck out 15 Yankee hitters, besting the previous Series record held by Carl Erskine.





Completed insert set – 2012 Topps Timeless Talents

25 10 2012

I’m done buying retro stuff for 2012, and I’ve posted all I’m going to about Topps Mini and Topps Update.  That means I’ll be back to posting about my Lifetime Topps project soon.  But first, I have some sets I’ve completed over the last few months.

My first insert set completed from the 2012 Topps flagship product is Timeless Talents, which was only included in 2012 series 1.

Info about the set:

Set description: The idea for this is a theme that Topps has had for the past 3 years (at least).  They put 2 players on one card, usually a retired star with a current player.  I like the design of this one better than the previous 2 years.  The card is horizontally oriented, with each player taking up one half of the card.  The background is darkened, so it makes the players stand out.  A white line divides the players down the middle, and separates the top and bottom of the card.  Each player name is below his picture, with the team name above.  The Topps logo along with the Timeless Talents set name is near the bottom.  The back has a stat comparison between the two players and a write-up of why they should be compared in the first place.

Set composition: 25 cards, 1:6 hobby odds (2012 Topps series 1)

Hall of Famers: 17

Paul Molitor, Willie Mays, Nolan Ryan (2 cards), Frank Robinson, Ryne Sandberg, Johnny Bench, Barry Larkin, Bob Gibson, Andre Dawson, Joe Morgan, Stan Musial, Ernie Banks, Dennis Eckersley, Luis Aparicio, Cal Ripken, Frank Thomas, John Smoltz.

How I put the set together:

  • 10 cards from the HTA jumbo box
  • 1 card from a blaster
  • 1 card from a retail jumbo pack
  • 13 cards from trades

Thoughts on the set:  As I alluded to above, this idea isn’t anything new.  Topps did something similar in 2010 (Legendary Lineage) and 2011 (Diamond Duos).  Those two sets looked way too similar – at least this one is a different design, and I think the change is an improvement.  There are some good combinations (Joe Morgan and Brandon Phillips) in the set, but there are also some head-scratcher pairings (Willie Mays with Matt Kemp?).  I’m kind of lukewarm on the set, and would probably like it more if it hadn’t been done the two years before.

Card that completed my set: #TT-21 – Dennis Eckersley / Andrew Bailey

I got this card in a trade with Clark from Fantastic Catch in July.

Highest book value: #TT-25 – Cal Ripken / Derek Jeter

Best card (my opinion): #TT-14 – Nolan Ryan / Jered Weaver

Like I said, I’m kind of lukewarm on this set, so picking a best card was tough.  I like this photo of Ryan with the Angels – and putting him with an Angel who has a strikeout crown himself was a good match.

My Favorite Reds card: #TT-17 – Joe Morgan / Brandon Phillips

Easily beats out cards that feature Barry Larkin and Johnny Bench, but not current Reds.





My UPDATE attempts at the Topps Golden Giveaway

24 10 2012

I had 7 code cards between the hobby box and the retail packs I bought.  I’ll spare a long post on this – the picture below is pretty much all I got.

 

I won’t complain too much – I did much better than most folks from the earlier codes I had from series 1 & 2.  It just kind of stinks to have a website promotion like this where you really don’t win anything most of the time.