Autographs, Promos and lines, oh my! Sneak Peak at the National

31 07 2013

So I did make it to the National today.  Unfortunately, I had a call for work right at 3 PM, so I couldn’t really go to very much of the “VIP reception”.  It looked like there was free food and an early chance to get free autographs from 4 athletes – Mets pitcher Dwight Gooden, the Bears’ Neal Anderson, plus 1968 Field Gold Medalists Dick Fosbury and Bob Beamon.  Since I didn’t get into the special VIP room until 3:45 – I missed that chance to get the autos early from those guys.  But in the actual show they were still signing a little later.  So I walked around a bit, and then got in line for Gooden’s auto.  That took a while – I waited from 4:30 until about 5:15, but they did move the line quickly along.  I’d grabbed a 1987 Topps card from home for him to sign.  I’m not a Mets fan or anything, so I’m not bringing some treasured jersey for him to sign.  But I like his 87 Topps card – so that seemed like a cool thing to get penned.  Doc seemed pretty nice, and he’s a pretty good name for them to get as a free auto.

Gooden auto from the National


For 5 bucks, I bought a photo of Dick Fosbury – who invented the method to tackle the high jump that’s still used today.  Hence the name “Fosbury Flop”.  He won the gold medal in the event in 1968.

Fosbury auto from the National

I really did want to get an autograph of Bob Beamon – but they ran out of photos of him, so I didn’t have anything for him to sign.  I passed on Neal Anderson, too – the line was a bit longer with the Chicago connection.

After that, I just kind of took in the scenery for a while.  The National is sensory overload.  It reminds me of the first time I walked around Times Square – I felt like I could walk around just looking forever.  Very cool stuff even just to look at – for me, that will probably be the best part of going this year.

My excitement overall for the event is a little less than when I originally bought the ticket.  That has nothing to do with the event or anything, but it’s just a hectic time right now.  We just moved, and right now it feels like half of crap is still at the old location.  I had hoped to have more time to move everything and go to the National – but work is not cooperating.  It’s hard to have a lot of fun at something like this when you’re stressed out about work and a move.  That’s just life, I guess.   I do hope to make it back one of the next two days, and then we’ll see about Sunday – depends on when me, the wife and the baby get back from Cincinnati.  Eric Davis is signing on Sunday, and I have a free autograph of his.  I’d like to bring my son to that, and it may be doable, but it also may just be too much work.  We’ll see!

I did buy some Topps inserts on the cheap.  I may scan those in another day – I don’t feel like it at the moment.  I will scan the promo cards that my VIP pass got me.  The first is a set from Leaf, which includes the red-hot Yasiel Puig.  And the all-time hit king.  I just traded for Puig on my fantasy baseball team, and he hit a homer for me the first day he was officially a member of my squad.  Unfortunately, it was a walk-off against my Redlegs – so, catch-22 for me.

National set - Leaf Promos

Next up is Press Pass.  Amazingly, they picked the only 5 NASCAR drivers I recognize by name.  That is about all I’ll say about these.

National set - Press Pass Promos

Finally, there were also some Upper Deck cards – this was easily the best promo set of the bunch.  The best basketball player of all-time, the best player since MJ, the best hockey player of all-time, the second best golfer of all-time, and two Chicago stars.

National set - Upper Deck Promos

There are also a few other companies that you had to redeem at their booth – I didn’t do that yet, because I didn’t realize it at the time.  Hopefully I can do so tomorrow or Friday.  That’s it for now – I’ll post again when I go back!

Going to the National!

29 07 2013

2012 Gypsy Queen Wrigley Field

This isn’t really a baseball card post – I don’t really have any scans of cards to talk about today.  Just some random musings on what’s going on in my world of baseball lately.


Today I moved out of the house my wife and I have lived for the past 11 months.  Our landlord decided to sell our house, so I’ll no longer be a block and a half from Wrigley Field.  That means this view isn’t just a hop, skip and a jump away:


I can still get  to Wrigley via a quick cab ride, though – we’re moving just two miles away.

The National

A cool thing about living in Chicago means I’m very close to the biggest baseball card show out there.  So, I’m going to attend the National Sports Collector’s Convention this week.  I will definitely be going Wednesday, and then probably on one of the days Thursday or Friday.  I can’t go on the weekend – we’ll be back in Ohio celebrating my son’s first birthday.  I’m pretty excited to go to the National – this is only the second time I’ve been.  I also went to the one in Baltimore three years ago.  I’m probably going to break my rule of no more retro sets after Topps Archives – just because I figure if I’m going to the Convention, I want to take part in some of the promotions.  This requires busting packs!  Goodwin Champions is the front-runner here, though Panini Golden Age is sparking a little interest, too.

