2013 Topps update HTA jumbo – parallels

30 10 2013

The last few posts were the base cards, today I do the parallels.  You get 1 Emerald Foil parallel per pack out of the HTA jumbo box – so I got 10 of those cards.  Here’s 9 of them.

2013 Topps Update box emerald

Topps has done a similar type of parallel 3 years in a row now.  Diamond (silver), then Gold, now Emerald (green).  They also had blue this year with the Silver Slate mail-ins.  In 2014 Topps is going with Red Foil.  We’ll see how those look.

As they have for a number of years (someone who has been back collecting longer than me probably knows the exact number), Topps has gone with a gold parallel.    Got a Puig here – can’t complain about that!  Also, this card of Zoilo Almonte for some reason made me think of former Little League World Series pitcher with the same surname.

2013 Topps Update box gold

I don’t particularly like the Gold parallel concept, and all the colored parallels Topps has been using (Red Target parallels, Blue Wal-Mart parallels, etc.).  It’s not so much that I don’t like the cards, but I think it’s leading to a base-card trend that I don’t like.  Dime Box had a good post on this recently.  Basically, Topps has only considered a white border in recent years.  I think some of their more interesting years are when the flagship set has a different color border – like 1962, 1987, 1975.

  • White border – 46 years (counting 2014)
  • Colored border – 14 years (1962, 1968, 1970, 1971, 1975, 1987, 1990, 1998-2003, 2007)
  • Mixed border <white with some interruption> – 4 years 1953-1954 1963, 1986

That’s 10 of the last 11 years, however it’s not just that.  Some of the white border designs have noticeable internal borders that make it seem like a colored border.  Think 1972 or 1959.  But that wouldn’t go as well with a myriad of colored borders fit for parallels.  I hope Topps bucks this trend a bit in the future.

I did pull some numbered parallels – you have the option of camouflage (/99), pink (/50) or black (/63), and even the silk cards.  I got a black card of Adam Jones’ All-Star card that looks pretty nice.

2013 Topps Update black Adam Jones

 

I also got a pink card of Steve Delabar.  Delabar is notable – he pitched an immaculate inning this year against the A’s.  That’s 3 strikeouts on nine pitches.  His victims were Adam Rosales, Coco Crisp and Chris Young.

2013 Topps Update pink Steve Delabar

 

Stay tuned tomorrow for the other inserts I pulled.





2013 Topps Update – more base cards

29 10 2013

I did a postseason looking-glass for the past few Topps Update posts, here’s a look from an overall perspective.

There are quite a few subsets – the first one is the Record Chase / Checklists.  There’s 5 of these cards, though I’m not sure how some of them are considered “records”.

  • Yasiel Puig: Player of the Month.  It’s possible to consider this a record.  Puig was called up June 3rd, and won the Player of the Month award for June.  He’s not the first rookie to win the award, but he is the first to win it in his first month of MLB play
  • Tim Lincecum: No-Hitter.  Lincecum did throw a no-hitter, but that’s certainly not a record of any sort.  Homer Bailey threw one as well – and he had also been the most recent pitcher with a no-no when he threw his second one this year.  That’s only happened a few times, so it’s more notable.  But neither are records.
  • David Ortiz: Most hits by a DH.  Ortiz passed Harold Baines for this mark.  This one is legitimately a record.
  • Yoenis Cespedes: Home Run Derby champ.  It is notable that he wasn’t an All-Star when he participated.  But someone wins this every year – not a record.   And he’s got a Derby
  • Mariano Rivera: All-Star Game MVP.  Someone wins this every year, too.  And Mo was a sentimental pick anyways.

2013 Topps Update Record Chase

So only two actual records out of those 5 cards.  There were quite a few options Topps could have used instead that were true records.

  • Chris Davis tied Reggie Jackson for the most homers at the all-star break.
  • Davis and Miguel Cabrera both became the first two players with 30 homers and 90 RBI before the break.
  • BJ and Justin Upton became the second set of brothers to hit back-to-back home runs.
  • Jason Giambi became the oldest player with a walk-off home run in July. He then broke his own record in September.

There were some other records later in the year (A-Rod breaking the grand slam record is the most notable) but Topps wouldn’t have been able to get September accomplishments into this set.

