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):


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


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!


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).




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


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 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


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.


The only one in the set.

Here’s a scan of the whole set.



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.

Tuesday Tunes (on a Thursday): Diamond Ditty #13 – “All the Way” by Eddie Vedder

3 11 2016

Somewhere my grandfather is smiling, and he’s probably still jubilant just like this city is.  I’ve thought about him so many times today, because I know he’s happy.  The Cubs didn’t win it all in his lifetime, but they won it this year.

Last night was about as good as it gets if you’re a baseball fan.  Except if you’re one who hails from Cleveland.  And even the Cleveland fans have to appreciate the greatness of the game.

The comeback from 3-1.  Then in Game 7.  Cubs go up early.  And often. Blowing the lead.  Battling through the 9th inning.  Winning it in the 10th.  It probably wasn’t the greatest World Series of all time, but it’s up there, and it may have been the greatest game 7.

For one small stretch, I found myself a Cubs fan, and as a transplant from Cincy, I’ve probably lost my 4-year old to the team in blue.  I’m fine with that.

Artist/Title/Album: “All the Way” by Eddie Vedder (2008)


First sung by Vedder in 2007, and recorded/released as a single in 2008.

Description:  Eddie Vedder was born in Evanston and grew up there before moving to California.  He took his Cubs fandom with him and has always been one of the more notable Cubs fans – maybe just behind Bill Murray.

He attended the Cubs pre-season fantasy camp a number of times, and one year Ernie Banks asked him to write a song about the Cubs.  He honored the request and first played it at a Pearl Jam concert in Chicago a few days before Lollapalooza in 2007.  He recorded it over a few dates in 2008, and released it as a single (it’s under his name, not the band’s).

How it’s related to baseball:  The song is about being a Cubs fan.  It touches on the sanctity of Wrigley Field and the eternal optimism of the folks rooting for the lovable losers (can you even use that phrase any more?).

Vedder sings it from the heart; you can feel his fandom in the versions of the song I’ve heard.  It’s somewhere between the two famous Steve Goodman songs – not as upbeat as “Go Cubs Go”, but not as downtrodden or cynical as “A Dying Cubs Fan’s Last Request”.  You can tell Vedder believed they were going to win it all in his lifetime.  Last night proved him right.

My favorite lyric is when he talks about keeping score as a little kid.  Famous people do the same weird crap I did when I was young!

There are 3 videos of the song worth showing.  First, here’s the original, which I think was filmed in 2008, but not released until a few months ago.

Next, here’s an abridged version the Cubs released today that updates it with celebration from 2016.

Finally, here’s my favorite.  Ernie Banks died just before the 2015 season started.  As mentioned, Banks was the impetus for this song, and a humbled Vedder performed it the day Banks passed away.  He changed one lyric, in the last verse to say “I wish he’d live 200 years” – talking about Banks.  Vedder references the concert he played in 2013 at Wrigley, when he played this song and Banks came on stage.  A bunch of my friends attended that concert.  I did not – I’m not a big music fan.  But I lived 2 blocks from Wrigley at that time and I sat out on my porch listening to the concert.

When you’re born in Chicago
You’re blessed and you’re healed.
The first time you walk into Wrigley Field.

We know someday we’ll go all the way
Someday we’ll go all the way!

2015 All-Star Stitches #24: Carlos Martinez

2 11 2016

I got 5 of these from COMC back in the Summer; this is the last one.

As a reminder, I went to the All-Star game and Home Run Derby in Cincinnati.  So I’m collecting this All-Star Stitches set!  These cards that have swatches from the Monday practice festivities.

Martinez is the 24th card toward this set.


Card number:  STIT-CM

Player:  Carlos Martinez

How I got the card:  COMC in August

Position:  Pitcher

How he made the roster:  Martinez was voted in on the final ballot vote.  I wish Johnny Cueto had won – that just felt more right for something like that with the game being in Cincinnati.  But it’s hard to argue with 10-3, 2.52.