Here are some of the things I want to try to do/get while there.  I really haven’t bought much over the past few months, so I’ve got quite a bit in the budget just for this event.

1) Get some autographs.  I got a VIP pass just for fun.  That means I can get quite a few guys for “free” – and by free I mean free except for the $130 fee I paid.  Most notable is Doc Gooden!  I will be going to the VIP thing on Wednesday afternoon.

2) Participate in some of the promotions.  I get some promo cards as part of the VIP goodies, but I also want to try to get some of the wrapper redemptions as well.

3) Buy a box of Topps series 2.  Because I haven’t bought one yet.  Hopefully I can merge that into goal #2 somehow.

4) Buy a few boxes for the Lifetime Topps project.  That would mean early-mid 2000’s.

5) Fill some holes on the wantlists.  This is actually the biggest goal – I probably should have put this #1 if I was going by priority!  I’m excited by the number of dealers that will be there, and I hope to find some harder to find cards like inserts from the late 90’s.

6) Look at some interesting stuff.  There will be plenty of stuff that I have no intention of buying (except in my wildest delusion).  But I’ll sure want to check it out and maybe even post about it here on the old blog!

The Hall of Fame

I watched the Hall of Fame induction ceremony this weekend – it was quite different from previous seasons.  The floodgates are far from open in Cooperstown of late – in the last 6 inductions (since Ripken & Gwynn), there’s only been one player (Rickey Henderson) who I’d think of as going in that mythical “special wing” of the Hall.  Next year should be quite different – but I think some change should be considered.  Could they have a bit more clarity on the steroid thing?  Maybe, but that’s not what I’m talking about.  I actually understand the wait-and-see approach on steroids.  Not only are we finding out more about steroids and the steroid era than we knew, but I firmly believe that the baseball fan world is still developing its collective conscience on how we view the matter.  In 1998, the country was in a bit an attitude of “just don’t tell me and I can say I never knew”.  In 2001 as it became more apparent that things were amiss, there was a mix of denial and reluctant acceptance as baseball plugged on.  Since then, people have tended to pick sides, with some wanting to asterisk everyone who played in that era and some wanting to consider it as an era of the game just like the dead ball era or the roaring offense of the 20’s and 30’s.  Personally, I think someday in the future that collective conscience will look back and think it wasn’t all that big of a deal to begin with.  I’d bet on Bonds getting in the Hall ahead of Charlie Hustle.

Personally, I’d favor something closer to football’s approach to the Hall of Fame, but I think at least the rules should be amended to allow for more votes.  Kenny Lofton is, in my mind, deserving of strong Hall of Fame consideration.  Barring a rules change, he will never appear on another BBWA ballot as he got less than 5% of the vote.  Alan Trammell is a step above – in my mind, he’s a no-brainer Hall of Famer.  Yet he’s never received more than 37% of the vote, and his numbers are starting to trend down.  I believe this is fully because of the rule of 10 – that limits writers to only 10 spots.  Because of this, there are many writers who take a stance of not judging based on steroids.  They vote for Bonds, Clemens and even McGWire.  But then they’re forced to keep someone like Trammell off (or Lofton from consideration) just due to sheer numbers.  When 75% is such a high hurdle to climb – this backlog will make it more and more difficult for the non-Rickey Henderson’s of the world to get in.  I’m glad guys like Dawson, Blyleven, Larkin and Alomar got in when they did – because they’d have more trouble now than they did two or three years ago.

I also hope there is no overlap among the 10 or so guys who don’t vote for Greg Maddux and the many guys who say they won’t vote for Bonds or McGwire because of steroids.  If you are adamant that the steroid era boosted offensive numbers and puts them notches below Schmidt, Aaron or Ruth, I think you should appreciate that what guys like Maddux or Randy Johnson did may have been more impressive than the accolades of Seaver, Koufax or Walter Johnson.