Topps again has a subset for each of the 8 guys in the Home Run Derby.  Davis ended up the MLB home run leader and was the breakout story of the season.  David Wright was the home team favorite for the game in Citi Field.  But second-year stars Bryce Harper and Yoenis Cespedes stole the show.  Harper was the second youngest Derby participant ever (Griffey Jr.), and he lost in the finals to Cespedes, 9-8.

2013 Topps Update Home Run Derby

There is again a subset of All-Star players.  In almost every photo, you can see the All-Star logo on their uniforms (though I don’t think all of them), or they have a picture from Monday’s festivities.  It’s pretty cool that the photos are from the actual game or the previous day.  I love the one of Brandon Phillips where you can see he’s playing second with Troy Tulowitzki at short.

2013 Topps Update All-Stars

There’s also a rookie debut subset that isn’t a “base card” – a player could have a card in this subset and a regular card.  Notice the Montero – they show him in uniform for the Yankees, which is who he made his debut for in 2011.  I think these are all 2013 ML debuts (last year they had 2012 and 2011 debuts).  Will Myers is going to win the AL Rookie of the Year, and Jose Fernandez is likely going to win the NL award – though Puig could have something to say about that.

2013 Topps Update ML Debut

Of course they do have the standard rookies in the Update set.  Myers has his Topps rookie cards in the set – though they’d previously had quite a few Bowman prospect cards in prior seasons.

2013 Topps Update Wil Myers RC

Cubs phenom Junior Lake also has his rookie card – though he’d had a Bowman card in previous years, too.

2013 Topps Update Junior Lake RC

Gerrit Cole also has his rookie card – like the others, he’s had some previous cards.  For him that includes a plethora of Team USA cards.

2013 Topps Update Gerritt Cole RC

The most notable card in the set, though, is the Puig RC, though – and as you can see from the two subsets above, this is one of 3 cards he has in the set.  And he’s got three SP variations, too.

2013 Topps Update Yasiel Puig RC

There are plenty of “traded” vets, too.  Some of them are guys traded in the middle of the season – impressive Topps got quite a few guys from the mid-season deadline.

2013 Topps Update mid season trades

Of course, they always have some guys who are on their new teams from the beginning of the year.  Not surprisingly, the Yankees are well represented here.  And Michael Young isn’t even on his newest team – he got traded to the Dodgers mid-season.

2013 Topps Update offseason trades

Topps included a bunch of retro uniforms in this set, so that’s always pretty cool.

2013 Topps Update retro unis

Finishing it up, here are some of my favorite photos from the set.

2013 Topps Update favorite pics\

 





2013 Topps Update HTA jumbo box – World Series style

27 10 2013

The last two posts were the AL & NL sides of the playoffs – this post is Topps Update but now from a World Series perspective.  We’re on to game 4!  This is my attempt to spice up a Series between my two least favorite teams.

Game 1 started with controversy right off the bat.  The Cardinals had their ace, Adam Wainwright, on the mound.

2013 Topps Update Cards Wainwright

He got into trouble in the first inning.  With 2 runners on, a slow-rolling ground ball was bobbled by Pete Kozma in a hurry to turn a double play – but instead all runners were safe and Mike Napoli cleared the bases with a double three pitches later.

2013 Topps Update WS Kozma

In the second inning, Kozma had another error on a Victorino ground ball to load the bases for a second straight frame.  Dustin Pedroia singled in the next run.

2013 Topps Update WS Pedroia

And then Big Papi smashed a ball to right-center field, right about the same spot he did against the Tigers.  It looked like another Grand Slam, but Carlos Beltran had other ideas, turning a homer into a sacrifice fly, but injuring his ribs in the process.  He’d leave the next inning, and that was about the only thing that went right for the Cardinals all day.

2013 Topps Update WS Beltran

Later in the game, Ortiz hit one that wasn’t catchable, and the Red Sox piled on to support Jon Lester and win, 8-1.   2013 Topps Update Red Sox Ortiz

Game 2 starts off with one guy who isn’t on the Red Sox or Cardinals.  Mo Rivera had a cameo in this World Series – he threw out the opening pitch in game 2.  Enter Sandman was played in Fenway for the first time!