This was his 1st All-Star selection.

First half stat line:  10-3/2.52/113

All-Star game:  Martinez didn’t get into the game.


STIT-AB A.J. Burnett – Pittsburgh Pirates
STIT-AC Aroldis Chapman – Cincinnati Reds
STIT-AE Alcides Escobar – Kansas City Royals
STIT-AGN Adrian Gonzalez – Los Angeles Dodgers
STIT-AJ Adam Jones – Baltimore Orioles
STIT-AM Andrew McCutchen – Pittsburgh Pirates
STIT-APO A.J. Pollock – Arizona Diamondbacks
STIT-APU Albert Pujols – Los Angeles Angels
STIT-AR Anthony Rizzo – Chicago Cubs
STIT-BB Brad Boxberger – Tampa Bay Rays
STIT-BC Brandon Crawford – San Francisco Giants
STIT-BD Brian Dozier – Minnesota Twins
STIT-BG Brett Gardner – New York Yankees
STIT-BHA Bryce Harper – Washington Nationals
STIT-BHO Brock Holt – Boston Red Sox
STIT-BP Buster Posey – San Francisco Giants
STIT-CA Chris Archer – Tampa Bay Rays
STIT-CK Clayton Kershaw – Los Angeles Dodgers
STIT-CM Carlos Martinez – St. Louis Cardinals
STIT-CS Chris Sale – Chicago White Sox
STIT-DB Dellin Betances – New York Yankees
STIT-DK Dallas Keuchel – Houston Astros
STIT-DL DJ LeMahieu – Colorado Rockies
STIT-DO Darren O’Day – Baltimore Orioles
STIT-DP David Price – Detroit Tigers
STIT-FH Felix Hernandez – Seattle Mariners
STIT-GC Gerrit Cole – Pittsburgh Pirates
STIT-GP Glen Perkins – Minnesota Twins
STIT-JA Jose Altuve – Houston Astros
STIT-JDE Jacob deGrom – New York Mets
STIT-JDO Josh Donaldson – Toronto Blue Jays
STIT-JK Jason Kipnis – Cleveland Indians
STIT-JM J.D. Martinez – Detroit Tigers
STIT-JPA Joe Panik – San Francisco Giants
STIT-JPD Joc Pederson – Los Angeles Dodgers
STIT-JPE Jhonny Peralta – St. Louis Cardinals
STIT-JU Justin Upton – San Diego Padres
STIT-KB Kris Bryant – Chicago Cubs
STIT-KH Kelvin Herrera – Kansas City Royals
STIT-LC Lorenzo Cain – Kansas City Royals
STIT-MB Madison Bumgarner – San Francisco Giants
STIT-MMA Manny Machado – Baltimore Orioles
STIT-MME Mark Melancon – Pittsburgh Pirates
STIT-MTE Mark Teixeira – New York Yankees
STIT-MTR Mike Trout – Los Angeles Angels
STIT-NA Nolan Arenado – Colorado Rockies
STIT-NC Nelson Cruz – Seattle Mariners
STIT-PF Prince Fielder – Texas Rangers
STIT-PG Paul Goldschmidt – Arizona Diamondbacks
STIT-RM Russell Martin – Toronto Blue Jays
STIT-SM Shelby Miller – Atlanta Braves
STIT-SP Salvador Perez – Kansas City Royals
STIT-SV Stephen Vogt – Oakland Athletics
STIT-TF Todd Frazier – Cincinnati Reds
STIT-TT Troy Tulowitzki – Colorado Rockies
STIT-WD Wade Davis – Kansas City Royals
STIT-YG Yasmani Grandal – Los Angeles Dodgers
STIT-YM Yadier Molina – St. Louis Cardinals
STIT-ZB Zach Britton – Baltimore Orioles
STIT-ZG Zack Greinke – Los Angeles Dodgers