Saturdays Suds: Baseball & Beer #36 – Heidelberg Brews

27 07 2013

Another Saturday Suds – where I look at (and sometimes taste test!) some beers that have a connection to baseball.  I’m keeping with the theme of my previous Saturday Suds post (Red Top) and going with another defunct Cincinnati brewery.  This one is Heidelberg.  Like Red Top, I don’t think Moerlein has scooped up this brand name yet.  Since you can’t find any of these brews any more, this writeup isn’t covering a beer I’ve tried – just a bit of history from a beer that used to be a sponsor of my Redlegs.

I did find one neat thing – there is still a distributor called Heidelberg Distributing that kept the name when the Heidelberg Brewery closed its doors.  Apparently this was to save money so they didn’t have to repaint the trucks back in the 1940’s!

Brewery: Heidelberg Brewing Company in Covington, KYHeidelberg logo

Beer: Heidelberg Beer / Student Prince Ale / Heirloom

Description:  The Heidelberg brand was a pilsner style brew (i.e., lager), while the Student Prince was an ale.  I’m not sure what Heirloom was – I actually think this may have been its own brand and thus there was a lager and a bock beer (and maybe some others) under that name.

Medium:  N/A as this is a defunct beer.

How it’s related to baseball: The brewery opened in 1934, right after prohibition ended, on W. Fourth Street in Covington, KY.

Being so close, they must have been a natural partner for the Reds, and they were prominently advertising during the 1939 World Series (note – all pictures are from, a great site if you’re a Reds fan!).

Crosley Field Student Prince sign

That’s an ad for the Student Prince brand.  Student Prince from a brewery named Heidelberg is a play on words from a popular play-turned-musical-turned-film called “Student Prince at Old Heidelberg” from the 1920’s.  The play is a love story of a prince (the “student prince”) who is sent to college (“Old Heidelberg”) under the guise of a commoner.  The name fits well as a beer brand because of the popular “Drinking Song” – which was particularly popular during prohibition.  The logo of the beer features the “student prince” as a mascot:

Student Prince logo

Interestingly, I also found info about a Heidelberg Brewing Company out of Tacoma, WA – not sure if there’s any connection, but they used Student Prince as a mascot for their beers as well.

Later on in the 1940’s, Heidelberg advertised their Heirloom Beer in the same spot:

Crosley Field Heirloom Beer sign

Heirloom of Baden beer, was based on the founder’s recipe from his German heritage.  It was also known as Heirloom Gold Medal, after winning the award in Paris in 1939.

Heirloom beer label

Finally, I also found an ad for Heidelberg Beer at Crosley toward the end of the brewery’s run.

Crosley Field Heidelbergs sign

The brewery was purchased by its competitor, Bavarian Brewing Company – another brewer from Covington – in 1949.  They’re the subject of my next Saturday Suds!

Completed insert set – 2012 Topps Classic Walk-Offs

26 07 2013

Topps had a pretty cool insert set from 2012 series 1 that I completed quite a while ago.  I actually finished this up in a trade with the Dutch Card Guy back in November, but forgot to post about it until now.  The insert set is Classic Walk-Offs.

Info about the set:

Set description: “Celebrating the greatest walk-offs of all-time”.  The cards are designed horizontally with three different picture frames of the player in his walk-off homer moment.  Sometimes Topps used the same photo all 3 times (see the Bench) sometimes they use a few different shots.  The picture in the top left of the card is a color photo, while the other two are gray / sepia toned.

Set composition: 15 cards, 1:8 hobby odds (2012 Topps series 1)

Hall of Famers: 4 – Bill Mazeroski, Carlton Fisk, Johnny Bench, Mickey Mantle

The set is skewed toward current players for what has to be contractual reasons – the 4 players above are all of the retired players in the set.

How I put the set together:

  • 5 cards from my HTA Jumbo box
  • 2 cards from some HTA Jumbo packs (which I bought to do the redemption)
  • 8 cards from trades

Thoughts on the set:  This is a really cool idea.  Like many insert sets Topps does, I love the idea, but am a little nitpicky with the execution.  Having a set focused on some of the bigger walk-off home runs?  Great idea.  Not having Kirk Gibson, Joe Carter or Bobby Thompson in that set?  That’s blowing it for sure.  Like some of these sets, I’ll show you what I would add.  I’m going to make this a little different – as opposed to replacing a few cards, I’d actually double it and make it a 30-card set.  Which means I need to find 15 homers to add!

There have been two home runs to end a World Series.  Only one (Mazeroski) is included in this set – obviously this has to be included.