2013 Topps Update WS Rivera

But the talk of the play on the field was the youngster starting for the Cardinals.  Michael Wacha has had the best start of a playoff career in my lifetime.  He nearly threw a no-hitter in his first start in the ALDS against the Pirates, and he won the NLCS MVP behind 2 7-inning performances where he didn’t give up a single run.

2013 Topps Update Cards Wacha_0001

Wacha was almost as good as that, but he did have one bad pitch that Ortiz knocked over the green monster in the 6th inning.  And John Lackey looked really good, and all of a sudden the Red Sox had a 2-1 lead.

2013 Topps Update Red Sox Ortiz

But the Cardinals bounced back.  Lackey let two runners on with one out in the 7th, and then Kozma and John Jay executed a double steal when Craig Breslow came in to relieve him.  This time the poor fielding was on the Boston side.  Breslow gave up a sacrifice fly to Matt Carpenter.

2013 Topps Update WS Matt Carpenter

The throw home got by the catcher Saltalamacchia, and Breslow fired an errant throw to third, allowing another run to score and the Cards to take the lead.  Beltran, playing with the bruised ribs from the night before, singled on the next pitch for his second hit of the game.  The Cardinals never looked back and won 4-2.

2013 Topps Update WS Beltran

Game 3 last night was started by Boston’s midseason acquisition, Jake Peavy.  Peavy is a former Cy Young winner, but he’s not just lacked postseason success – he’s been downright awful in his postseason career.  He wasn’t awful last night, but he wasn’t great either, giving up 7 baserunners and 2 runs in 4 innings.

2013 Topps Update Red Sox PeavyThe game was tied at 2 after 6 innings, but Breslow again came in and was ineffective – he’s now faced 5 batters in the World Series and gotten just 1 out, plus had the crucial throwing error in game 2.  A Matt Holliday double gave the Cards a 2 run lead, but the Sox came back in the  next frame to tie it up.

In the bottom of the 9th, Yadier Molina notched a single off of reliever Brandon Workman.  Uehara came in and gave up a double to pinch hitter Allen Craig, and Molina was sitting at third with 1 out.

2013 Topps Update WS Molina

That’s where this strange series got even weirder.  Craig, who hadn’t played in the 7 weeks before the World Series, came back as a DH in games 1 and 2, and probably won’t play in the field during this series.  He’s got a foot injury, so he’s not the ideal baserunner in this situation.

2013 Topps Update WS Alan Craig

But Molina was the winning run, so it seemed like it wouldn’t matter.  Not the case.  Jon Jay hit a ground ball to second, and Pedroia came home with the throw to nab Molina.  Saltalamacchia threw to third to nab Craig, but Will Middlebrooks couldn’t handle the throw.  Craig bolted home, but a good throw by Daniel Nava clearly beat him.  However, Craig was ruled safe on an obstruction call – Middlebrooks had interfered with Craig and was awarded home plate, ending the game.

It’s probably the strangest ending of a World Series game since Babe Ruth was caught stealing to end the 7th game of the 1926 Series.

Ruth Hornsby 1926 series

That gave the Cardinals their first World Series in the modern era (they had won a predecessor as a member of the American Association in 1886).  We’ll see how the rest of this series goes – there’s a few more guys in Topps Update I haven’t featured yet.

A worn down Clay Buchholz is Boston’s starter tonight, their best hope at staving off a difficult 3-1 series deficit.

2013 Topps Update WS Buchholz

Some other guys who could have an impact on the series – Shelby Miller won 15 games this year and could be a long relief man if one of the Cardinals starters gets into trouble.

2013 Topps Update WS Shelby Miller

With Craig limited to pinch hit or DH roles, Matt Adams is manning first, and he’s capable of a prodigious blast if a Boston pitcher makes a mistake.

2013 Topps Update WS Matt Adams

Slick fielding Stephen Drew hasn’t hit very well this postseason – if he gets out of his slump, he could help Boston get back into the Series.

2013 Topps Update WS S Drew





2013 Topps Update HTA jumbo box – American League playoff style

26 10 2013

Continuing my attempt to find this World Series more interesting through my box of Topps Update.  Here’s the base cards, done in a bit of a playoff style in honor of the MLB playoffs.  Yesterday was the National League.  Today is the Junior Circuit.

The Reds weren’t the only Ohio team that ended up a loser in the one-game format.  The Indians made the playoffs with a 10-game winning streak at the end of the year.  That included some heroics from Jason Giambi, who was actually considered to be a manager last year.  It would be awesome if he became a player-manager, but I think his playing days may be just about done.

2013 Topps Update Jason Giambi

Where the Reds just added on to their 5-game losing streak, the Tribe ran into David Price and an early home run by this guy, who signed with the Phillies in the offseason but was traded to Tampa mid-season.

2013 Topps Update Delmon Young

Now, I don’t want to leave the Rays with their only representation in this post as a guy not even shown in their uniform!  So let’s move on to the next series, where they faced off against their division rival Red Sox.  Unfortunately, their youngsters didn’t do so well.  Matt Moore led off the series getting shelled in a 12-2 loss, and likely Rookie of the Year Will Myers mustered just one single in the series.

2013 Topps Update Rays Myers Moore

On the other side of the AL playoffs, the A’s were back in the playoffs again, and again they had a tough first round loss.  I don’t know much about the A’s, except that their young.  I do know they went with a youngster in game 5 over their ace.  And that ace is featured on probably the most awkward card in the set!

2013 Topps Update A's Colon

This was a hard-fought series.  The Tigers brought in this year’s Cy Young frontrunner Max Scherzer in an unusual relief appearance to save the day and pull out a game 4 victory.

2013 Topps Update Tigers Scherzer

After Cy Young present won game 4, Cy Young past shut the door and ensured a comeback from down 2 games.

2013 Topps Update Tigers Verlander

The Tigers, however, didn’t quite have the answer for the Red Sox.  Their two big boppers, Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder, weren’t themselves.  Cabrera was still decent – he hit .273 in a pitching dominated series, but he was injured and his power numbers clearly suffered.  Fielder was much worse – he barely slugged .200 with only one extra base hit in the series.

2013 Topps Update Tigers Fielder Cabrera

The Tigers did take game 1 after a gem from Anibal Sanchez, and really looked like they were going to win game 2 after taking a 5-0 lead behind a dominant Scherzer.  But David Ortiz chose the right time to have one of his 2 hits in this series – he smacked a grand slam in the 8th off of Joaquin Benoit that cost them a 2-0 lead and probably the series.

2013 Topps Update Red Sox Ortiz

I’ll remember Torii Hunter’s dive after that ball – he literally dove over the wall tracking the Ortiz blast, barely missing the homer.

2013 Topps Update Tigers T Hunter

 

Koji Uehara came onto the National stage – he was the LCS MVP – but he doesn’t have a card in Update.  The Red Sox bullpen seemed to be the difference in this series.





2013 Topps Update HTA jumbo box – National League playoff style

24 10 2013

I don’t find this World Series particularly intriguing.  The Cardinals are my least favorite sports team on the planet, even more than Ohio State football.  And the Red Sox are probably my least favorite American League team.

However, I got a box of Topps Update last weekend from the LCS on Montrose Avenue, and opened it this weekend.  The contents are still on my desk, since I don’t have time to do a whole lot of baseball carding these days.  But watching the World Series has me putting work aside for a minute to do a few Update posts.

Here’s the base cards, done in a bit of a playoff style in honor of the MLB playoffs.  Today is the National League.

My Reds limped into the playoffs, led by these two guys:

2013 Topps Update Reds Choo Votto_0001

Choo and Votto both reached base 300+ times.  This almost never happens – it’s only occurred 2 other times since World War II.  Jeter and Bernie Williams did it in 1999, and the Astros tandem of Biggio and Bagwell did it as well.  Babe Ruth and Gehrig did it 4 times!

Unfortunately, the Reds 5-game losing streak became 6 games when they faced off against a very good left-hander whose battery mate decided to smack 2 home runs.

2013 Topps Update Pirates Liriano Martin

The Pirates were baseball’s feel-good story of 2013, so I guess if the Reds had to lose, it might as well have been to them.  I was certainly rooting for them against the Cardinals.  Unfortunately, with a two games to one lead, they ran into Michael Wacha, and almost got no-hit, and then this guy dominated the clinching game 5:

2013 Topps Update Cards Wainwright

On the other side of the National League, the Dodgers faced off against the Braves.  As far as division champs go, Atlanta had a fairly boring season.  I honestly don’t know all that much about their year.  I know Craig Kimbrel was exceptional, Evan Gattis was the early Rookie of the Year favorite before a certain Dodger right fielder was, and Justin Upton was pretty good as a free agent signee.