  • Joe Carter – 10/23/93 off Mitch Williams of the Phillies.  Touch ’em all Joe, you’ll never hit a bigger home run in your life!

There have been four homers that sent a team to the World Series.  Only the one hit by Magglio Ordonez  in 2006 was included – and since that completed a 4-game sweep, while the others were in do-or-die games, I’d have to say it’s the least dramatic.

  • Bobby Thomson – 10/3/51 off Ralph Branca of the Dodgers, NL Tiebreaker Game 3.  The shot heard round the world.  There have been articles, books and documentaries written about everything regarding this home run – from the mystery of where the ball ended up to the fact that all 3 New York teams were the only teams in the “playoffs” that year.  The most famous homer in baseball history somehow didn’t make it into a set about walk-off home runs.
  • Chris Chambliss – 10/14/76 off Mark Littell of the Royals, ALCS Game 5.  Chambliss couldn’t complete the walk-off since the Yankee fans mobbed the field – he later was escorted out to touch home plate by the umpires.
  • Aaron Boone – 10/16/03 off Tim Wakefield of the Red Sox, ALCS Game 7.  Aaron Bleeping Boone!

That’s 4 I’ve added.  There have also been quite a few very notable World Series walk-off home runs that weren’t a series clincher – I’ve added the ones I’d include below.

  • Tommy Henrich – 10/5/49 off Don Newcombe of the Dodgers, World Series Game 1.  The first walk-off homer in World Series history was off Don Newcombe and gave the Yankees the early series lead.
  • Eddie Mathews – 10/6/57 off Bob Grim of the Yankees, World Series Game 2.  This isn’t the first walk-off you think of, but it tied the series 2 games apiece in what would be Hank Aaron’s only World Championship.
  • Kirk Gibson – 10/15/88 off Dennis Eckersley of the A’s, World Series Game 1.  This is probably a top 5 in the most famous home runs of all time.
  • Kirby Puckett – 10/26/91 off Charlie Liebrandt of the Braves, World Series Game 6.  We will see you tomorrow night!
  • Chad Curtis – 10/26/99 off Mike Remlinger of the Braves, World Series Game 3.  This has less to do with the homer and more with how Curtis shunned Jim Gray after the game.  Gray had gone pretty much attacked Pete Rose the game before trying to get him to admit to betting on baseball – it put a big damper on the All-Century Team celebration for anyone watching it.  Regardless of the fact that Rose was guilty as sin, it was inappropriate from Gray and the response from Curtis was awesome.
  • David Freese – 10/27/11 off Mark Lowe of the Rangers, World Series Game 6.  We will see you tomorrow night (again).  This probably got left out because of timing issues as the set was in series 1 of the next year.  But they should have got it in there.

That’s 10 total, so I’ve got 4 more to add.  I’d also include the following:

  • Gabby Hartnett’s “Homer in the Gloamin'” as darkness descended upon Wrigley Field in a 1938 game against league leading Pittsburgh – basically, if he hadn’t hit the homer, they would have replayed the entire game.  Instead, it vaulted the Cubs into an eventual National League pennant.
  • Ozzie Smith’s “go crazy folks, go crazy!” homer – which was only the 14th of his career and the first he’d ever hit from the left side of the plate!
  • Robin Ventura’s “walk-off grand slam single” in the 1999 NLCS.
  • Ted Williams’ walk-off home run in the 1941 All-Star game.
  • Chris Hoiles “ultimate walk-off”, where he hit a walk-off grand slam with two outs in the bottom of the 9th on a 3-2 count with his team down 3 runs.  This is the only time this has ever happened.

Card that completed my set: #CW-7 – Mickey Mantle

I got this card in a trade with the Dutch Card Guy.

Highest book value: #CW-7 – Mantle

Best card (my opinion): #CW-1 – Bill Mazeroski

A walk-off World Series game 7 homer – the only homer that rivals Thomson’s as the biggest home run in baseball history.

My Favorite Reds card: #CW-5 – Jay Bruce

Beats out the Bench card.  I’m sure when Bench hit his in the 1973 LCS, it was a big deal.  But the Reds had already been to 2 World Series in the previous 3 seasons; clinching the division for the Reds for the first time in 15 years was a big deal for more recent Reds fans.

Here’s the list of these cards – and the year when the walk-off happened.