2013 Topps Update Braves

Maybe the most amazing thing about their team was the amount of money not playing in this series – Dan Uggla ($60+ million contract) wasn’t even on the roster and the other Upton (B.J. – who signed for $90+ million) didn’t start.  Regardless, the Dodgers have even more salary to work with, and they had the better team.  Interestingly, two former Giants helped the Dodgers clinch this series.  Juan Uribe homered with one runner in the bottom of the eighth.  His 2010 World Champion teammate, Brian Wilson, was on the hill in the top of the inning and took the victory.

2013 Topps Update Dodgers Uribe Wilson

The Dodgers, however, couldn’t muster up enough against the Cardinals.  This series was America’s first primetime look at Yasiel Puig, and he showed much of what Dodger fans probably knew already.  A huge triple got LA off the snide in game 3, but a few poor fielding decisions aided the Cardinals in the game 6 blowout to wrap up the series.

2013 Topps Update Dodgers Puig debut

I’ll remember game 6 for an off-field event, though, when Scott Van Slyke had a really weird standoff with Cardinal starter Joe Kelly over who was the last to walk back into the dugout after the national anthem.

2013 Topps Update Dodgers Van Slyke

 

Kelly flinched first when the umpires chastised them, but the Cardinals took the game and the series. Ultimately, this was a coming out party for another 2013 mid-season call-up.  Michael Wacha followed his near no-hitter against the Pirates with two more dominant performances, winning 2 games and taking the NLCS MVP.

2013 Topps Update Cards Wacha_0001





Trade with Jeff’s Collections

23 10 2013

My second trade of September was with Jeff from the aptly named blog “Jeff’s Collections“.  Jeff lives in the UK and is a Cardinals fan – I won’t hold it against him – and he reached out to trade with me.  I had an assortment of Topps base and insert cards to offer him, as well as a fe Cardinals.  And he had quite a few Topps inserts for me.  It’s always fun to trade across the pond!

Trade with Jeffs Collections

Jeff also sent me some 2013 Topps and Heritage cards to put a dent in the base set.

Trade with Jeffs Collections_0001





Completed insert set – 2011 Allen & Ginter Ascent of Man

22 10 2013

I don’t go about finishing off Allen & Ginter insert sets all that fast.  At least, not quite at the pace I get Gypsy Queen or Heritage sets finished.  This is my 3rd full-size insert set finished from 2011 Ginter – and 6th overall since I first did Gint-a-Cuffs 2 years ago.  This is another of those kind that keeps Ginter weird – Ascent of Man.

Info about the set:

Set description: From the sell sheet: “A step-by-step illustration of the evolution of life on earth.  Cards can be placed side by side to form a timeline.”

This is true – and this set kind of sticks out when you pull one from a pack since the set is borderless and very colorful, compared to the muted tone from most Ginter cards.

Set composition: 26 cards, 1:6 odds (2011 Allen & Ginter’s)

Hall of Famers: None as it’s not a sports set.

How I put the set together:

  • 8 cards from 2 hobby boxes
  • 12 cards from trades
  • 4 cards from eBay
  • 2 cards from Sportlots

Thoughts on the set:  Some of the Ginter sets I’m fairly “so-so” on, but this is kind of cool.  The idea for Ginter is to get some different things in there, and a semi-educational card set isn’t a bad idea.  Not that I’m going to go into a bunch of detail reading the cards to my kid or anything, but it’s a neat assortment of images.

The one thing I’d change – the images go in a line, so to best see the effect you’d put out all 26 cards in a row from left to right.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t have a great place to lay out 26 cards from left to right.  That would lead to a dog eating one or a baby trampling on all of them.  Aligning the backgrounds to look correct in 9-card sheets would be better in my humble opinion!

Card that completed my set: AOM11 – Amphibians (Acanthostega).

I got this card from a Sportlots purchase in September.

Highest book value: They all book for the same

Best card (my opinion): #AOM16 – Hominoidea

This monkey seems the most colorful of the primates in this set – so I like it the best!

2011 Allen & Ginter Ascent of Man

2011 Allen & Ginter Ascent of Man_0001

2011 Allen & Ginter Ascent of Man_0002