  • Bill Mazeroski (1960).  Game 7 of the World Series – the only in history.
  • Carlton Fisk (1975).  Game 6 of the World Series, in extra innings.  But they didn’t win the series the next night 🙂
  • Johnny Bench (1973).  Game 1 of the NLCS.
  • David Ortiz (2004).  Game 3 of the ALDS, to complete a series sweep.
  • Jay Bruce (2010).  To clinch the division for the Reds after 15 years without a postseason berth.
  • Mark Teixeira (2009).  Game 2 of the ALDS.
  • Mickey Mantle (1964).  Game 3 of the World Series.  This was Mantle’s last World Series, and it broke Babe Ruth’s record for career Series blasts.  He would hit two more in the series, though the Cardinals would prevail.
  • Alfonso Soriano (2001).  Game 4 of the ALCS.  Gave the Yanks a 3-1 series lead.
  • Rafael Furcal (2004).  Game 2 of the NLDS.
  • Jim Thome (2007).  September, well after the White Sox had been eliminated.  But this was Thome’s 500th career home run.  A cool addition if you ask me.  And if you’re reading this blog, I’ll assume you did.
  • Magglio Ordonez (2006).  As mentioned above – this one clinched a 4-game sweep to send Detroit to the World Series.
  • Scott Podsednik (2005).  Game 2 of the World Series.  He’d had no homers in the 2005 regular season, but Podsednik put the White Sox well on their way to a sweep.
  • David Ortiz (2004).  Game 4 of the ALCS.  A much bigger walk-off for Big Papi – this one kept the Red Sox season alive.  They never looked back after it, becoming the only team to come back from a 3-game deficit.
  • Derek Jeter (2001).  Game 4 of the World Series.  Mr. November.

Don’t call it a comeback!

25 07 2013

I’ve been here for years!

I traded cards recently with Greg from Baseball Card Comeback.  I sent Greg a few base cards from 2013 Gypsy Queen and one insert, as well as a few Red Sox cards.  He sent me cards from a couple of categories.  The first area was some Mays and Mantle inserts from 1997 Topps.  Any time I can knock a few of these off my lists – I consider that a good thing.  A very good thing!

Trade - Baseball Card Comeback

The next was some current year cards – mostly 2013 Gypsy Queen.  Bobby Doerr is an interesting subject.  When I went to Cooperstown a few years ago for Rickey Henderson’s induction, I met a guy who was his godson.  Doerr was at the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park, and he’s one of the last living teammates of Ted Williams.

Trade - Baseball Card Comeback_0001


The 3 no-hitters Greg sent me (Santana and Feller being the others) completed that insert set for me.  That’s one of the first 2013 insert sets I’ve finished off!

Thanks for the trade Greg!

2013 Topps Archives Fan Favorites – autographs

23 07 2013

All-Time Fan Favorites Autographs – 75 cards (1:12)

There are 45 Fan Favorite Short Print inserts, which I posted about yesterday.  All of them are available in autographed versions.  But there are even more Fan Favorite Autographs – 13 more to be exact.  I have two of those “autograph only” cards, which I’ll show below.  I’d like to collect all of these at some point.

1983 – Lee Smith

2013 Archives FFA Lee Smith 83

1990 – Chuck Finley

2013 Archives FF Auto 90 Finley

And of course my favorite card has both an SP and an autograph version – but I have both, so here’s the autograph!

Trade Waiting til Next Year Davis Archives auto

Post #900! Brains over Braun and 2013 Archives Fan Favorites – cards #201-245

22 07 2013

This is my 900th post on this blog.  I’m not going to do anything super fancy.  In fact, I’m just going to do my next post on Archives.

Actually, given recent events, I will do one thing:

Braun Fraud

Braun pisses me off more than anyone else in the whole steroids thing.  I’m generally on the less offended side of steroids, but there are two things that irk me:

  1. Players who are cheating in the 2010’s.  Manny Ramirez falls into this category.  It’s well past 2006.  2006 was when baseball officially stepped up to 50-game suspensions.  However, it’s only in recent years when I feel that the public conscience combined with those suspensions have really made taking PEDs “socially unacceptable” for a professional player.  I’m a firm believer that baseball and PEDs was a part of the culture, and because of that I have a hard time judging someone like Barry Bonds and even Mark McGwire so harshly.  I think a lot of society has grown a moral compass after the fact with these guys, where I think the system was more the issue than any individual player.
  2. Players who are completely indignant.  Rafael Palmeiro jumps out first when I think of this category.  Roger Clemens is a close second, and he probably should be first with all the litigation he’s drawn out.  If you cheated and you got caught, take your lumps and the world will forgive you someday.  For the most part, guys like Barry Bonds and Jason Giambi have just avoided directly addressing the issue.  Would I prefer them to come clean?  Yes, but they haven’t looked like the complete asses that Palmeiro, Clemens and now Braun have.

Braun is the first player I can think of who falls into both categories, and for someone who doesn’t care as much about the PED controversies as others, that makes him a bit of a lightning rod for me.  He attacked the tester in his previous case, not the result.  And he was rewarded, which isn’t how it should be.  I’m glad that has been rectified.

Anyways, back to baseball cards.  When I get to 1,000 posts, I will certainly do something a bit more dramatic.  That said, on to the Archives Fan Favorites, which is plenty dramatic enough in my humble opinion!


The last section of “base cards” in Topps Archives is quite different from the first 200 cards.  The previous sections of the set are broken up into 4 groupings of 50 cards each, with each grouping a re-make of an old Topps design.  The last 45 cards in the set are short printed.  These short prints are known as “Fan Favorites”.  The cards feature designs that the player was previously featured on.  The actual years displayed run the gamut from 1968 to 1993, with most of the cards being after 1974.  I think this and the Fan Favorite Autographs (I’ll show a few of those in the next post), is the coolest part of this product.  These cards feature a checklist of guys you don’t always see in Topps sets.  I don’t need to see Ruth, Aaron, or Cobb in every product.  Cards of Hal Morris or Leon “Bull” Durham is different and appreciated from this collector!

At some point, I’ll complete this set and repost this with every card shown.  For now, I’m going to show the cards I do have, right next to the player’s card from the year depicted.  I’m not going to do a ton of write-up on these – but here’s the pictures of the cards I have, in chronological order.

In all cases, the original card is on the right, the Archives card is on the left.  Enjoy!

1975 Topps – Fred Lynn

This Fred Lynn card is pretty cool.  It’s in the “cards that never were” category –  Lynn had his rookie card in 1975, but it was part of a quadruple rookie prospects card.  This gives him a card with the 1975 design all by his lonesome!

2013 Archives FF 75 Fred Lynn

Lynn also had a card in the “Turn Back the Clock” subset from 1990 Topps that took his picture from the original and made it as if it was a single card.


1976 Topps – Dave Lopes

Dave not “Davey”, apparently.  Lopes is card #660 in the 1976 set – the last card of the set.

Screen shot 2013-07-20 at 8.47.27 PM

1978 Topps – Larry Bowa

In most situations, I like the Archives photo better than the original.  This card is not one of those situations, however.

Screen shot 2013-07-20 at 8.39.47 PM

1982 Topps – Dwight Evans, Frank White

These are two cards where I think the Archives card is an improvement.  Also, it’s interesting that Topps used the exact same signature for these (they did not do that last year).

Screen shot 2013-07-20 at 8.56.36 PM

Screen shot 2013-07-20 at 8.43.00 PM

1984 Topps – Mookie Wilson

Screen shot 2013-07-20 at 8.58.27 PM

1985 Topps – Tom Brunansky

Screen shot 2013-07-20 at 9.01.16 PM

1987 Topps – Eric Davis

This is easily my favorite card in the whole Archives set!

Screen shot 2013-07-20 at 9.04.58 PM

1988 Topps – Mike Greenwell

Very cool that Topps included the rookie cup logo here.  Interesting that they used a very similar photo.  Also interesting how different the font is for the team name at the top.

Screen shot 2013-07-20 at 9.06.49 PM

1989 Topps – Howard Johnson

2013 Archives FF 89 Hojo

1990 Topps – Gregg Jefferies, Ellis Burks

The 1990 set is kind of growing on me.  I really like the blue border cards, so I think this is another card where the Archives version is an upgrade over the original Topps card.

2013 Archives FF 90 E Burks 2013 Archives FF 90 Jefferies

1991 Topps – Delino DeShields

2013 Archives FF 91 DeShields

1992 Topps – Bob Tewksbury

I’ve got 4 of these bad boys.  Around 1991/1992 was when Topps started really improving the photos included in their sets.  I’ve heard people refer to this as the “Stadium Club effect”.  Whatever the reason, it’s harder for Archives to improve on some already good pictures than it was for some of the earlier years.  The Gant and Pendleton definitely look pretty similar – but both are nice cards!

2013 Archives FF 92 Tewksbury

2013 Topps Archives – cards #151-200 (1990 design)

21 07 2013

The last design from the Topps quartet of cards in 2013 Archives is 5 years later – the 1990 Topps set.

The set features a player photo surrounded by a colorful border.  Dotted designs cover most of that border, with two corners remaining a solid color.  The player name appears in a rhombus at the bottom right hand corner.  The team name is written in block letters in the top left, with the Topps logo in one of the right-hand corners.  For the 4th straight year and the 6th time overall, Topps did not present the player’s position on the face of the card.  The back features yellow-green cardstock with the card number in the upper left corner next to the player name, position, biographical information and Topps logo.  Statistics from each season and career totals are presented.  When there was room at the bottom, Topps included a player-specific write-up and/or a “Monthly Scoreboard” feature, which listed player statistics by month.

There are 3 players in the 1990 design who were in MLB that year.

Goose Gossage

2013 Topps Archives Goose Gossage 1990xb946

2 of them had cards in the 1990 set, but Goose Gossage is of the “Cards that never were” variety.  Gossage came back to the Yankees in the second half of the 1989 season but was out of baseball for a bit in early 1990.  He eventually signed with the Fukuoka Daiei Hawks in the Nippon Professional League in Japan.

Gossage only has one card in 1990 – from Donruss.  I’ve shown it to the right.  The Archives card on the left looks like it’s from 1982 or 1983 when he was at the end of his first stint with the Yankees.  It’s tough to tell for sure, however – Gossage didn’t look that much older in 1990 than he did in the mid-80’s.  The reason I think the Archives card is from an earlier time – he’s got the full handlebar mustache, but on the 1990 Donruss card he has more of a regular mustache.

Dave Winfield

2013 Topps Archives Dave Winfield 1990$T2eC16dHJGwFFZ(S+jDgBRjP-3TN4g~~60_57Dave Winfield has a card that really looks like it could be right out of the 1990 Topps set.  The one on the left is his Archives card – the one on the right is the original.

It looks like it’s the correct year (or close), too.  Definitely a later portion of his time with the Yankees – not the early 80’s.

This may have been right round when “the Boss” was paying known mafia members to dig up information on Winfield, whom Steinbrenner had dubbed “Mr. May”.

Tony Gwynn

1990-33804-F2013 Topps Archives Tony Gwynn 1990Again the original card is on the right.  2013 Archives is showing a younger Gwynn than the 1990 design would imply.

Though Gwynn was still in pretty good shape in 1990 (I think he started putting on weight in the early 1990’s), the dead giveaway is the RAK on his sleeve.  The Padres wore this in honor of their deceased former owner, Ray Kroc, who passed away before the 1984 season.  They wore the initials in 1984, 1985 and 1986.

2013 Topps Archives – cards #101-150 (1985 design)

19 07 2013

Flashing forward 3 years from 1982 to 1985 Topps.  Topps made some design changes that year – the dual picture design from ’83 and ’84 were scrapped for a larger main photo.  The front has a white border featuring the Topps logo in the top left-hand corner.  The team name with team colors is featured in a diagonal box across the bottom next to a circle around the team logo on the right.  The player name and position is shown just below the team information.  The green card backs features the player name and card number in the upper left-hand corner, player bio and stats from each season and career totals.  If there’s room, player-specific information and an upside-down trivia question are shown at the bottom.

Archives cards are on the right in each of these comparisons.

Eddie Murray

2013 Topps Archives Eddie Murray 1985$(KGrHqR,!i4F!MKS5EPqBQJICrNMgw~~60_57The only “era correct” and “team correct” players in either the 1972 or 1982 design were in 1982 and related to Topps Traded cards.  So this is the first one that has the right guy with the right team in a base Topps set.

You can tell from the pictures that the Murray picture isn’t from the exact same year – his facial hair is different.  After having the sideburn/mustache connection look during the first part of his career, Murray went to just a mustache later on.  But, I think he moved to the mustache-only look around 1986, and the fact that he’s got a pretty good ‘fro makes me think this is probably in the mid-late 1980’s.  So it’s not that far off.

Interesting that Topps used a completely different Oriole logo on this card.  It matches Eddie’s hat, so I guess it’s not something I’d consider wrong by any means.

Robin Yount

2013 Topps Archives Robin Yount 1985$T2eC16dHJF8E9nnC8Hy1BQY1rt4rsQ~~60_58All told, there are 4 players who are “era/team” matches in the 1985 section – and their all 3,000-hit club members.

The Archives version of Yount on the ’85 design is clearly a little later than 1985 – you can tell he’s a little older than in the card to the right.  But the patch on the uniform made it easy for me to track down.  That patch is in honor of Harvey Kuenn, who managed the 1982 AL Champions known as “Harvey’s Wallbangers”.

Kuenn died before the season in 1988, so the Brewers wore that patch that year.  So the Yount pic is also only a few years off from being time-accurate.

Paul Molitor

2013 Topps Archives Paul Molitor 19851985-26638-FYount’s teammate and fellow 3,000-hit club member was Paul Molitor.  He got the special treatment too.   I sometimes forget he was a 3rd baseman!

I think this version of Molitor’s card is going the opposite direction from the other 2 guys.  I believe this is an earlier photo of Molitor.  Looking at his cards, he had the slightly longer hair in the early part of his career, basically in the late 70’s, around his rookie year (1978).

George Brett

2013 Topps Archives George Brett 19851985 Topps George BrettThe final card – another 3,000 hit member!

Brett’s card also appears to be a little bit earlier than the 1985 timeframe – maybe late 1970’s here as well, but it could have been early 80’s, too.

2013 Topps Archives – cards #51-100 (1982 design)

18 07 2013

The regular cards from 2013 Archives are broken up into 4 different designs in 50 card allotments based on earlier Topps sets.  Moving on from the 1972 design is a decade later – 1982.

1982 Topps is affectionately and/or hatefully known (depending on who you ask) as the “hockey stick set”.  The front features two lines running parallel down the left-hand side of the card around the bottom of the card.  The team (on top) and player name cover the bottom right-hand side.  The Topps logo is just above the team name.  The cards also contain a facsimile player signature over the player picture.  The green card back features stats from each season and career totals and, if there’s room, certain facts about previous MLB seasons (usually having nothing to do with the player on the front) along with a comic-type drawings related to those facts.

There are 5 retired players featured on the 1982 design in Archives who also had cards that year.  However, only 2 of them are featured on a team from that design – and both of them are from the Traded set.  (note that below, the card on the right is the original)

Reggie Jackson – Topps Traded

2013 Topps Archives Reggie Jackson$(KGrHqUOKpgE7G((ZN-pBRfU1qSqEQ~~60_57The first is Mr. October, Reggie Jackson.  Reggie was moving from the Bronx back to the West Coast in the 1982 season, and Topps featured him in the Traded set to show his move to the Angels.

Interestingly, Reggie was also featured on the 1971 design in last year’s set, so he is making the rounds in this product.

Of all the cards like this in the regular (non-SP) designs in 2013 Archives, this one seems the most like they actually have a photo from the correct year.  He’s got similar style sunglasses, his hair is about the same.  I like the new card better than the old.

Ozzie Smith – Topps Traded

2013 Topps Archives Ozzie Smith$(KGrHqQOKo8FGKcFBYctBRnDkIIqVQ~~60_57The other player who is featured on the same uniform is the Wizard, Ozzie Smith.  Smith was traded in 1982 from the Padres to the Cardinals for Gary Templeton.  So he got a card in the Topps Traded set as well.

Ozzie would go on to have a hall of fame career with St. Louis.  And while the uniform is correct on the photo for this Topps Archives card, the timeframe clearly isn’t.  Ozzie was still going with a bit of an afro in 1982.  The Archives card is definitely a later era.  Given Ozzie’s tighter cropped beard and the look of the Cardinals uniform, I’m guessing this was around 1992 or 1993.

Other players – wrong team

Here are the other three players.  Two of them are Big Red Machine members.  Tony Perez was playing for the Red Sox at the time his 1982 Topps card came out – he’d move on to the Phillies before coming back to Cincinnati to finish his career.  Joe Morgan left the Reds after the 1979 season – in 1982 he was playing with the Giants before he’d also move on to the Phillies.

2013 Topps Archives 1982 wrong team


Tom Seaver was the reverse situation of the other two – he was actually with the Reds in 1982.  He’d move back to the Mets in the 1983 season.  Topps seems to love reusing the same Seaver photo.  He’s shown here on the same photo they used for the 2010 Vintage Legends Collection inserts (featured on a 1962 Topps design).